The most popular self-help books in the U.S.

The Most Popular Self-Help Books in Each State

Self-improvement is something we are always chasing, so we found out which self-help books were most popular in each state. Check out the results!

Self-improvement is something we are always chasing. Whether it’s working hard to get that promotion, or finding ways to create healthier habits, there is something constantly driving us to improve. It may be a desire to improve your circumstances, to improve your relationships, or simply to improve yourself, but the desire is there.

To direct this process of self-improvement, people most often turn to books. No matter the topic, you can almost guarantee that someone has written a book giving you a few easy steps to achieving any kind of transformation you’re looking for. From car maintenance to cake baking, there seems to be a self-help book for everything. With that in mind, we wanted to find out which of the thousands of self-help books out there were the most popular.

Using data from Google Trends, we were able to dissect search data, spanning from January 2019 to January 2020. We determined which books from the last decade were most popular, as well as the most popular books of all-time (the list of the books we researched with their authors can be found at the end of the post). We then broke that analysis down by state, and the results were quite interesting. Here’s what we found!

 

U.S. map showing the most popular self help books of all time by state


Looking at the most popular titles of all-time,
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne is the overwhelming winner. Proving to be the most popular book in states stretching from Montana to South Carolina, this book has clearly found the secret to success that it promises within its pages. Other notable favorites were the Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, and Heart Talk by Cleo Wade, virtually splitting the eastern U.S. states.

Bar graph outlining the most popular self help books of all time by state

Breaking it down even further, we see that The Secret is the most popular book all-time in 19 of the 50 U.S. states. This book is the winner in more states than the next 11 states combined, and most of them can only claim to be the top-seller in one state. Apparently, not all self-help books are created equal – and many Americans love Rhonda Byrne’s thoughts on the law of attraction.

U.S. map showing the most popular 2010s self help books by state

When we narrowed our search to books published in the last decade, we see a different story. The most popular book by a narrow margin was Heart Talk, owning most of the Midwest and southeast regions of the country. Close behind was Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, with an apparent following in the Western region of the country, including Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska. It sounds like the makings of a great book tour! 

Bar graph outlining the most popular 2010s self help book by state

 

The graph illustrates just how close this competition was. Unlike the all-time list that was dominated by The Secret, this list featured a more even spread of fandom despite almost half of the states favoring the top two books. Heart Talk is still squarely in the lead, but there are plenty of other titles that people are turning to for their “new year, new me” mentality.

No matter how you’re looking to improve, there’s likely a book out there that offers some advice on how to do it. If it happens to be one of the books on this list, you’ll have plenty of other people to discuss your new secrets to success with too! No matter what, remember that self-improvement is a process, and it involves much more than just turning a few pages.

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List of Search Terms:

Most Popular Self-Help Books of the 2010s 

  1. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
  2. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  3. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
  4. Grit by Angela Duckworth
  5. How Will You Measure Your Life? by Dr. Clayton M. Christensen
  6. The Gifts Of Imperfection: Let Go Of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be And Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
  7. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
  8. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  9. The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  10. The Confidence Code: The Science And Art Of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman
  11.  What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey  
  12. Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop
  13. Heart Talk by Cleo Wade
  14. 10% Happier by Dan Harris

 

Most Popular Self-Help Books of All Time

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  2. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
  3. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  4. The Road Less Traveled by M Scott Peck
  5. The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
  6. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  8. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
  9. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  10. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
  11. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
  12. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  13.  The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
  14. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
  15. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  16. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter
  17. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  18. The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
  19. Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins
  20. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson