New Year, new start: The best self help books and where to find them

By | December 28, 2018
At the start of the new year, a glut of self-help books offer many promises
At the start of the new year, a glut of self-help books offer many promises
The Money Doctor 2019, by John Lowe (Gill Books)
The Hollywood Body Plan: 21 Minutes for 21 Days, by David Higgins (Headline Books)
The Power Of Small, by Aisling Leonard Curtin and Trish Leonard-Curtin (Hachette Ireland)
Calm The F*** Down, by Sarah Night (Quercus Books)
The Unexpected Joy of Being Single, by Catherine Gray (Aster Books)
Shrink, by Philippe Tahon (Aster Books)
The Miracle Of Vinegar, by Emma Marsden & Aggie McKenzie (Harper Collins)
#Chill, by Bryan E. Robinson (Harper Thorsons)
The Freelance Mum, by Annie Ridout (Fourth Estate)

Once upon a time, self-help books were made up of unfeasibly long titles like ‘How To Land A Great Guy, Make Millions and Have A Wonderful Life in Every Way, All While You Sleep At Night’. Their words promised much, but ultimately failed to deliver. But now, January is so positively soaked with inspo books that the entire self-help industry had to seriously up its game.

When it comes to spending those Christmas book vouchers, you could do worse than give these brand new titles a go.

The Money Doctor 2019

John Lowe (Gill Books)

Financial adviser John Lowe returns with a no-nonsense bible on how to resuscitate bank balances or make the most of whatever money you do earn. This current edition includes details of Budget 2019, as well as advice on a host of modern dilemmas, from being accidental landlords to pension neophytes.

Best for: If your finances need an overhaul

The Hollywood Body Plan: 21 Minutes for 21 Days

David Higgins (Headline Books)

If anyone knows about how to turn people into action superheroes, it’s David Higgins. The trainer has celebrity testimonials coming out his ears (among them, Colin Firth: “His unique approach taught me to be conscious of my postural habits and to control my movement so as to maximise strength and ability,” he says.) If you want to follow in the slipstream of some of the A-list’s biggest names, Higgins suggests the sort of exercise plan that takes just 21 minutes a day. You don’t even have to be Margot Robbie to begin with, as he has written with readers who have built up years of sedentary living in mind.

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Best for: If you want to look like Claudia Schiffer (but are a bit strapped for time)

The Power Of Small

Aisling Leonard Curtin and Trish Leonard-Curtin (Hachette Ireland)

Written by the popular psychologists, The Power Of Small proposes taking tiny steps as opportunities to change your life, one decision at a time. There’s a big emphasis on self-compassion as a means to gently coax readers out of their comfort zone. Mixing their own personal anecdotes and story-telling with the latest psychological research, the authors reveal how changing the small things really count.

Best for: If you’re feeling overwhelmed

Calm The F*** Down

Sarah Night (Quercus Books)

Knight is the bestselling author of a book with a similarly colourful title: The Life Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F***. As any readers of her No F***s Given series will know, Knight does not do waffle. This book has already been described as “100pc practical and zero per cent Pollyanna-ish”. In short, bad stuff happens, but it’s the approach you take, both practical and realistic, that will determine how quickly you bounce back.

Best for: Self-help sceptics

The Unexpected Joy of Being Single

Catherine Gray (Aster Books)

In the follow-up to The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, Catherine Gray writes about taking a year off dating to fall back in love with herself and unearth the true satisfaction behind singledom. Tapping into the single revolution, Gray examines how cultures shame single people, and talks to neuroscientists about how breakups can sometimes feel like a drug withdrawal. She also gives the idea that married people are happier a resounding two fingers. A perfect read for those happy to stay single, but still wonder why society gets on their case about it.

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Best for: Calling off the search for a partner


Philippe Tahon (Aster Books)

Psychotherapist Tahon certainly puts his money where his mouth is, and created a set of psychological tools that helped him to lose five stone himself. In Shrink, Philippe shares his programme and teaches readers to eat mindfully, intuitively and positively.

Best for: Throwing away the diet rulebook

The Miracle Of Vinegar

Emma Marsden & Aggie McKenzie (Harper Collins)

We’ve long known that vinegar is a bit of a wonder ingredient, from cleaning windows to sprinkling on chips. But here, the wonder elixir gets its just dues with 150 ways to get the most out of vinegar. And it certainly seems to be having a moment of late, with Victoria Beckham, Megan Fox and Katy Perry all reportedly using it as part of their daily beauty regimes. From fermenting and room freshening to skincare and salad dressings, you’ll never look at a humble bottle of malt vinegar the same way again.

Best for: A health book with a difference


Bryan E. Robinson (Harper Thorsons)

Offering a meditation for every day in 2019, Robinson wants his followers to upend their work/life balance, and stop the struggle with work addition and the demands of family life. Robinson himself writes of once being a chain-smoking, caffeine-addicted work junkie with no time for proper friendships. If he can leave that life behind, he notes, anyone can.

Best for: Workaholics

The Freelance Mum

Annie Ridout (Fourth Estate)

Is it any wonder that a growing number of women are choosing to be freelance mums (a 70pc increase in the last decade alone)? Often, it means more time with your kids and a better work/life balance. Yet writer Annie Ridout has already pinpointed the potential pitfalls of freelance life. Ridout spoke to a number of successful freelancers who have made family life work, including Ariana Huffington and Sali Hughes and delivers a brilliantly practical and inspiring how-to guide, from building a brand and website to the basics of childcare options.

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Best for: Women wanting a career change

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