The 10 Greatest Self-Help Classics You’ve Never Heard Of

Over the last few months I’ve immersed myself in books, probably 60 or 70 of them. Many from the fields of self-help and personal development. And while most of these didn’t really stand out, some were masterpieces. The funny thing is, the best books were often the oldest ones – books that are all but forgotten today. When I told some friends about these books, they’d never heard of them. I was stunned. And to make matters worse, many expressed little interest in the “old” ideas these books contained. These people were stuck on the false notion that only the “latest and greatest” ideas have value. This is tragic. Not only are they missing out on some of the most engaging self-help books ever written, but they’re also missing out on some of the most powerful ideas of all time. This inspired me to make this short list of some of the best of the best. I’m sure there are many more that could be added – and when I find them, I’ll add them – but this list is enough to get you started. The bad news is it seems only a few of these books are still in print. Still, you can find used copies of the others online with just a few keystrokes. As far as I’m concerned, all of these books are worth checking out. But to help you decide which ones might be right for you, I’ve included a few lines describing the books and what I found so special about them. If I could only keep a handful of books out of the 1000 plus books in my personal library, these would be among them. If I could not replace them, I wouldn’t consider selling them at any price. If you decide to read some of them, let me know what you think. And if you know of other books that belong on this list, let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Blair Warren

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” It may sound blasphemous in a world where we’re taught to focus on our feelings and our “inner selves”. etc. etc. but others provided very revealing looks into some of the most productive people around.. The focus of this book. 1947 No flash here. it’s true. most productive people are often those who are “consumed” with work on a machine. While it covers typical self-help type topics." So how do we improve ourselves without focusing on ourselves? Read the book and find out. tweaking and testing their “machines” that there is literally no time for self-destructive thoughts to enter their minds. my favorite is The Human Machine. And while this book is excellent.g. 2. He points out that the happiest. what I loved was his understanding that our very attempt to “fix ourselves” often does us more harm than good. On Being a Real Person by Harry Emerson Fosdick . Not a popular idea.. His most famous is How to Live on 24 Hours a Day. The Human Machine – Arnold Bennett. Bennett then points out that each of us is capable of living such a life if we treat ourselves as “machines. yet he wrote four excellent “self help” books. builders.). faith. Inventors. 1913 Arnold Bennett was a prolific and popular novelist. Just plenty of good old fashioned get-off-your-butt-and-do-something advice.The 10 Greatest Self-Help Classics You’ve Never Heard Of The List (in no particular order) 1. self-acceptance. Page 2 of 5 . (e. fear. These people are so busy designing. but Bennett’s idea is fascinating. It contains some stories that I couldn’t really relate to. is more practical than religious. Even better. 1943 Fosdick was a well-known preacher and author of numerous religious books. He says. One of their keys to success is a relentless focus on self-control and self-discipline. building. which is the root of the mischief. 3. however.turning attention to oneself in the earnest endeavor to improve oneself may only increase obsession with oneself. but a powerful one – if you can stomach it. ". The Technique of Getting Things Done by Donald and Eleanor Laird.

Or as the Beechers point out. Stop trying to “figure out” life and start living it. 1919 If you’re looking for a “how to rule the world” book. this isn’t it. A more accurate title for this book would be. That is.The 10 Greatest Self-Help Classics You’ve Never Heard Of 4. this book is more than a much-needed slap upside the head. Still. Told in the form of a parable. 1936 Here’s the gist of this book in one sentence: Act as if it were impossible to fail. But this advice isn’t the main reason I like this book. This book is short. down-to-earth ideas from one smart. “If we watch only movement…we cannot be fooled by others. 1929 This tiny little book turned my mind inside out. 6. While others wasted their time looking for technical and complex answers to their problems. Beyond Success and Failure by Willard & Marguerite Beecher. He said what he meant. I was amazed at how complicated we tend to make things in our lives. You’ve heard this a thousand times before. Obvious Adams took the opposite approach. I know. 7. Could many of the answers we’re searching for really be this obvious? Read it and find out for yourself. this book is similar to that – but it came nearly 40 years before the training. this book is incredibly powerful. Updegraff. And he learned that the most powerful way of understanding anything is by direct observation. 1966 Inspired by the ideas of the psychologist Alfred Adler. Briefly. No more excuses. In a way. Here’s a quote to give you a sense of why I like the book so much: Page 3 of 5 . The Psychology of Power by Capt. I know. He did what he saw needed to be done. It’s filled with solid. it is about becoming more self-reliant by telling the truth about ourselves and others. raising one’s level of “life energy” in order to be more productive in life. After reading it. What a person does is what he truly means. Obvious Adams by Robert R. Hadfield. to the point and will blow your socks off with its simple but powerful ideas.A. Brande’s attitude and tone are what really jumped out at me. rationalizations and other intellectual garbage. J. nor can we any longer fool ourselves.” 5. this is the story of a man who rose to the heights of business by being and doing the obvious. tough woman. Its in-your-face style forced you to stop lying to yourself and accept responsibility for your life. Many years ago I took a seminar called “the est training” which was like a psychological “boot camp”. The Psychology of Energy. Wake-up and Live by Dorothea Brande.

Easier said than done for most people.The 10 Greatest Self-Help Classics You’ve Never Heard Of “Give (an overly self-conscious man) ‘something to live for’. read this book. “…the question of living life well is not one of wisdom only. leave this one alone. but of daring. 1964 Do you ever feel like a psychological 98 pound weakling? You know the type. 9. If any of this sounds familiar. if you’re happy with the way things are. this book inspired the “assertiveness movement. this book is for you. This is one of the true classics from the field of General Semantics. However. These people are constantly at the mercy of others. People in Quandaries by Wendell Johnson. Or as Seabury puts it. you’ll be glad to discover that the way you think things are isn’t necessarily the way things are. if you’re not happy with the way things are. that’s something else you ought to look up – very powerful stuff on how our use of language impacts our lives. And they often feel a tremendous responsibility for the feelings of others. One of my all-time favorite quotations came from this book: Page 4 of 5 . Life’s demand for expression will be satisfied. Conditioned Reflex Therapy by Andrew Salter. 1949 Few books are so powerful that they can help create an entire new field of study. Though Salter doesn’t use the term “assertiveness”. Note: If you aren’t familiar with the field of General Semantics.” 10. but none come close to this one. but the ideas can transform your life – if you put them into practice. you might as well be stupid.” See what I mean? 8. 1946 A great book about language and how to use it to open up a sense of possibility in our lives. You may have intelligence enough to see a practical solution. They’re “guilted” into doing things they’d rather not do.” Today there are dozens of great books on assertiveness. that awakens his interest . The Art of Selfishness by David Seabury. the nerves tingle with eager expression. Have you the nerve to follow it? If not. Its subtitle says it all: How to Deal with the Tyrants and the Tyrannies in Your Life The stories in this book are very dated and tough to relate to. I must warn you though. and his ambition will arouse his instinctive emotions till the heart that was sluggish palpitates with the joy of life once more. This one did.

The 10 Greatest Self-Help Classics You’ve Never Heard Of “The basis of life is excitation. Page 5 of 5 . If I had to pick one of these 10 books as my favorite. certainly won’t be able to handle the substance of this book. The human species could never have survived if it were inhibited. The creatures that survive in the jungle are those that slink and jump and kill. Those who don’t have the strength to handle the style of this book. Conditioned Reflex Therapy would be it. this book will transform you. however. that this is not really a “self help” book but a rigorous psychology book so parts of it may be a bit too “clinical” for some people. The polite and inhibited ones crouch behind a tree and are soon dead.” This is the tone behind the entire book. It’s amazing it ever went out of print in the first place. Note: Conditioned Reflex Therapy just recently came back into print. If this quote touches you. Be warned. But that’s okay.

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