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The 50 Greatest Self-Help Books

Best Self Help Books
























Women's Issues
Self-Help Books

The Women's Movement, which ushered ina new wave of feminism during the sixties and seventies, rolls on in more and more wondrously diverse ways. Continue reading article on Women's Issues»

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The Self-Help books for women listed below offer a kaleidoscope of information, guidance, support, encouragement and celebration for women.

See also:Women's Sexual Health; Self Esteem and Self Confidence; Intimate Relationships: Relationship Advice; Communication Skills; Spirituality; Blended Family; Family Issues; Career Development; Eating Disorder; Body Image; Abusive Relationships; Recovery from Childhood Abuse

 

Best Self-Help Books on Women's Issues

Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope ElelmanOur Bodies Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era by Boston Women's Health Book CollectiveWomen Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes"These are the Women's Issues Self-Help books I recommend most frequently to women in my practice who are exploring and deepening their feminine identity."
David Yarian, Ph.D.





More Recommended Self-Help Books on Women's Issues

The Anger Workbook for Women: How to Keep Your Anger from Undermining Your Self Esteem, Your emotional Balance, and Your Relationships by Laura J. PetracekThe Anger Workbook for Women: How to Keep Your Anger from Undermining Your Self-Esteem, Your Emotional Balance, and Your Relationships

This Self-Help workbook addresses the unique concerns of women with anger problems. Rigid social patterning, Dr. Petracek argues, conditions many women to stifle or deny their anger - thus leading to other problems. Other women experience violent, outwardly focused anger. Building on women's tendency to be more relational than men, this Self-Help book for women advocates interactive techniques as a primary method of anger management. Using a wide range of practical tools, the workbook helps each woman develop her own individualized program. 2004, New Harbinger Publications


Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan FaludiBacklash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

In this aggressive work, Faludi lays out a two-fold thesis; first, career-minded women are generally not husband-starved loners on the verge of nervous breakdowns. Secondly, such beliefs are nothing more than antifeminist propaganda pumped out by conservative research organizations with clear-cut ulterior motives. Meticulously researched, this Self-Help for women book won the 1991 National Book Critics Circle award for general non-fiction2006, Three Rivers Press, 15th Anniversary edition


Circle of Stones: Woman's Journey to Herself by Judith DuerkCircle of Stones: Woman's Journey to Herself

Circle of Stones draws the reader into a meditative experience of the lost Feminine and creates a space to consider our present lives from the eyes of women’s ancient culture and ritual. The reader is led into a personal journey reflecting upon the question, “how might my life have been different if . . . ?”  1999, Innisfree Press


Composing a Life: Life as a Work in Progress by Mary Catherine BatesonComposing a Life: Life as a Work in Progress

Bateson shows us that life itself is a creative process using the personal stories of five extraordinary women as her framework. She sees child rearing, career changes, relocations, and divorce as creative opportunities rather than a series of interruptions. She looks at life as a work of improvisational art. 2001, Grove Press

Pick of the Month Self-Help BookThis book was a Pick of the Month Self-Help Book! Read David's full Book Review.

 


The Courage to Be Yourself by Sue Patton ThoeleThe Courage to Be Yourself: A Woman's Guide to Emotional Strength and Self-Esteem

Sue Patton Thoele continues her mission to help readers improve their self esteem and make use of their core emotional strength. Geared to women who all too often find themselves satisfying the desires of others at the cost of their own needs, this book supplies necessary tools to help readers transform their fears into the courage to express their own authentic selves. By revealing her own journey and the journey of other women, Thoele helps readers discover ways to set boundaries, transform self-defeating behavior patterns, communicate effectively, and become a nurturing and tolerant friend to themselves. This tenth-anniversary Self-Help edition contains 30 percent new content, which includes a new introduction. 2001, Conari Press, 3rd edition


The Dance of Anger: A Woman's guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet LernerThe Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships

Dr. Lerner writes, “anger is a signal and one worth listening to.” This renowned classic has transformed the lives of millions of readers. This Self-Help book for women teaches women to identify the true sources of their anger and to use anger as a powerful vehicle for creating lasting change. 1997, Harper and Row
A 50 Greatest Self-Help Book



Deborah, Golda and Me by Letty Cottin PogrebinDeborah, Golda and Me

This is a well-written, vigorous, and challenging look at Jewish traditions and values from the world-view of a leading feminist thinker. In this Self-Help book, Pogrebin, a founding editor of Ms. Magazine, reconciles her Jewish background which she rejected for almost 20 years with her feminist ideology. When Pogrebin’s mother died, she was not allowed by the patriarchal structure to recite the Kaddish, a prayer for the dead. She learns in time to embrace both feminism and a reexamined Judaism. 1992, Anchor


Healing Your Emotional Self: A Powerful Program to Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem by Beverly EngelHealing Your Emotional Self: A Powerful Program to Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem, Quiet Your Inner Critic, and overcome Your Shame

In Healing Your Emotional Self, Engel presents her remarkably effective Mirror Therapy program to enable you to reject the distorted images your parents either intentionally or unintentionally projected onto you. This innovative step-by-step system gives you the skills you need to construct apositive self-image, separate emotionally from your parents and discover who you actually are. Become skilled at self-nurturing and overcome your tendency toward self-blame, self-hatred, and self-destructiveness while you come to love who you see in the mirror. 2007, Wiley


The Heart and Soul of Sex by Gina OgdenThe Heart and Soul of Sex: Making the ISIS Connection

Based on a landmark sex survey, researcher and sex therapist Ogden found "the language of spiritual experience comes closest to expressing the fullness of our sexual response, for it is the language of connection and ecstasy." This Self-Help book for women guides the reader on a path to her sexual "center" where healing, ecstasy and transformation occur. 2006, Trumpter


A 50 Greatest Self-Help Book


Pick of the Month Self-Help BookThis book was a Pick of the Month Self-Help Book! Read David's full Book Review.

 


Heart of a Woman by Maya AngelouHeart of a Woman

An Oprah Book Club selection, this is the fourth in a series of autobiographical memoirs poet Maya Angelou has produced. This Self-Help book is filled with unforgettable vignettes of people from Billie Holiday to Malcom X, but perhaps most important is the story of her relationship with her son. 2009, Random House Trade


I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women's Lives by Ellen Goodman and Patricia O'BrienI Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women's Lives

A friendship is a lot like romance – in the beginning all chemistry and luck, but then come commitment and dependability and other challenges, and as any old friends know, it keeps getting better if you hold on through the bends and curves. The authors share their own story of twenty-five years of friendship and the stories of other women2001, Simon and Schuster


Lost Fathers by Laraine HerringLost Fathers: How Women Can Heal from Adolescent Father Loss

Every year an estimated one million teen girls in the United States experience the death of their fathers. Countless more lose their fathers to divorce, addiction, incarceration or abandonment. This authoritative guide for adult women helps you to understand how your behaviors and relationships may be shaped by losing your father at such an important time of your life. With gentle expertise, Herring blends personal stories, up-to-date psychological information and interactive exercises for readers in this healing Self-Help guide. 2005, Hazelden


Lot's Daughters by Robert PolhemusLot's Daughters

In this provocative volume, Polhemus, chair of Stanford's English Department, uses the "disreputible Bible story of father-daughter incest" as a lens to understand family and gender relations through the centuries. He casts a wide net over literature, art, psychology, show-busines, and politics to argue that the power dynamic between younger women and older men "in which daughters fall in love with their father's lives and older men are tempted by the intoxicating power and promise of youth" - is integral to our society. 2005, Stanford University Press


The Mindful Woman by Sue Patton ThoeleThe Mindful Woman: Gentle Practices for Restoring Calm, Finding Balance, and Opening Your Heart

In The Mindful Woman, Sue Patton Thoele shows you how to incorporate mindfulness into your busy and dynamic life. This Self-Help book's gentle and humorous approach makes it a practical and easily understood guide, offering over sixty-five simple and effective practices to help you embrace mindfulness one moment at a time. 2008, New Harbinger


Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul by Patricia Foster, ed.Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul

Well-known writers contribute vivid portraits in which they explore their relationships to their bodies. They describe dealing with cancer and chemotherapy, pregnancy and infertility, anorexia, aging, multiple sclerosis, diets and plastic surgery. This Self-Help book for women is an inspiring testimony to the female spirit and offers examples of women who lead lives that demonstrate the connection between the love for one’s body as it is and the love one feels for the earth. 1995, Anchor


The Mismeasure of Women: Why Women Are Not the Better Sex, the Inferior Sex, or the Opposite Sex by Carol TavrisThe Mismeasure of Women: Why Women Are Not the Better Sex, the Inferior Sex, or the Opposite Sex

When “man is the measure of all things,” woman is forever trying to measure up. In this enlightening Self-Help book, social psychologist Tavris unmasks the widespread but invisible custom – pervasive in the social sciences, medicine, law, and history – of treating men as the normal standard, women as abnormal. Tavris illuminates the similarities between women and men and shows that the real differences lie not in gender, but in power, resources, and life experiences. 1993, Touchstone


Mother-Daughter Wisdom: Understanding the Crucial Link Between Mothers, Daughters, and Health by Christiane NorthrupMother-Daughter Wisdom: Understanding the Crucial Link Between Mothers, Daughters, and Health

Mother-Daughter Wisdom is written to connect the dots between a woman’s thoughts and her feelings, physical and mental health, friends and family, and in an overarching sense, the relationship between being a woman's daughter and raising a daughter of your own. seamlessly blends personal stories with clear research in a way that creates a compelling read from start to finish. The information is a welcome mix of old school medical advice and new school nutrition and stress relief. In Northup's world, whole foods and loving communication can play just as important roles as antibiotics. 2006, Bantam


Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope ElelmanMotherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss

This Self-Help book for women explores the profound pain of mother loss among women. As Edelman shares her own painful story and the stories of other women who lost their mothers, she describes the secondary effects that may occur, including the girl filling the lost mother’s role at home for father and younger siblings. 2006, Da Capo Press 


My Mother/My Self: The Daughter's Search for Identity by Nancy FridayMy Mother/My Self: The Daughter's Search for Identity

This best-selling Self-Help book is based on hundreds of interviews with women and focuses on the complex relationship between mothers and daughters throughout a daughter’s life. This relationship is complicated by society’s denial of women’s sexuality and is an enlightening resource for women coming to terms with their identity as adult daughters and mothers. 1997, Delta


Our Bodies Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era by Boston Women's Health Book CollectiveOur Bodies Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era

This major update of the Self-Help book that helped launch the women’s health movement adds new chapters on online health resources, AIDS and managed care. This empowering Self-Help book for women remains true to the spirit of the original edition which was to give women tools to enable them to take charge of their health and their lives. 2005, Touchstone


The Perimenopause & Menopause Workbook: A Comprehensive, Personalized Guide to Hormone Health by Simpson and BredesenThe Perimenopause & Menopause Workbook: A Comprehensive, Personalized Guide to Hormone Health

Using extensive and interactive checklists, symptom lists, and self-assessments, this Self-Help book for women first helps you to track your symptoms. Then it takes you through all the medical and non-medical treatments available, including human-identical hormones, lifestyle and dietary changes, supplements, and other non-HRT treatments. 2006, New Harbinger


A Place Called Self: women, Sobriety and Radical Transformation by Stephanie BrownA Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety and Radical Transformation

Why is it that newfound sobriety with its hard-won joys and accomplishments can be such a lonely and unsatisfying experience for many women? Once a woman leaves behind the numbing comforts of alcohol or other drugs, she is left to face herself - perhaps for the first time in her life. With gentle guidance and personal stories, Dr. Brown helps readers unravel painful truths and confusing feelings and weave for themselves a true sense of self. This Self-Help book offers women a map to find their way through the rocky spots in sobriety. 2004, Hazelden


Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary PipherReviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

At adolescence, says Mary Pipher, “girls become ‘female impersonators’ who fit their whole selves into small crowded spaces.” Many lose spark, interest, and even IQ points as a “girl-poisoning” society forces a choice between being shunned or staying true to oneself and struggling to stay within a narrow definition of female. She offers prescriptions for changing society and compassionate strategies with which to revive adolescent girls’ lost sense of self. 2005, Riverhead Trade


The Seasons of a Woman's Life by Daniel Levinson and Judy LevinsonThe Seasons of a Woman's Life

This Self-Help book for women focuses on women’s psychosocial growth from the late teens to middle age and is based on interviews with homemakers, career women, and academics. The book is a rich source of insights and consolation and speaks with directness to the dreams, emotional crises, inexplicable feelings, social conflicts, and psychological upheavals that mark each woman’s life course. 1997, Ballantine Books


The Second Shift by Arlie HochschildThe Second Shift

Sociologist Hochschild talks openly about what really happens in dual career households: women still do the majority of childcare and housework even though they also work outside the home. This Self-Help book can be useful to married couples by stimulating frank discussion of how household roles are divided. 2003, Penguin Books


The Secret Pleasures of Menopause by Christiane NorthrupThe Secret Pleasures of Menopause

Dr. Northrup believes that it’s time for you to step forward and learn to enjoy the best years of your life! Even though studies show that menopause doesn’t decrease libido, ease of reaching orgasm, or sexual satisfaction, the majority of menopausal women aren’t experiencing the pleasure and sexual satisfaction that is their birthright. It is a long-held misconception that menopause signals “the beginning of the end,” and nothing could be further from the truth. In this fascinating Self-Help book, Dr. Northrup candidly guides you toward experiencing life after 50 as the most pleasurable time of your life! 2008, Hay House


We Are Our Mother's Daughters by Cokie RobertsWe Are Our Mother's Daughters

Renowned news correspondent Cokie Roberts tells her own story and those of women of her generation. Having graduated from Wellesley in 1964, Roberts explains that the women of her generation were pioneers in many ways – especially when it came to career and workplace issues: “we were the first women at almost everything we did, and most of us often had the experience of being the only woman in the room.” Many of the essays are political in nature, covering the Civil Rights Act, consumer advocacy, and the history of women in the military. She ends with a message of encouragement for young women – that we need only look as far as our foremothers for inspiration. 2010, Harper Perennial


The Woman's guide to Total Self-Esteem by Dillon and BensonThe Woman's Guide to Total Self-Esteem: The Eight Secrets You Need to Know

In this Self-Help book for women , Drs. Dillon and Benson (a psychologist and a psychoanalyst) help women meet the challenge of building self-esteem. By pinpointing and understanding destructive beliefs, women can steadily acquire (or repair) a healthy and rewarding image of themselves. Clear demonstrations with related exercises clearly show how you can develop the eight building blocks of self-esteem: healthy entitlement; the courage to feel; self-objectivity; self-assertion; body acceptance; emotional balance; self-advocacy; and self-nurturing. The book concludes with the suggestion that attaining self-esteem is a lifelong process, and that life's crises can be opportunities for growth and a more enduring sense of worth. 2001, New Harbinger


Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom by Christiane NorthrupWomen's Bodies, Women's Wisdom

Dr. Northrup is a gynecologist who also acknowledges the usefulness of natural therapies and herbs. In Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, she covers the treatment of many physical concerns, among them PMS, menstrual cramps, breast cancer, fibroids, endometriosis, and many others – explaining how many of these physical problems have roots in emotional upsets. Her medical approach is decidedly feminist, blaming our “addictive” and patriarchal society for many of the health problems plaguing women. She focuses on the whole of a woman’s life to understand health problems in context. More than 1.25 million copies in print. 2010, Bantam


Women's Sexuality Across the Life Span: Challenging Myths, Creating Meanings by Judith C. DanilukWomen's Sexuality Across the Life Span: Challenging Myths, Creating Meanings

This important Self-Help book investigates how women come by, and live out, their sexual sense of themselves from childhood to old age. It offers useful suggestions for developing skills for sexual self-definition at every age and stage of development. Exercises include letter-writing and drawing to confront feelings, psycho-drama and body sculpting to exorcise demons, guided fantasy to activate disowned body parts, and self-affirmations to help women re-occupy their bodies. 2003, The Guilford Press


Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola EstesWomen Who Run With the Wolves

Estes, a Jungian analyst, draws on folklore, fairy tales and dream symbols to help restore women’s neglected, intuitive and instinctive abilities. She describes the Wild Woman archetype, a female in touch with her primitive side and able to rely on gut feelings to make choices. An inspiring, compelling, moving and unusual Self-Help book. 1996, Ballentine Books


Women Who Worry Too Much: How to Stop Worry & Anxiety from Ruining Relationships, Work, & Fun by Holly Hazlett-StevensWomen Who Worry Too Much: How to Stop Worry & Anxiety from Ruining Relationships, Work, & Fun

Women are more likely than men to develop anxiety disorders, and to worry more about things like social problems, work, and finances. Women Who Worry Too Much addresses the fundamentals of worry and offers strategies for overcoming it that include monitoring personal worry triggers, breaking worry-provoking habits, and avoiding avoidance—a major aggravating factor for all anxiety disorders. From it, you’ll learn to use mindfulness techniques to avoid ruminating on the past or the future and how to use progressive relaxation to cope with worrisome situations. 2005, New Harbinger


Women's Issues Self-Help Resources