Books that label themselves as the “best self-help books!” are hit or miss for me. Recently, I read one that claimed to be one of the best self-help books for women climbing the business ladder, and I learned nothing. It was just a plug for the author’s other work. But yet there are others that really open your eyes to a new perspective, and they do it with style, personality, and sass. Some of my personal favorites give a great big EFF YOU to expectations by swearing like highly educated sailors. So today, I’m going to be reviewing all of the expletive-laden self-help books on the market based on my personal experience with them as well as Amazon reviews. I hope they make you feel enlightened as fuck.
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The F*cking Best Self-Help Books
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson
While this book hates on the millennial generation a little, I always bring it up in conversations about the best self-help books because it’s brutally honest and makes some very good points. We are the participation trophy generation because society has pushed us into thinking we have to be positive all the time. We have no idea how to process our feelings and heal from them, so everything hurts all the time. Manson proposes that instead of making lemonade out of lemons, we should learn to stomach lemons better.
UnF*ck Yourself by Gary John Bishop
Gary John Bishop has some brutal advice for you: your negativity is the biggest thing in your way. It is aimed at people who feel like they’re in a rut– after divorce, loss of a job, or maybe the post-college slump. Could be anything! The point is that Bishop convinces you that you’re a “miracle of a human being,” and then teaches you how to act like it.
I love that he calls this such a tough-love approach, and it’s certainly a little rough around the edges, but at the same time, I really believe he thinks all humans are individual miracles. Such a sweet, comforting thought for someone who warns that his book isn’t for the faint of heart! That’s what makes it one of the best self-help books for me. It’s honest, but I can really tell that he cares. I can tell he wrote this book to fix a problem, not to make money or get his name out there.
Not Another Fucking Motivation Book by Joanna Jast
Unfortunately, Joanna Jast does not actually curse in the book, just on the cover. Instead, she fills the book with a supreme lack of sappy junk before getting to the good stuff. She also critiques the one-size-fits-all mentality of most self-help books, and offers different strategies that might work for different people or situations.
How to Make Shit Happen by Sean Whalen
Whalen’s book is a super quick and affordable read (40 pages and $3.59!) full of common sense solutions to motivation problems. It’s one of the best self-help books for those who sort of know what they need to do, but need some help getting up and going for it. Whalen doesn’t bullshit or sugarcoat, and his tough personality is how he whips so many unmotivated butts in shape. He says that life isn’t something that’s happening to you– it’s something you make.
Unfuck Your Habitat by Rachel Hoffman
This book is basically a potty-mouthed beginner’s guide to organizing your home. Being organized to a fault, there wasn’t much Hoffman could offer me personally, but I can see how it could be one of the best self-help books for someone overwhelmed by piles of stuff. She’s empathetic and understands that there are underlying reasons why some have difficulty keeping up their home. For example, chronic illness or difficult jobs. Still, she motivates her readers to try via actionable tips like a 20/10 rule. Clean for 20 minutes, break for 10. This allows readers to not get overwhelmed by their habitat on top of their life stressors!
Hardcore Self Help: Fuck Anxiety by Robert Duff, Ph.D
Fun fact: Robert Duff used to make ASMR videos on Youtube. He’s young and attractive (but married, ugh) and has such a calming, sweet presence that he was perfect for it. Then his psychology career took off, and he re-branded his channel. Of course, while I missed the ASMR, I could still relate to the psych videos since I was entering the field myself. And when I found out he was writing expletive-laden self-help books? Match made in heaven. Professionally, I mean. He’s still married. Ugh.
Duff describes F*ck Anxiety as a self-help book for those who hate self-help books. He talks to you like a friend, avoids heady psychobabble, and most importantly gives you actionable advice to help minimize your anxiety. It truly is one of the best self-help books out there because the author truly cares about his readers and is so passionate about psychology.
Hardcore Self Help: Fuck Depression by Robert Duff Ph.D
F*ck Depression is a follow-up to F*ck Anxiety, and of course, they’re very similar in how they handle the concepts. Again, Duff takes the intimidating language that most self-help book authors use to look smart. Then he brings it down to the level of people who are actually struggling. If you don’t have the mental energy to devote to a long book full of psych-ese, F*ck Depression is one of the best self-help books for you.
And if you’d like, check out Dr. Duff’s Youtube Channel! If you’re into ASMR, he still has his old videos up. If not, he’s got hundreds of videos about psychology that are just endlessly interesting.
Badass Ways to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks by Geert Verschaeve
Out of 109 Amazon reviews, this book has a whopping ZERO one-star reviews and one single two-star review. Clearly, readers do believe this is one of the best self-help books out there right now, and here’s why I believe that is: Verschaeve begins by tackling fear of fear.
Sound silly?? It shouldn’t. In my work with clients who have panic attacks, one thing they all have in common at first is that they freak out whenever they feel a panic attack coming on. They’re so afraid of having a panic attack that they bring them on. So, the first step to tackling anxiety is tackling the fear of the fear.
There are three other main steps laid out in this book, but I’ll let you get the book and learn the rest on your own!
Unfuck Your Brain by Faith Harper, Ph.D
Looking at the Amazon reviews for this book, I’m seeing that most of the negative ones are about her off-putting language! If you’re not into the cursing, I don’t know why you’d be reading this post at all, but be wary that this one is full of it!
The idea of this book is similar to Dr. Duff’s in that it brings the scientific language down to a level that regular humans understand. It talks about the science behind mental health issues, but not in a way that makes you feel like you’re swimming in words that mean nothing. It covers a lot of PTSD and trauma-related anxiety. You can also purchase the Unfuck Your Brain Workbook to accompany it.
Unfuck Your Adulting by Faith Harper, Ph.D
Also by Faith Harper is a book about unfucking your adulting– a cause near and dear to my heart as my last blog was all about helping people be better adults. It’s not a book about how to do laundry or improve your resume. It’s about making mature decisions, carrying your own baggage, taking responsibility, and more of the tough stuff. That’s what makes it one of the f*cking best self-help books in my opinion!
How to Stop Feeling Like Shit by Andrea Owen
I really appreciate how validating this book is! Basically, it covers fourteen dysfunctional habits that people often fall into. While Owen tells you what she did to get out of them, she also reassures you that these behaviors make sense considering what you’ve been through. And I love that.
Owen does tend to do this thing where she presents age-old ideas as her own. And I’m noticing while reading the Amazon reviews that Audible customers HATE her voice in the audio book! Still, there is some value to be found here, which is why I’m including it as one of the f*cking best self-help books!
52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life by Andrea Owen
Andrea Owen’s second book is much of the same. She validates her readers quite nicely and her advice is broken up into manageable bits, which I like. Something to note about both her books though is that she is a CPCC- Certified Personal Career Coach. Not a licensed therapist. Something that tugged at my conscience about this book was that a lot of it feels like therapy, but it’s not. She is not a therapist. Still, much of her advice does help readers think about the choices they make and take responsibility, which is why I still included it on this list. Plus, of course, her chill and honest tone.
You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
I included this book for it’s potty-mouthed, scathing critique of readers’ current mindset. However, I would not call it one of our generation’s BEST self-help books. While there are some helpful bits, I’d say it’s more for people who are already doing well, but want to take it a step further. It is not for people who are struggling with mental illness, trauma, or coming from anywhere other than baseline and up.
Still, it does offer a large dose of perspective, and that feisty tone I enjoy. Her personal stories are interesting and how she got where she is today is certainly inspiring. I enjoyed it myself, but some may find her “just do it” mentality off-putting.
You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
Sincero and her team are simply marketing geniuses, and I’m putting this book in with the best-self help books because I find it inspiring that she has created such a loyal following. This sequel to You Are A Badass simply puts a monetary frame and a green cover on the exact same novel she wrote five years prior. Again, inspiring and witty, but following a “just do it” mentality that’s not practical for many readers.
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Night
A parody of the very famous book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, this book is a national bestseller about you doing you. It’s one of the best self-help books because it gives you permission to say no to things that don’t serve you. Like with Dr. Harper’s books, the rather generous use of the f-bomb can be off-putting to some, especially considering her harsh message of doing less for others. For some though, it’s part of the refreshing slap in the face the book offers.
Get Your Shit Together by Sarah Knight
The Boston Globe called this book “self-help to swear by.” Hah. Punny, Boston Globe. Get Your Shit Together is a companion to Knight’s first book. Admittedly, there’s not much non-googleable information here, but her delivery is what makes this one of the best self-help books. This one focuses on getting you off the couch, and getting your priorities in order.
Calm the Fuck Down by Sarah Knight
Knight’s third book in her No Fucks Given series is set to come out on December 31st! You can preorder it now on Amazon if you’re a big fan of her other work. I’m excited about this one because it focuses on anxiety, and how you can get back up after being knocked down by some traumatic shit.
Fuck Feelings by Michael and Sarah Bennet
Initially, I had a bit of an issue with the title of this book because, even though it’s attention-grabbing, feelings are great and important. I also think it’s a bit reductive toward readers, with lines like “you can’t expect to get this.” Of course you can get it. In fact, part of a therapist’s job is to teach in layman’s terms the things we were taught in psychobabble. If Bennet can’t expect his clients to get the concepts, I’d argue he’s simply not explaining it well enough. In that respect, I think the best thing he could have done for this book is add his daughter Sarah, a comedy writer, to his team. She’s the one that brings the concepts down to a level that readers most certainly can understand, though sometimes they come out a little black-and-white.
Fuck Love by Michael and Sarah Bennet
This is the second book by Michael and Sarah Bennet, father-daughter duo. It takes on love from the same sort of scientific standpoint as their book on feelings. Which, again, I think is a bit strong. They hate on feelings a bit too much for me. Still, I appreciate their expletive-laden idea that we put too much emphasis on well, essentially “magic” in love and not enough on what really makes a relationship work.
Let That Shit Go by Monica Sweeney
I want to mention that there are actually two self-help books with this same title. One is Let That Shit Go by Bruna Nessif, and the other is by Monica Sweeney, linked above. While both could be considered for the f*cking best self-help books, I chose Sweeney’s because I like that it’s a journal! I wanted to switch things up a bit. I’m sure you’re getting tired of reading by now. It’s awesome that it gets you involved in your own healing with witty writing activities.
Zen as Fuck by Monica Sweeney
The final book on our f*cking best self-help books tour is another journal by Monica Sweeney called Zen as Fuck. I want that written on a t-shirt. I love this journal because it makes meditation seem so much more approachable. You’re allowed to laugh as you do it! In fact, it’s part of it. It’s super refreshing and fun.