10 Best Self-Discovery Books to Gain a Sense of Direction

Jordan Tarver
March 13, 2024

Self-discovery—or the process of finding yourself—can help you gain a sense of direction and lead you toward your best version. However, this can be an understandably challenging journey, which makes resources like books on self-discovery an essential part of the process. You'll find an array of books: from non-fiction and fiction to short and long reads.

The 10 best self-discovery books are:

  1. You Deserve This Sh!tBest for finding your path and getting unstuck
  2. The AlchemistBest for fiction lovers
  3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ckBest for living a good, happy life
  4. QuietBest for introverts
  5. RelentlessBest for uncovering your mental and physical dominance
  6. The War of ArtBest for entrepreneurs and creatives
  7. Eat, Pray, LoveBest for travel enthusiasts
  8. The Surrender ExperimentBest for people who struggle with letting go
  9. The Untethered SoulBest for spiritually-driven people
  10. The Gifts of ImperfectionBest for overcoming paralyzing fear

1. You Deserve This Sh!t

I almost died eight years ago, and that experience inspired me to write this self-discovery book—You Deserve This Sh!t. Since then, I've been dedicated to living a life infused with meaning and empowering others to do the same. This book is designed to help you get unstuck, find your path, and become the best version of yourself.

In this 211-page authentic book on self-discovery, I give you a simple framework to follow to help you find yourself. You'll learn about the three pillars of self-discovery—awareness, comfort zones, and intentional living—and how they can transform your life. Snag your copy below. You deserve it.

2. The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a fictional self-discovery book that's flooded with spiritual wisdom and golden nuggets. This is a perfect read for fiction lovers who are looking for the life advice many non-fiction books provide but who don't want to read non-fiction.

This book is short but impactful—coming in at 208 pages. It's a self-discovery book you'll surely find yourself re-reading. Every time you read it, you'll find new lessons that will create positive transformation on your journey of self-discovery.

3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson is the latest self-help book superstar—selling over 10 million copies. Manson gives "a counterintuitive approach to living a good life" and uses a unique but captivating writing style. His goal is to teach you how to stop trying to be positive all the time so you can become a better, happier person—very counterintuitive.

Throughout the 224 pages, Manson uses academic research and years of personal experience to bring you a suite of actionable lessons to help you find yourself. Snag this book on self-discovery if you are open to a humor and profanity.

4. Quiet

Quiet by Susan Cain is a New York Times bestseller that explores the power of introverts. In this book about self-discovery, Cain coined the Quiet Movement and changed how people view introverts—and how introverts see themselves—by offering validation, inclusion, and inspiration.

If you see yourself as an introvert, this self-discovery novel may help you discover your power within that characteristic and understand the opportunity you have being introverted. You may not feel this now, but after leafing through all 368 pages, you'll have a strong grasp of the unique quality you hold.

5. Relentless

Relentless by Tim Grover is a self-discovery book about uncovering your capabilities and potential. Kobe Bryant said, "This book is the blueprint for discovering what you're capable of achieving, getting results you never imagined, [and] reaching the highest level of success." After spending years working with the highest-performing athletes like Kobe and Michael Jordan, Grover reveals what it takes to achieve mental and physical dominance in 256 pages.

Sports enthusiasts and athletes will have a hard time putting this self-exploration book down. Snag a copy of Relentless if you're ready to discover your relentlessness.


6. The War of Art

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is designed for entrepreneurs and creatives looking to overcome their internal battles. This book about self-discovery will help you uncover the professional within yourself, helping you put out work in the world you dream of creating.

While not your traditional self-discovery novel, this 190-page quick read will guide you toward understanding your creative power and give you the tools to rise above your creative blocks. If you crave becoming a professional creative or entrepreneur, this book is for you.

Get your copy

7. Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert follows her travels through Italy, India, and Indonesia as she searches for her true self. This iconic 400-page novel about self-discovery will inspire you to search for the best version of yourself. While you may feel intimidated at first to go on a similar expedition, you'll learn you can find your best self in simpler ways.

Millions of people in all walks of life have read Gilbert's work and been inspired to explore their own journey of self-discovery. If you're looking for an inspiring true story to stoke your self-discovery fire, add this book to your reading list.

8. The Surrender Experiment

The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer is an eye-opening true-life story about what happens when you let go—something maybe you struggle with. This was the first of many self-discovery books I read and one I recommend to everyone.

Singer takes you on a journey of what happened when he chose to let go of this personal preferences and simply "let life call the shots.," as he calls it. His story will challenge you to shift the way you look at your life, leading to a crucial step on your journey of finding yourself. This 272-page self-discovery novel gave me a sense of direction, and it can do the same for you, too.

9. The Untethered Soul

The Untethered Soul is another self-discovery novel by Michael A. Singer. Throughout these 200 pages, Singer guides you through the path of spiritual consciousness and introduces you to an entirely new dimension of thought. You'll learn how you can separate from your ego, embrace your inner energy, grow into your best version, and gracefully float through life.

If you're ready to start your spiritual awakening or want to dive deeper into your spiritual journey, this book has your name written all over. Snag your copy below and have your mind opened up.

10. The Gifts of Imperfection

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown is a self-discovery book designed to help you "let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are." In a world filled with judgment, it's easy to base your character on who other people think you should be; however, leading that type of life won't move you closer to your most authentic self.

If you're ready to break free of who others or society want you to become, pick up this 160-page New York Times bestseller and be on your way to a rejuvenated life.


Best Books on Self-Discovery Summary

Book Title Author Genre Page Count
You Deserve This Sh!t Jordan Tarver Non-fiction 211
The Alchemist Paulo Coelho Fiction 208
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck​ Mark Manson Non-fiction 224
Quiet Susan Cain Non-fiction 368
Relentless Tim Grover Non-fiction 256
The War of Art Steven Pressfield Non-fiction 190
Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert Non-fiction 400
The Surrender Experiment Michael A. Singer Non-fiction 272
The Untethered Soul Michael A. Singer Non-fiction 200
The Gifts of Imperfection Brené Brown Non-fiction 160

Bottom Line

There are millions of books out there for you to read, but these books on self-discovery will help you find yourself and design a life you're proud of. Self-discovery is an ongoing journey, so start with the one book that shouts your name, and then come back to this article to pick your next. The pages are waiting to give you a sense of direction.


Jordan Tarver is a lead editor at Forbes, a keynote speaker, and the bestselling author of You Deserve This Sh!t.
He’s transformed over 30,000 lives through his book, amassed more than 200,000 devoted followers, and garnered over 60 million views online. Jordan is on a mission to empower people and organizations to unlock exponential growth and expansive possibilities.

Expand Your Mind
& Choose Change