Self-Help Books

On this page, you can find our collection of Self-Help books. All members are welcome to borrow one of these books (note: €10,- deposit). This is an initiative to support and promote personal development as well as student well-being among our members.

Did you find something you like? You can find the books in the POLIS room during opening hours!

Lean In

Sheryl Sandberg

“This book was super insightful and empowering.”

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Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" is an insightful and empowering book that challenges readers to rethink gender roles and the workplace. With personal anecdotes and research-based evidence, Sandberg argues that women can achieve greater success and satisfaction in their careers by being more assertive, taking risks, and pursuing leadership positions. While some may criticize Sandberg's approach for being too individualistic, her message is ultimately one of empowerment and encouragement. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in women's rights and career advancement should read "Lean In" and consider its ideas.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Mark Manson

“A book that tries to teach us to only look at the essential things in life.”

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‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ is a self-help book that tries to teach us to only look at the essential things in life. The author explains that most things are simply not worth it to care about/give a f*ck about. If you drop the useless things in life, you will become happier and more positive overall. It is a great book to help you realize what is worth your time. In the dynamic world we live in today, it is important to take a step back and have a clear understanding of what is important to you. The book might seem a bit extreme at first, but you get used to this. You might think it is selfless to not care about anything, but you will come to the realization this will truly benefit you. 

Deep Work

Cal Newport

“Deep work will provide new knowledge and perspectives.”

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This book is a combination of a self-help book and a study book. Newport gives a lot of information about the term ‘Deep Work’. ‘Deep Work’ is a term invented by Newport and means ‘the need for concentrated work in order to achieve maximum performance, a skill that we have slowly lost’. In today's dynamic environment, you get distracted and cannot get into the deep work that will provide better new knowledge and perspectives. The book was full of great tips and information about how to get into a deep work setting. There were not as many anecdotes as in previous books I read. It was mostly the author’s own experience with writing peer reviews in a year. These were a bit boring and it looked like he was bragging about how much work he could do in a year. Overall it is an interesting book, where you learn many things about deep work.

How To Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie

“Accessible and helps expand your knowledge about human behavior.”

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‘How To Win Friends and Influence People’ is a self-help book mostly about dealing with people and making yourself more likable. The book is divided in three parts with each its own chapters. The chapters begin with an anecdote and end with a lesson. Most lessons are not that complicated but it is good to realize some psychological tricks. One example is that people like talking about themselves. If you have a whole conversation with someone about her- or himself, the conversation will probably be positively rated. If you only talk about yourself, the other person will most likely rate the conversation more negatively. This is one example where, if you can make a small change in your behavior during conversations, you can win more friends. I would recommend this book because you will recognize many examples and anecdotes. The tips and lessons are really accessible and help expand your knowledge about human behavior.

Atomic Habits

James Clear

“A must-read for anyone looking to improve their life through better habits.”

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I highly recommend the book "Atomic Habits" by James Clear. This self-help book provides a comprehensive and practical guide to forming habits that stick. The author presents a clear and simple framework for understanding how habits work and how to build good ones, while breaking down bad ones. The focus is on making small, incremental changes that add up over time to produce remarkable results. The book also explores the science behind habit formation and offers actionable advice on how to overcome common obstacles that arise when trying to make changes. Overall, "Atomic Habits" is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their life through better habits. Whether you're trying to get in shape, be more productive, or simply be happier, this book provides the tools you need to succeed.

De Meeste Mensen Deugen Niet

Rutger Bregman

“This book rewrites history and sheds light on our future.”

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‘De Meeste Mensen Deugen’ is not a typical self-help book. This book sheds light on the good side of people. We are taught that human beings are, by nature, selfish and governed by self-interest. Rutger Bregman makes a new argument about humankind. He argues that it is realistic, as well as revolutionary, to assume that people are good. He believes that thinking the worst of others brings out the worst in politics and economics too. He takes us on a journey through history and provides new answers to old questions. Why did our species in particular conquer the earth? How do we explain our greatest crimes? 

This book was a big game-changer for me. I greatly recommend this book to anyone who likes to know more about our history and wants to read something uplifting. This book not only rewrites history, but it also sheds light on our future.

Status Anxiety

Alain de Botton

“This book is thought-provoking and entertaining.”

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‘Status Anxiety’ is a self-help book about how to deal with our universal fear of failure and how we might change this. ‘Status Anxiety’ is a hunger that can be beneficial or can cause sorrow. It will all depend on your own approach. The author defines ‘Status Anxiety’ as a ‘worry that we are in danger of failing to conform to the ideals of success laid down by our own society and that we may, as a result, be stripped of dignity and respect; a worry that we are currently occupying too modest a rung or are about to fall to a lower one’. In this book, five causes of status anxiety and five ways to overcome them are described. This is a book that is not only thought-provoking and entertaining, but genuinely helpful and wise as well.

Watch an informative video

We have hand-selected some great videos for you to watch and learn from!

TED Talk : How great leaders inspire action

"People don't buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it"

TED Talk : How to get your brain to FOCUS

Me: "I should focus on my assignments."
*sees video on how to focus*
Me: "Oooooooh"

Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban

"Who is procrastinating by watching this video right now?"

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