The Top 11 Books About Self Confidence in 2023

Books About Self Confidence

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As a confidence coach who’s built himself up from a zero self-confidence Nice Guy people-pleaser, I have to give credit to the main source of my rehabilitation: books.

I’ve read literally hundreds of self-development type books over the last decade or more, and so when it comes to books about self confidence – this list is a best of the best for a few reasons.

Firstly, they were captivating and written well enough that I was able to read the whole book cover to cover without losing interest.

Secondly, they prompted me to take immediate practical actions that had a measurable impact on growing my self-confidence.

Thirdly, the principles they teach and preach align with what I know about what science says regarding the development of self-worth and confidence.

And lastly, when I recommend these to other people, they frequently report having good results as well. So without further ado..

My Picks: The Top 11 Books About Self Confidence

Let’s get into it.


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1) Radical honesty, by Brad Blanton


the best book about building self confidence

Quick Description:

“We all lie like hell,” says Dr. Brad Blanton. “It wears us out…it is the major source of all human stress. It kills us.” But you CAN escape the jail of your mind! For over 20 years, Radical Honesty has helped tens of thousands of people do exactly that.

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My Take:

After studying confidence for more than a decade, I’ve come to the firm conclusion that the simplest and best way to become more confident is to become more honest. That’s why it’s my number one pick for books to help build self-confidence.

Radical Honesty gives you a simple framework to follow as to how you can be more honest. It also explains in convincing detail as to why this is better than even the little white lies we tell to keep the peace socially.

Further, as the book progresses, Blanton starts to unwrap the spirituality of honesty, showing how truthfulness is in alignment with reality, which gives you the best possible long-term outcomes for your own personal preferences.

2) The subtle art of not giving a fuck, by Mark Manson

the second best book on building self confidence

Quick Description:

“In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.”

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My Take:

I’ve read three of Manson’s books (and we’ve even interviewed him) and this book one remains my firm favorite. While he probably overdoes the whole swearing-for-effect thing, the ideas of the book are solid and firmly rooted in well established philosophy.

This book helps you understand where most of your suffering comes from (i.e. the kryptonite to your self-worth), and how you are actually in control of this for the most part.

Manson is one of the very few author/influences who is actually able to articulate what it means to stop giving a fuck, especially when it comes to what other people think of you. This book also helps you bring the concept of ‘values’ into your life, giving you a roadmap for decision making that you can trust.

3) No More Mr Nice Guy, by Dr. Robert Glover

book about building self confidence

Quick Description:

“Originally published as an e-book that became a controversial media phenomenon, No More Mr. Nice Guy! landed its author, a certified marriage and family therapist, on The O’Reilly Factor and the Rush Limbaugh radio show.”

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Another guest of The Menprovement Podcast, Robert Glover brings the heat in this classic. This is one of my favorite books on building self confidence. It’s very specific for the people-pleaser types or for guys like my clients who have what’s called ‘Nice Guy Syndrome’.

What I like about this book is Glover really emphasizes just how full of shit ‘nice’ people are. Nice Guys are constantly patting themselves on the back for being kind and compassionate and caring and for saving the world from all the jerks out there, when the truth of it is they’re absolutely needy, amoral and manipulative.

Reading this book was a big kick in the face for me personally. I was so proud of being nice and always considered myself to be a good person… until I read this book and realized actually I was just a con-artist, a very good one who was able to make people like me by manipulating them with nice behaviors.

4) Lying, by Sam Harris

great book for increasing self confidence

Quick Description:

“In Lying, best-selling author and neuroscientist Sam Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie.”

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The next book for building self confidence is by an insanely smart guy, Sam Harris.

Sam Harris is not only a neuroscientist, author and public speaker whom I admire greatly, he’s also a great role model for what a modern confident man looks like.

When Harris talks about honesty, he’s referring a lot more to the concept of being truthful. While honesty is about saying what you think and feel, truthfulness is when what you think also aligns with evident reality. 

Harris is very focused on the smallest versions of lying and how you constantly condone this for yourself and for others.  Harris lays out a case for how even white lies are devastating to your confidence and that your whole life will suffer, but also how quickly you can free yourself from this pain by just not doing it.

It’s a very simple message – a short but very powerful book. If you still think “There’s some times where I have to lie!” see if you still think that after reading this book, because I couldn’t after this… seriously.

5) Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl

man's search for meaning

Quick Description:

“After having experienced the hell on earth in the German concentration camp, Viktor E. Frankl had found ways to preserve the will to live for himself, and to share with readers how one can find meaning in life in even the most tortuous living condition.”

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You think you got it bad? Try being a Jew in a Nazi concentration camp. Frankl used his experience in the camps as a foundation for developing logotherapy, a Stoic form of psychological counseling based on finding meaning rather than happiness.

There’s a reason this book appears on all the top lists for self-development. It’s an intensive deep-dive into the true strengths we each have as humans – the kind of strengths that can survive concentration camps – and how to access these.

It also challenges many of the commonly held limiting beliefs we share that cause us suffering, particularly those about controlling things that aren’t ours to control.

6) Essentialism, by Greg McKeown

essentialism - a book on building self confidence

Quick Description:

“NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • More than one million copies sold! Essentialism isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.”

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This one was a recent game-changer for me, and it accelerated my progress in business and life in general when I was really struggling with becoming a new father.

Essentialism is the practice of focusing all of your attention and efforts into just a few significantly important activities. Where most people busily spread themselves thin and do everything to a mediocre level, essentialists go deep and hard on one thing at a time. And they get better results.

If you’re familiar with the 80/20 Pareto Principle, this is like the 99/1 Principle! You’d be amazed at how much more focused and certain you’ll feel when you boldly choose just a few things to give your all to.

The improvements you’ll see in your life are what makes this one of the best books for building self confidence.

7) Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

a book about self confidence

Quick Description:

In his mega bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, world-famous psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think.

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This may not sound like a book about self-confidence, but it certainly is. One of the most sorely lacking subjects in school is critical thinking. If you don’t understand how your brain works (and when it doesn’t), you’ll always be a slave to your biases and fallacies.

Kahneman is the world’s leading expert in cognitive biases, and this book helps you understand the faulty way our minds interpret information and make decisions.

If you can better understand the weaknesses in your mind – natural to all humans – you’ll not only become more confident but you’ll also understand why other people are the way they are, making you more socially skilled as well.

8) The Formula, by Albert-László Barabási

the formula - a book about success

Quick Description:

“In the bestselling tradition of Malcom Gladwell, James Gleick, and Nate Silver, prominent professor László Barabási gives us a trailblazing book that promises to transform the very foundations of how our success-obsessed society approaches their professional careers, life pursuits and long-term goals.”

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Something I often warn people about is getting advice from successful people. Unfortunately, they’ll most likely tell you what they wish was true, rather than what is actually true for being successful.

This book is pure science. Albert-László Barabási and his team literally study the mathematics of success and nothing else. In this book, they show you the trends and recipes to success that are true for all high achievers, even when they’re not conscious of these things.

This book will give you an edge on how to do well at whatever you value, be it business, art, social skills, or hobbies. While the book is focused mostly on financial and power success (because these are measurable), the principles can still be applied to anything.

9) Greenlights, by Matthew McConnaughey

The Top 11 Books About Self Confidence in 2023 1

Quick Description:

“#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Discover the life-changing memoir that has inspired millions of readers through the Academy Award®–winning actor’s unflinching honesty, unconventional wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction.”

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I’ve read a lot of great autobiographies lately, but I choose this one as the only inclusion on this list for a specific reason: McConnaughey is what I call naturally confident. What this means is, he was confident from a very early age and didn’t have to “learn” it like most people.

This book will give you an insight into the mind of a supremely confident (and successful) man. I can validate his views as being those that truly confident people adopt, so if you can just see the world the way he does, you’ll understand what it means to be confident.

It’s also just a great read in general, especially witnessing the transition McConnnaughey made from rom-com basic hunk to credible dramatic actor, and how this move reflects the kind of change most people need to make to become confident in later life.

10) The Happiness Trap, Dr Russ Harris

the happiness trap

Quick Description:

“Popular ideas about happiness are misleading, inaccurate, and are directly contributing to our current epidemic of stress, anxiety and depression. And unfortunately, popular psychological approaches are making it even worse. In this controversial, but empowering self-help book, Dr Russ Harries, reveals how millions of people are unwittingly caught in the ‘The Happiness Trap’, where the more they strive for happiness the more they suffer in the long term. He then provides an effective means to escape through a groundbreaking new approach based on mindfulness skills Mindfulness is a mental state of awareness, openness, and focus.”

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is the closest thing I’ve found to a model of therapy that focuses on self-confidence. While things like CBT are also helpful, ACT is the most respectful of normal human weaknesses and struggles and helps you work around them rather than fighting against them. 

Harris is one of the most respected and followed ACT practitioners, and this book addresses his primary field of expertise: overcoming the shame we have about things we can’t control. Specifically, the goal to feel “happy” all the time, and how impossible this really is.

This book will help you see that you can be confident while experiencing the full range of human emotion, and that you don’t need to shame yourself for having uncomfortable feelings, nor do you ever have to pretend to be something you’re not.

11) How to think like a Roman Emperor, Donald Robertson

The Top 11 Books About Self Confidence in 2023 2

Quick Description:

“In How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, cognitive psychotherapist Donald Robertson weaves the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius together seamlessly to provide a compelling modern-day guide to the Stoic wisdom followed by countless individuals throughout the centuries as a path to achieving greater fulfillment and emotional resilience.”

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I really struggled to choose a single book on Stoicism for this list (as opposed to just filling the list with nothing else) because this philosophy is the philosophy of confidence. But if I must choose one, what better than a book that perfectly summarizes the attitude to life adopted by the leading Stoics of ancient times!

We might never again have such a perfect role model of confidence than the Emperor of Rome, Marcus Aurelius. Thankfully, he left his journal lying about and it’s now one of the most revered Stoic documents ever recovered. 

What Robertson has done is transition a journal (and other Stoic writings) into a kind of story that you can follow, as if you’re witnessing these great Stoics live their lives rather than just reading about it. The book could easily be a movie.

If you’re new to Stoicism, this is my top recommendation for getting started.

Bonus #12: The Naked Truth, by Dan Munro

OK, a bit of shameless self-promotion here, but fuck it – I wrote this article so what are you gonna do about it?

My latest book, The Naked Truth, is all about the connection between honesty and confidence. I break down what it means to be Powerfully Honest, a concept that branches away from the impulsivity of radical honesty and adds consideration of the truth.

If you want to be assertively honest but still respectful and humble, look no further.

This book will not only destroy your limiting beliefs that lead you to people-please and pretend to be something for other people’s approval, but it will help you replace this unhelpful strategy with integrity instead. Imagine if being more confident is as simple as being more honest!

Well, it is.

You can check out my book and other works here.


Comment below with your ideas for other books about self confidence that you’d add to this list (only add books you’ve actually read and applied in a way that helped you build your self-worth):


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