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  1. Blog
  2. Reading
  3. December 14, 2021

17 Bestselling Books on Confidence to Boost Self-Worth & Change Your Mindset

Another reading list? What a novel idea

Books on confidence
Photo courtesy of Thought Catalog

Ever wanted to voice an idea in a meeting but kept silent due to nerves? Wanted to ask for a raise but you doubted if your accomplishments warranted one? Wanted to convey your expertise during a team presentation but could only focus on your clammy hands? You might be struggling with confidence.

Research shows that women especially struggle with confidence early in their careers and more recent surveys reveal that women are less likely to promote themselves compared to men. Luckily, confidence is a skill that can be learned and practiced, and these books on confidence will surely help you start on the right path. Start working your way through the list below in order to become more self-aware, self-assured, and bold.

Read more: 33 Encouraging Quotes to Inspire Confidence and Growth

Best books on confidence written by famous leaders and authors

Book on confidence #1: The Gifts of Imperfection — Brene Brown

In this New York Times bestseller, research professor, podcast host, and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown explains how to cultivate positive self-esteem and self-worth. Through original research and storytelling, Brown explores the psychology of living authentically and embracing an “imperfect life.” Plus, Forbes recently named it one of the "Five Books That Will Actually Change Your Outlook On Life." 

Read more: 11 Remarkable Traits of People with Positive Self-Perception

Book on confidence #2: Untamed — Glennon Doyle

We saw this book on every quarantine reading list and in every little neighborhood library. Simply put, this intimate memoir is about abandoning expectations and forging your own unique path through life. Doyle tells her personal story of navigating divorce, forming a blended family, and realizing that not all family structures look alike. In the book, you’ll learn how to set boundaries, make peace with your body, grow from heartbreak, and much more.

Book on confidence #3: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear — Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and City of Girls, strikes another homerun with this book on confidence for creatives. Gilbert shares her wisdom and perspective on creativity and inspiration, discussing the attitudes and habits we should harbor in order to live our most creative lives. With an uplifting tone, Gilbert encourages her readers to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within them and use their passions to follow their dreams without fear.

Book on confidence #4: What I Know For Sure — Oprah Winfrey

It’s no doubt that Oprah Winfrey is a confident woman—her widespread influence and success certainly backs up the notion. Through essays organized by themes like joy, resilience, gratitude, possibility, and power, Winfrey shares the lessons she’s learned throughout her life and career, in addition to advice on how you can become your best self. 

Book on confidence #5: The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me — Keah Brown

Written by disability rights activist Keah Brown, this book explores disability and self-love in an able-bodied society through a personal collection of essays. Brown’s essays cover everything from her relationship with her able-bodied identical twin (referred to as “the pretty one”) to the creation of her viral hashtag #DisabledAndCute. It’s the ultimate read in order to instill confidence, eradicate stigmas, and celebrate your authentic self.  

Book on confidence #6: More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) — Elaine Welteroth

This is a heartening memoir by Elaine Welteroth, who was, at 29, the youngest editor-in-chief in Condé Nast’s 107-year-old history and the second Black person to ever secure the title at Teen Vogue. Welteroth writes about often being the only Black woman in the room and details how she found herself on her own terms and learned that she was more than enough, just the way she was. 

Book on confidence #7: Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person — Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is the powerhouse producer of hit televisions shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder. But Rhimes is an introvert and realized that she almost always preferred to say “no” to opportunities out of fear. Her sister subsequently laid out a challenge: Rhimes was to say “yes” to every random little opportunity for a year and see what happened. This book chronicles how saying yes to every speaking opportunity and media appearance changed every aspect of her life, especially her confidence. 

Read more: 18 Powerful Shonda Rhimes Quotes to Live By

Best books on confidence for those struggling with imposter syndrome

Book on confidence #8: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life — Jen Sincero

In this hilarious and painfully truthful book, bestselling author and world-traveling success coach Jen Sincero gives readers 27 little chapters organized into five parts that offer inspiring stories, advice, and exercises to help you identify any self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors you have that stop you from living your best life. It’s the perfect pocket guide on self-improvement.

Book on confidence #9: The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It — Valerie Young

Research suggests that around 70 percent of adults experience impostor syndrome at least once in their lifetime, and women more so than men. Author and speaker Valerie Young has dedicated her career to understanding why these fears are more common in women and how they can recognize the effects on their lives and successes. In the book, Young reveals the hidden reasons women experience this self-doubt through decades of research.

Read more: 15 Ways to Crush Self-Doubt at Work

Book on confidence #10: Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals — Rachel Hollis

After reading this book, you’ll never again miss out on an opportunity due to the fear of embarrassment, not being perfect, or not living up to others’ expectations. Author Rachel Hollis advises readers to stop defining themselves in terms of what they are to others (a mother, sister, employee, etc.) and figure out who they are on their own in order to achieve their goals. And once you finish reading this masterpiece, there’s a workbook to go along with it

Read more: Why (and How) I Stopped Apologizing at Work

Book on confidence #11: How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t — Andrea Owen

Life coach Andrea Owen does not sugarcoat the truth about self-destructive behavior in this self-improvement guidebook. In bite-sized chapters, Owen discusses impostor syndrome, people-pleasing, negative self-talk, and other behaviors that women often engage in—sometimes without even knowing it. Once you put down this book, you’ll understand the motivations behind your impulses and feel empowered enough to kick any negative habits to the curb. 

Read more: The Art of Positive Self-Talk: How to Shift Your Thinking & Build Resilience

Book on confidence #12: Confidence Hacks: 99 Small Actions to Massively Boost Your Confidence — Barrie Davenport

Author Barrie Davenport offers readers 99 tips in 10 key areas: relationships, social life, career, communication, appearance, self-improvement, body language, thinking, fun and adventure, and finances. If you abide by these small actions, you’ll be able to rebuild your confidence over time and feel comfortable asking for a raise, standing up for yourself, and voicing your opinions and ideas. 

Book on confidence #13: Over The Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love — Jonathan Van Ness

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll most definitely learn how to love yourself for exactly who you are. In this emotional memoir, Queer Eye star and self-love beacon Jonathan Van Ness writes about growing up gay, transforming pain into positivity, and both accepting and embracing what makes you different. 

Best books on confidence based on research and data

Book on confidence #14: The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt — Russ Harris

Whether it’s a big presentation, a resignation meeting, or even a date, there will always be events in our lives that have the ability to cause us stress, fear, and feelings of insecurity. Drawing a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), author Russ Harris teaches readers how to embrace their fears and anxieties and use mindfulness to overcome negative thoughts. 

Read more: How to Tell Your Boss You’re Quitting

Book on confidence #15: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway — Dr. Susan Jeffers

Susan Jeffers collected her years of research on transforming fear, indecision, and anger into power, action, and confidence for this informative book. Learn how to say ‘yes’ more often, how to boost your confidence, and how to let go of negative thought processes. 

Read more: The 6 Thought Processes & How to Maximize Them

Book on confidence #16: Wire Your Brain for Confidence: The Science of Conquering Self-Doubt — Louisa Jewell

Courage is an extremely helpful trait in the workplace. In this confidence-building guide, positive psychology expert Louisa Jewell shares stories, exercises, questions for reflection, and techniques, all to increase your courage and confidence. Fear be gone!

Book on confidence #17: Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges — Amy Cuddy

In this New York Times bestseller, Harvard professor and power pose proponent Amy Cuddy argues that if we can achieve a state of "presence," we can stop worrying about the impression we're making on others and liberate ourselves from the fear that comes along with high-pressure moments and challenges. The book is full of tips, research, and stories of individuals who learned how to tackle stressful moments with a calm confidence.

Read more: 50 Risk-Taking Quotes to Inspire Growth & Confidence

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