106 Quotations from Some of the Best Self-Help Books

In this article, you’ll discover 106 quotes selected from some of the world’s best-read and best-selling self-help books over the past few decades.

There is a good reason why these books have changed the lives of millions of people and been so successful: their content has resonated and left a lasting impression on readers’ minds in one way or another. That being said, if you haven’t read these titles yet, now might be the time. In the meantime, enjoy these 106 equally inspiring quotes!

1. “Heal Your Wounds and Find Your True Self

Lise Bourbeau’s bestseller, published in 1996, is one of the best-selling self-development books in the world. This essential work analyzes the wounds in every human being and their mechanisms, enabling us to heal and finally be ourselves.

Heal Your Wounds and Find Your True Self
  • [All human suffering can be condensed into five wounds. Here they are in chronological order, that is, in the order in which each one appears in the course of a lifetime: rejection, abandonment, humiliation, betrayal, injustice.]
  •  [You know, in life there are no guilty people: only suffering people.]
  • [We blame others for everything we do ourselves and don’t want to see.]
  • [The more you suffer through a specific situation or with a specific person, the further back the problem originates.]
  • [The parent you felt you got along with best as a teenager is the one you have the most unresolved issues with.]
  • [To be selfish is to want someone else to take care of our needs before their own. It’s taking for oneself at the expense of others, it’s believing that others are responsible for our happiness. It’s the opposite of true love. To be selfish is to take something away from another for our own pleasure.]
  • [We believe we need to change when, in reality, we need to heal. That’s why knowing our wounds is so beneficial because it allows us to heal rather than trying to change ourselves.]
  • [You can’t please everyone, and you have the right to have certain human reactions that may be displeasing.]

2. “How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie

This book by Dale Carnegie, first published in 1937 and regularly updated since then, needs no introduction. A bible among self-help books for anyone wishing to develop a quality relational life.

  • [You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.]
  • [There is only one way under heaven to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.]
  • [Criticism is futile because it puts people on the defensive and usually makes them strive to justify themselves. Criticism is dangerous because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts their sense of importance, and arouses resentment.]
  • [When you want to convince your listener, avoid, right from the start of the conversation, raising issues on which you and he/she don’t agree.]
  • [Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes – and most fools do – but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.]
  • [The secret of success – if there is one – is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes, and to consider things from his or her point of view as well as your own.]
  • [When you meet a man who’s too weary to give you a smile, let him have yours. For no one needs a smile more than he who has none left to offer.]
  • [Criticism is a dangerous spark, a spark that can cause an explosion in the powder keg that is vanity.]
  • [If we want to make friends, let’s put ourselves out to do things for other people — things that require time, energy, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness.]

3. “The Power of Now

Written by Eckhart Tolle and published in 1997, “The Power of Now” is regularly cited as a benchmark among books on personal and spiritual development. It has helped millions of people find inner peace.

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
  • [Life is now.]
  • [Leave life alone. Let it be.]
  • [Even when the sky is completely overcast, the sun doesn’t disappear. It’s behind the clouds.]
  • [The light is too painful for someone who wants to remain in darkness.]
  • [To identify with the mind is to give it energy. To observe the mind is to take energy away from it.]
  • [Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within. The very thing that gives you pleasure today will give you pain tomorrow, or it will leave you, so its absence will give you pain.]
  • [The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger. It comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future.]
  • [Most human suffering is unnecessary. It’s self-inflicted as long as, unbeknownst to us, we let the mind take control of our lives.]
  • [Don’t worry about the results of your actions, just give your attention to the action itself. The result will come of its own accord.]
  • [To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness.]

4. “The Key to Your Energy

Natacha Calestrémé’s book has been a hit among personal development books since its release in 2020. In it, the author explains how to free oneself emotionally and regain full energy.

The Key to Your Energy
  • [Trees have been around for 380 million years, whereas mankind only came into being 6 million years ago. They are the grandparents of life on Earth. Let’s be as close to them as possible and respect them so that we can be enriched their presence. Reconnecting with nature is an extraordinary way to rediscover joy.]
  • [Don’t forget, those who make us suffer help us to become aware of our wounds, and recurring cycles, and to rid ourselves of them. Our tormentors in the moment are our best allies when it comes to evolving.]
  • [To stop resenting others is to start healing your own wounds.]
  • [Remember that a recurring ordeal is an indication that you’ve missed out on a learning experience. It’s a gift, a new opportunity to open your eyes to what you haven’t understood until now.]
  • [When it comes to my anger or hatred, I’ve come to understand that these toxic feelings destroy those who experience them, far more than those who generated them. Anger prevents appeasement. Hatred doesn’t nourish, it eats away.]
  • [It’s surprising, but seeing what’s wrong with others (child, parent, spouse, friend) is a way of turning a blind eye to your own wounds. The anguish you feel for them conceals your own fears.]
  • [Through forgiveness, we offer our lives the means to transform what weighs us down into inner gold. A rebirth!]
  • [When a serious illness sets in, we’ve already been shown many signs, and we’ve refused to see them. But do not worry, for there is still time to react.]

5. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen R. Covey’s book dates back to 1989, but its undiminished popularity still makes it a must-have when it comes to the personal development genre.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • [Our character consists of habits: sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.]
  • [Search your own heart with all diligence for out of it flow the issues of life.]
  • [Most of the time, we don’t listen with the intention of understanding; we listen with the intention of responding.]
  • [Each of us tends to think we see things as they are, that we are objective. But this is not the case. We see the world, not as it is, but as we are – or, as we are conditioned to see it.]
  • [Your economic security comes not from your job, but from your productive power (your ability to think, learn, create, and adapt). This is true financial independence: not wealth, but the ability to create that wealth. It’s an inner wealth.]
  • [Working on our spiritual renewal requires a great investment of time on our part, but it’s work we precisely don’t have time to neglect.]
  • [The influences in our lives—family, school, church, work environment, friends, associates, and current social paradigms such as the Personality Ethic—all have made their silent unconscious impact on us and help shape our frame of reference, our paradigms, our maps.]

6. “The Four Agreements

Released in 2005, this global bestseller by Miguel Ruiz is one of the most popular self-help books in the world. It reveals four keys to wisdom from the ancestral Toltec civilization.

The four Toltec agreements BEST SELF-HELP BOOKS
  • [True love consists in accepting others as they are, without trying to change them.]
  • [You can have a lot of great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is putting them into action.]
  • [Simply being ourselves is what we dread most.]
  • [When you do your best, you learn to respect yourself.]
  • [The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic. But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you.]
  • [To be in action is to live fully. Inaction is your way of denying life.]
  • [If others say one thing, but do another, you are lying to yourself if you don’t listen to their actions.]
  • [Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.]
  • [Whatever happens, don’t make it personal. What others say and do is only a projection of their own reality, their dream. When you’re immune to that, you’re no longer a victim of needless suffering.]
  • [Don’t make assumptions. Have the courage to ask questions and express your true desires. Communicate clearly with others to avoid sadness, misunderstandings, and drama.]
  • [Always do your best. Your “best” changes from moment to moment. Whatever the circumstances, simply do your best and you’ll avoid judgment, guilt, and regret.]

7. “Being Genuine

Among French-language personal development books, Thomas d’Asembourg’s 2010 book remains the most illustrious for introducing readers to the concept of non-violent communication.

  • [If you don’t like it, change it, and if you don’t change it, love it!]
  • [The simplest words and tone often have the most far-reaching impact.]
  • [If I repress what it would be right for me to express, sooner or later I get depressed.]
  • [Taking care means helping others to experience what they have to experience, not preventing them from doing so, and not trying to save them from suffering by minimizing it or taking responsibility for it. It’s about helping them to understand their difficulties, to penetrate their suffering so as to be able to emerge from it, aware that this path belongs to them, and that no one else but them can travel it.]
  • [Calling out something that is wrong isn’t necessarily expressing a whimsical complaint.]
  • [I don’t have the words to express my loneliness, sadness, and anger. So I criticize, insult, or become physical. I don’t have the words to express my need for exchange, understanding, or recognition. So I shoot up, drink, and become depressed.]
  • [Communicating means expressing and listening, expressing yourself and letting the other person express themselves, listening to yourself, listening to the other person, and often making sure we’ve listened to each other.]
  • [Everyone knows that to heal a wound, you have to cleanse it, i.e. take a good, hard look at what’s hurting, get in there, go through it again and again, then just let it air out, rest and heal. It hurts, but it does no wrong.]
  • [Obedience rarely creates responsible beings but rather automatons. – So automatic obedience or responsible compliance?]

8. “The Secret

Published by Rhonda Byrne in 2006, “The Secret” is a world reference in the category of personal development books that focus on the Law of Attraction.

  • [We get exactly what we ‘feel’.]
  • [Inner happiness is actually the fuel for success.]
  • [Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.]
  • [Your life is in your hands. No matter where you are now, no matter what’s going on in your life, you can begin to consciously choose your thoughts, and you can change your life.]
  • [If you start the day on the right foot and are filled with positive feelings, as long as you don’t allow a circumstance to alter your mood, you will continue to attract, through the Law of Attraction, more situations and people that will fuel that feeling of happiness.]
  • [Happiness is a state of mind. You have your finger on the ‘happiness’ button. Press it firmly right now and leave your finger there, no matter what’s going on around you.]
  • [Every unpleasant thought is a bad seed that we literally sow in our bodies.]

9. “Your Erroneous Zones

Of all personal development books, Wayne W. Dyer published in 2014 is among those that have helped millions of people break free from negative thoughts and beliefs.

Your Erroneous Zones BEST SELF-HELP BOOKS
  • [No one is more miserable than people who need others.]
  • [You believe that things or people make you unhappy, but this is not accurate. You make yourself unhappy by what you think about the people and things that come into your life. Becoming a free and healthy being requires learning to think differently.]
  • [You control your feelings by acting on the thoughts that preceded them. Only you can improve your lot, only you can make yourself happy.]
  • [Failure does not exist. Failure is simply someone else’s opinion of how a certain act should have been completed.]
  • [Learning from your mistakes is healthy and a necessary part of growth. Guilt is unhealthy because you are ineffectively using up your energy in the present feeling hurt, upset, and depressed about a historical happening. And it’s futile as well as unhealthy. No amount of guilt can ever undo anything.]
  • [The people who meet with the widest consensus seem to be those who never beg for approval, who don’t care, and who don’t seek it.]
  • [It’s easier to regret than to transform.]

10. “The 48 Laws of Power

Published in 1998, Robert Greene’s “The 48 Laws of Power” remains as relevant as ever as one of the flagship personal development books. It’s a manual on manipulation that’s as captivating as it is unconventional.

The 48 Laws of Power BEST SELF-HELP BOOKS
  • [There’s nothing more intoxicating than victory, and nothing more dangerous.]
  • [When you meet a swordsman, draw your sword: don’t recite poetry to someone who isn’t a poet.]
  • [Don’t leave your reputation to chance or gossip; it’s your life’s work of art, and you must craft it, polish it, and display it with the care of an artist.]
  • [Conceal your intentions not by getting close (with the risk of appearing secretive and making people suspicious) but by talking endlessly about your desires and goals, but not the real ones.]
  • [The human tongue is a beast that few can master.]
  • [You can’t suppress anger or love, or avoid feeling them, and you shouldn’t try.]
  • [Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are, and you will attain the heights of power.]
  • [Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but the most dangerous of all is to have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies.]
  • [Never get distracted by people’s glamorous portraits of themselves and their lives; look for and dig into what really imprisons them.]
  • [Sometimes any emotion is better than the boredom of security.]

11. “The Miracle Morning

Describing his morning routine as the key to happiness, Hal Elrod has established a full-fledged concept and enjoyed huge success in personal development book sales in 2016.

Miracle morning BEST SELF-HELP BOOKS
  • [Abandon the need to be perfect in favor of authenticity. Be yourself, love the individual you are, and others will appreciate you.]
  • [The present moment is more important than any period of your life because it’s what you do today that conditions the individual you become. And this will always determine the quality and direction of your existence.]
  • [Life is not about wishing to be somewhere else or someone else. It is enjoying where you are, loving who you are and constantly improving both.]
  • [Truth be told, if we don’t change now, our lives won’t change. If we don’t become better, our existence won’t improve. And if we don’t focus on making steady progress, our lives won’t gain in quality. And yet, most people wake up every morning doing the same thing.]
  • [Ordinary people believe only in what is possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but the impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.]
  • [Don’t strive to impress others. Simply strive to enrich their lives.]
  • [We all already have what it takes to be the happiest in the world. We just have to remember it all the time.]
  • [You have nothing to fear because failure is impossible. You can only learn, grow, and become better than you have ever been.]
  • [know that wherever you are in your life right now is both temporary and exactly where you are supposed to be. You have arrived at this moment to learn what you must learn so you can become the person you need to be to create the life you truly want.]
  • [Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.]

12. “Big Magic

Written by Elizabeth Gilbert in 2017, “Big Magic” is a classic among personal development books. In it, the author reveals her joyful, positive vision of creativity.

  • [It’s not the name you’re called that counts, it’s the name you respond to.]
  • [Perfection is impossible to achieve; it’s a myth, a trap, a hamster wheel you’ll wear yourself out spinning until you die.]
  • [Do what you love to do, and do it with as much seriousness as lightness. At least you’ll know you’ve tried and that – whatever the outcome – you’ve taken a noble path.]
  • [Perfectionism stops people from completing their works, yes — but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work. Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don’t even bother trying to be creative in the first place.]
  • [But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your own creative work. And always remember that people’s judgments about you are none of your business.]
  • [Stop treating your creativity as if you were a weary, unhappy old couple … and start looking at it with the fresh eyes of a passionate lover.]
  • [Fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun.]
  • [I am convinced that the creative process is magical.]
  • [Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner.]
  • [I happen to believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure.]

So, which quote was your favorite? There are many more great self-help books with inspiring sayings! Do you know of any others? If so, feel free to share them in the comments!

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