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Maximising your potential

Self-help books on Maximising your potential


There are so many popular psychology texts in the shops that it can be difficult to know where to begin. This set of book-lists was compiled by staff of the University Counselling Service to respond to those students who have asked us what they might read on this topic.

Our selection is not intended to be the 'final word' - we are sure that there are many other good and helpful books out there; in any case we recognise that what is helpful is very subjective and depends on personal circumstances.

Books are listed in alphabetical order by author. Copies of some of these books are available to borrow on a weekly basis from the University Counselling Service.


The descriptions given are intended to provide a summary of the contents but should not be taken to imply that the Counselling Service endorses the opinions expressed.

Maximising your potential

Date of information: Jan 2006, updated Feb 2010

The Habit Changing Workbook: How to Break bad Habits and Form Good Ones
James Claiborn & Cherry Pedrick, 2001 

A step-by-step workbook that provides an effective set of tools designed to break unwanted habits and replace them with new healthy ones. Includes techniques for effective change based on proven cognitive behavioral principles and the latest research.


Daring Greatly
Brene Brown, 2013

Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it neans to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation. Base on twelve years of research, Dr Brown argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection.

The Procrastinator's Guide to Getting Things Done
Monica Ramirea Basco, 2010

Expressly designed for people who want to make changes but would be easily daunted by an elaborate self-help program, this concise, motivating guide is packed with highly practical tips and suggestions. Cognitive-behavioural therapy expert Monica Ramirez Basco offers easy-to-relate-to examples from "recovering procrastinators" - including herself.

When Perfect Isn't Good Enough
M Antony & R Swinson, New Harbinger, 2009

Perfectionism becomes a problem when it interferes with completing a task, impairs relationships or otherwise interferes with life. This book explores the causes and offers cognitive behavioural strategies for overcoming it and helps to challenge unrealistic expectations.

Overcoming Anger and Irritability
William Davies, Robinson, 2009

A CBT self-help book to help you manage the way that you respond to provocation.

Just Do It Now: How to become the person you most want to be
Lynda Field, Vermillon, 2001

Just Do It Now is about how to create the reality you want, overcome obstacles and realise the powerful effects of your own thoughts. It shows how you can overcome a natural fear of change by going ahead anyway and doing whatever you would secretly love to do.

 A Life of One's Own

Marion Milner & Joanna Field, Routledge, 1986

How often do we ask ourselves, 'What will make me happy? What do I really want from life?' Marion Milner, the author of this remarkable book, first published in 1934 under the pseudonym Joanna Field, set herself to grapple with this problem. Written in the spirit of a detective story searching out clues, the reader quickly becomes involved in the chase.

The Road Less Travelled
M Scott Peck, Rider:Classic Edition, 2008

Suggests ways in which facing our difficulties might enable us to reach a higher level of personal understanding. The author discusses the nature of loving relationships: how one might recognise true compatibility, distinguish dependency from love, and become one's own person.

Isn't It About Time: How to overcome procrastination and get on with your life
Andrea Perry, Worth Publishing, 2002

Full of useful ways to overcome procrastination, and to create a more satisfying, exciting and productive life. Andrea Perry shows how to identify how you block your natural tendency to be effective and creative, and how to build on your strengths and give your tendency to procrastinate something better to do.


Life and How to Survive It
Robin Skynner & John Cleese, Hutchinson Children's Books, 1996

Seeks to act as a "map" to guide people through their everyday lives and help them retain their individuality while co-operating in joint endeavours. It also explores the nature of competition and sportsmanship, of humour in relation to health, and of change and how to except it.

Change For The Better
Elizabeth Wilde McCormick, Sage Publications Ltd, 2008

Presents an easy-to-follow programme that helps to develop insights into the old patterns that govern our choices. It shows how to identify unhelpful patterns of behaviour and how to go about changing them in a realistic way.