The 15 Most Popular Self-Help Books

June 28, 2024 | Jamie Hayes

The 15 Most Popular Self-Help Books

Help Yourself

The Self-Help industry makes billions every year. You could fill an entire library with all the self-help books that are published every year—but the vast majority of them will never be able to compete with these titans of the industry.


Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, 1992

~ 15 million sold

John Gray's Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus has completely transcended the world of self-help books into culture at large, but it remains a titan in the self-help industry with over 15 million copies sold since publication in 1992.

gettyimages-457321680-2.jpgLisa Lake, Getty Images

How to Win Friends and Influence People, 1936

~ 30 million sold

Dale Carnegie was teaching business education courses focused on honesty, sincerity, and integrity for decades before a publisher approached him after a lecture. 

After some convincing, he published How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936—and it became one of the most successful American books ever. It's since sold over 30 million copies.

How to Win Friends and Influence People bookAlan O'Rourke, Flickr

Chicken Soup for the Soul, 1993

~ 11 million sold

The original Chicken Soup for the Soul, consisting of 101 inspirational short stories, has sold over 11 million copies since its publication—but the Chicken Soup series on the whole boasts over 500 million books sold.

Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work bookUnknown Author, PxHere

Think and Grow Rich, 1937

~ 100 million sold

Napoleon Hill was at rock bottom before he and his wife published Think and Grow Rich in 1936—but his self-help book sure worked for him! Now considered a pioneering work in the self-help genre, it's also one of the most successful. 

Today, the Napoleon Hill foundation reports that over 100 million copies have been sold.

Think and Grow RichTristan, Flickr

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 1989

~ 40 million sold

Stephen R. Covey’s 40-million copy-selling self help book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People breaks down success and happiness to seven habits: 

1: Be proactive
2: Begin with the end in mind
3: Put first things first
4: Think win-win
5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood
6: Synergize
7: Sharpen the saw

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleAlan O'Rourke, Flickr

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… And It’s All Small Stuff, 1997

~ 25 million sold

Richard Carlson’s gives you 100 concrete ways to help put things into the proper perspective, and its simple approach has worked for over 25 million people.

Woman Lying on Couch and reading a bookcottonbro studio, Pexels

The Alchemist, 1987

~ 150 million sold

Paulo Coelho wrote The Alchemist in just two weeks in 1987. It's a novel about a man seeking treasure—but really, it's a self-help classic. It's one of the very few books ever to sell over 100 million copies, and it's been translated more than any other book by a living author.

The Alchemist bookUnknown Author, PxHere

You Can Heal Your Life, 1984

~ 50 million sold

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay teaches that the mind and body are connected, and that illness is a manifestation of unresolved mental and emotional issues, and it's helped over 50 million people heal their lives.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Haydx4iot, Shutterstock

Rich Dad, Poor Dad, 1997

~ 40 million sold

Robert T. Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad teaches financial improvement with a parable of two dads: Kiyosaki's dad, the "Poor Dad," and the wealthy dad of the family next door, the "Rich Dad." Published in 1997, its massive success, with over 40 million sold, has spun into an entire Rich Dad empire.

Man reading Rich Dad, Poor DadAbdullah Alsaibaie, Pexels

Who Moved My Cheese?, 1998

~ 28 million sold

Spencer Johnson's fable about reacting to change in your life and business, Who Moved My Cheese?, tells the story of two mice and two "littlepeople" and how they react when when their cheese gets moved. Since 1998, it's helped nearly 30 million people deal with change.

Who Moved My Cheese?hamdi bendali, Shutterstock

The Celestine Prophecy, 1993

~ 23 million sold

The Celestine Prophecy is a novel and parable exploring New Age spirituality and success. It eventually sold over 20 million copies, but author James Redfield sold the first 100,000 copies of it out of the trunk of his car before anyone actually agreed to publish it.

james redfieldMichael Buckner, Getty Images

The Secret, 2006

~ 30 million sold

Over 30 million people have heard The Secret, so I guess it isn't that secret any more—but I don't think author Rhonda Byrne is complaining.

The Secret bookhamdi bendali, Shutterstock

The Power of Positive Thinking, 1952

~ 15 million sold

Norman Vincent Peale's 1952 self-help book The Power of Positive Thinking has helped over 15 million people achieve self-satisfaction in life—though some critics say all it does is teach people to act purely out of self-interest.

Norman Vincent PealeLibrary of Congress, Picryl

The Four Agreements, 1997

~ 15 million sold

Don Miguel Ruiz's four agreements are all about personal freedom, sincerity, and the pursuit of excellence. They helped him achieve success—and sell 15 million copies of his book!

woman reading a bookAlexander Image, Shutterstock

The Road Less Traveled, 1978

~ Over 6 million sold

M. Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled says that life is full of problems, and that discipline and balance are the key a long and happy life. Chop wood, carry water.

M. Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveledhamdi bendali, Shutterstock

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