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Self-help books on Confidence, Self-Esteem & Assertiveness


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.

Confidence, Self-Esteem & Assertiveness

Date of information: Sept 2013

Assertiveness at Work: a practical guide to handling awkward situations

Ken & Kate Back, McGraw-Hill, 2005

A self-training book designed to meet manager's needs for work situation applications. It provides practical suggestions for developing assertiveness in a range of familiar situations, in a way that minimises conflict and stress.

Overcoming Social Anxiety & Shyness

Gillian Butler, Robinson, 2009

A CBT self-help book describing techniques to help you to overcome your social anxiety and shyness.

Overcoming Social Anxiety & Shyness: Self-Help Course
Gillian Butler, Robinson, 2007

A three-part CBT self-help programme to help you overcome your social anxiety and shyness.

A Woman In Your Own Right: Assertiveness and You
Anne Dickson, Quartet, Revised Edition 2013

Dickson defines assertiveness as the art of clear, honest and direct communication. An assertive approach builds self-esteem and strengthens our ability to make our own choices in life, by helping us to manage the anxiety and stress of communicating in difficult situations.

Overcoming Low Self-Esteem
Melanie Fennel, Robinson, 2009

A CBT self-help book describing techniques to help you to overcome your low self-esteem.

Overcoming Low Self-Esteem: Self-Help Course
Melanie Fennel, Robinson, 2006

A three-part CBT self-help programme to help you overcome your low self-esteem.


Gael Lindenfield, Harper Collins, 2000

This book seeks to provide a practical program aimed at making the reader feel more energised and self-reliant.

Managing Anger
Gael Lindenfield, Harper Collins, 2000

Anger can be a dangerous force. It can lead to destructiveness, violence, bitterness, misery and guilt. Lindenfield seeks to explain the effects of anger on our minds and bodies, and suggests ways of dealing both with our own anger and that of other people.

Assert Yourself
Gael Lindenfield, Harper Collins, 2001

Aims to show readers how to improve their self-esteem and motivation, cope with unfair criticism and exploitation, and set goals for themselves.

A Guide to Compassionate Assertiveness: How to Express Your Needs and Deal with Conflict While Keeping a Kind Heart
Sherrie Mansfield Vavrichek, 2012

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based assertiveness training and Buddhist psychology helps the reader practice assertiveness skills while caring about the welfare of others. The book helps readers develop a form of assertiveness that emphasizes collaboration, negotiation, and compromise. 

How to be Assertive in any Situation
Sue Hadfield & Gill Hasson, 2010

The book includes real-life examples and motivating scenarios that will show you how to make your voice heard. It includes techniques to make sure your opinions are always respected and to deal confidently and effectively with other people. 

Overcoming Anger and Irritability
Dr William Davies, 2009

A self-help manual for those struggling with almost constant irritabillity and flashes of bad temper. The book helps the reader understand why such behaviour occurs and what can be done to prevent it.

The Compassionate Mind Approach to Building Self-Confidence
Series Editor, Paul Gilbert, 2012

Helps the reader to recognize self-critical behavior and to understand the impact it may be having on their life. Based on Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), the reader will learn techniques to help them to improve their self-confidence and fulfill their goals and aspirations.