At PEDESTRIAN.TV, we independently choose and write about stuff we love and think you’ll froth too. We have affiliate partnerships so we might get a bit of money from any purchase you make based on our recs, cool? Cool. FYI - prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

I’m a big believer of being cruel to be kind, even when it comes to self-help books. And I absolutely challenge you to say that without breaking out in song — preferably the Letters To Cleo version from 10 Things I Hate About You. But either way.

Harsh truths are sometimes the only way to move forward, especially if you’re the kinda person who turns your nose up at optimism, which is 11/10 absolutely not me. I love positivity and rainbows and sugarcoated truths.


That being said, here are some self-help books that spoke to my dark soul and, ironically enough, created some positive change in my life.

1. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Chris Hemsworth (@chrishemsworth) on

Who wants to give fucks? Not me! And what better way to learn that way of life than via an author who’s not only on-point but profane; conversational yet convincing.

I, personally, was hooked from beginning to end and loved the case studies like that of Ringo Starr’s predecessor, Pete Best. How do you ever stop giving a fuck that someone replaced you and went on to make serious bank and worldwide fame? Read the book to find out, and then transfer that mentality to your own life.

2. You’re Not That Great (But Neither Is Anybody Else)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by elan gale (@theyearofelan) on

I hadn’t heard of Elan Gale before I read this but my god am I glad that I did. He’s got a very you-were-thinking-it way with words and frankly unparalleled Mario Bros life analogies that hit far too close to home.

The Bachelor US’ executive producer teaches us all how to harness negative energy for the better in this easily digestible read, kicking feelings of being content and satisfied in the tits. He also shits all over sayings like “everything happens for a reason”, which is a beautiful thing to hear when you’ve had a family member pass away from cancer. I’m into it and want him to bring out another book immediately.

3. He’s Just Not That Into You

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mag Ambroszkiewicz (@ambroszkiewiczamber) on

You know this one! You know this one! Well, you know the movie based on the self-help book’s teachings, so not quite, but you’re going to get a similar tough-love vibe with this book – not the best option for the Charlottes of your friendship circle.

Prepare yourself to comprehend that if someone isn’t calling you back, it’s not because they’re going for some sort of hard-to-get thing, they just don’t want to talk to you. Ouch. But beneficial for your dating mentality, no? Isn’t what we want for people to stop playing games? How nice to find out they were (probably) never playing them.

4. Willpower Doesn’t Work

I haven’t personally read this one, I’ll admit, but the recommendation from Feastively‘s Harry Sekhon is hard to ignore.

“It initially came across as a punch to the face because it went against everything I had been taught so far. Everything I knew about achieving goals, becoming a better person and living a purposeful life went down the drain,” he explained of the Benjamin Hardy book.

Since reading he’s quit smoking, started a morning journal and made a series of small but impactful changes in his life (like using a particular chair in the aim of reading quicker) for increased productivity and motivation. “All of these changes have come about as a result of following through on that book,” he said.

Colour me intrigued.

Image: Instagram / @chrishemsworth