10 most read self help books in 2016

Reading books is a great way to gain more knowledge about the world, and sometimes, even about yourself. What you learn from books, especially non-fiction self-help books, can improve the quality of your life in several areas, from your interpersonal relationships to your work life to even your own relationship with the person staring back at you from the mirror.

Have you ever wondered what your peers were reading? You know, maybe the reason Jim got that promotion is because he learned how to prioritize his goals and perform much better in the office. Maybe the reason your previously socially dysfunctional cousin Theresa has so many new friends is because she learned how to form an emotional connection with others. Maybe the people around you who are excelling aren’t doing so due to pure luck, maybe it’s all hard work and effort. And maybe, they learned how to put in all that effort due to reading books.

So, after realizing the tremendous positive effects self-help books have on those who read them, we built an algorithm to tell us what the 10 most popular self help books of 2016 were. Now you can read any of these 10 books knowing that it’s one of the most effective self help books out there, and soon, you will be achieving all your wildest dreams!

How the data was collected

We built an algorithm that gathers data from the website www.goodreads.com, the most popular service for book lovers. After analyzing over 2500 self-help books, we managed to compile a list of 10 books that had the highest growth of ratings* in December 2016. The growth of ratings for each book is given below.

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 2160 weekly rates*
  2. How to Win Friends and Influence People, 2109
  3. The Tipping Point, 2059
  4. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, 1638
  5. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, 1492
  6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad, 1383
  7. The Power of Habit, 1238
  8. Who Moved My Cheese?, 1157
  9. Freakonomics, 1110
  10. Outliers: The Story of Success, 1003

*Growth of ratings refers to how many people rate a book on Goodreads per week.

Top 10 books

Book #1: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen R. Covey

If you want to know how to untangle the messy knot of your personal and professional problems, then this book is the one for you. Author Stephen R. Covey, an accomplished businessman himself, wrote this step-by-step guide for all those who want to better themselves and their lives, but don’t know where to start. It consists of 7 thoroughly explained habits that you can begin to cultivate at once, so that you can become more effective in all areas of your life, whether personal, familial or professional.

Book #2: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

If you find yourself constantly having problems in your interpersonal relationships, then pick this book up and start reading today. The ability to cultivate good relationships with others will go a long way in both your personal and professional life — people will be much more willing to help you out if they like you. Carnegie, the author of this book, has come up with an award-winning guide to make people like you, to win them over to your way of thinking, and even to change them without arousing resentment. Originally written in 1936, this timeless book has helped several of the most successful people today get to where they are, and who knows, in a few years, you may just be one of them!

Book #3: The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

You may have a million-dollar-idea, but just having an idea isn’t enough to achieve success. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell examines the popular ideas and trends of the past to figure out how exactly they got so popular. What were the factors causing them to tip over from being interesting, but not very interesting ideas, to being nationally and internationally acclaimed? The tipping point is clearly seen in the way fashion trends are currently sweeping the world (only to have a new one sweep in every couple of weeks), in the way children’s shows such as Sesame Street were popularized overnight, or in the way the smoking industry grew so big so fast. All these cases, and more, were discussed and explained in Gladwell’s book.

So if you have an idea that you think is worthy of critical acclaim, check out this book for some helpful pointers on how to turn it into a social epidemic. Learn from the past, and don’t repeat the same mistakes!

Book #4: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Another Gladwell book, but about something completely different. Blink is a book about what happens in your brain during the split second it takes for you to blink. The judgements you make, the inferences you can’t explain, the decisions you can’t justify, all happen within the amount of time it takes for you to blink. It teaches you to be more aware of yourself, of the true reasoning behind all your thoughts (and actions), so that you can become a better you. Plus, it’s all written in an engaging, conversational tone so you won’t get bogged down by technical jargon.

This book is directed towards those who want to learn more about themselves, as well as pick up a few tips and tricks to maximize their mind’s potential. If this describes you, then give Blink a shot — you won’t regret it.

Book #5: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō

You would be surprised at the difference a tidy room can make. A cluttered work and living area leads to a cluttered mind, and a cluttered mind leads to an increase in stress and a decrease in productivity. Marie Kondo, a professional cleaning consultant from Japan wrote this book to help people clean up their houses, and thus, their lives. So, if you have trouble keeping your home neat and tidy, and have just decided to allow all the papers, clothes and other paraphernalia accumulate to form an uncleanable mess, you need this book.

The best part about KonMari method, Kondo’s personal tidying method, is that it only needs to be done once! Kondo guarantees that if you organize your house according to her instructions just once, you will never need to do it again. This seemingly outrageous, too-good-to-be-true statement is backed up by all her past clients — none of them have lapsed in their tidiness! So check out this book, and start organizing your home today.

Book #6: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Successful entrepreneur Robert T. Kiyosaki wrote this book about the lessons he learned from two men — his biological father, who was fiscally poor but highly educated, and his best friend’s father, an eighth grade dropout who was now a millionaire. By combining advice taken from both men, Kiyosaki was able to figure out the secret to making money, and retired at the early age of 47 as a multimillionaire. However, this book isn’t just about money. It’s about discovering the reasons behind the way we think and act, and how to reprogram the toxic thought processes we have to those that are more beneficial to us. This book is perfect for those who get bored when confronted with huge paragraphs of technical jargon — there are plenty of diagrams and other visual aids to explain the concepts and theories discussed in this book.

Book #7: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Have you ever known someone who led an unhealthy life, and managed to change that overnight? A smoker who quit smoking, or an overweight person who is now a fitness star. Maybe you even know someone who was once unemployed and unsuccessful, and is now well-off. And maybe, you too have certain aspects of your life that you want to change, but you don’t know how. You are stuck in the “before” stage, with no idea how to get to the “after”. Well, this book will guide you to take the steps necessary to get to the place you want to be, and become the person that you need to be. It all starts with changing your habits.

Backed up with research from several case studies, The Power of Habit demonstrates that while it is not easy to change bad habits, it can be done by constant reinforcement. Author Charles Duhigg will take you through a step-by-step process so you can begin to identify and change your bad habits into good ones. By following the advice given in this book, you can easily transform your business, your community and most importantly, your life.

Book #8: Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Change is always daunting. However, it does not benefit us to shy away from it, instead, we must move bravely towards it. Who Moved My Cheese? is about exactly that; it illustrates the importance of adapting to the constant, unexpected changes we will experience in our personal and working lives. The advice given in this book will help you learn how to decrease your stress while increasing your success in every aspect of your work and life. Plus, Johnson’s fun, engaging style of writing is guaranteed to make this an entertaining read you won’t regret!

Book #9: Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

You may not be interested in economics, but you should give Freakonomics a read anyway. In this book, author Steven D. Levitt explores a series of interesting happenings including how crack gangs work, the true motivations of real-estate agents, how to tell apart the cheating schoolteachers from the honest ones, the secrets of the Klu Klux Klan and much more. He then explains all these phenomena with concepts from microeconomics, ultimately proving that if morals represent how we would like the world to work, economics represents how it truly does work. His theories on how the legalization of abortion had a direct relationships with the decline of violent crime rates as well as how sumo-wrestling in Japan is one of the most corrupt sports are new, original and well researched. Levitt presents his arguments and theories with a charming and captivating style of writing that will keep you reading on for the stories, if not for the science behind them.

Book #10: Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Another Gladwell book makes the list. Outliers is about the outliers of our society — those who stand at the very edge of the bell-curve (on the positive side). It discusses the vital question everyone’s been asking for years: What makes high achievers different? Because once we know how successful people got successful, we too can achieve our goals.

Outliers presents a concept that may not be new, but certainly has not been given much attention: that we shouldn’t focus on the character traits of successful people, but instead, we should focus on their past. What is their culture like? What kind of family and socio-economic status did they grow up in? What generation are they in? Only by looking at their past can we find the secret to their success, ie. what shaped them into the person they are today. Malcolm Gladwell thus explains the secrets of software billionaires, why Asians are good at math and even why the Beatles were the greatest rock band. So, if you’re wondering why you haven’t “made it” yet, why you haven’t achieved the success you envisioned for yourself, pick this book up and give it a read. The answers you need just might be contained in there.

What next?

We understand that the most read books are not always the best ones. So, in the next article, we will show you the highest rated self-help books.

Author of the article: Abyramy Srikanth, data and analysis generated by: Greg Swierad