Top 14 Self-Development Books by Non-US Authors You Can Read Right Now

What are self development books?

Self development books are a great way to improve our knowledge and skills as they provide new ideas and strategies. Sometimes we’re stuck in situations and can’t find a way out because our perspective limits us.

Books on self-development can help us broaden our perspectives to see situations, relationships, and personal goals from different points of view. Self-help books also improve mental and emotional well-being as they assist us in understanding our thought processes and behaviors, which is essential for personal growth and transformation.

Experts who write self development books are experienced in their respective fields or by individuals who have achieved success in their own lives and want to share their experiences with people so they can also focus on achieving goals.

Why should you read self development books?

As a self development book reader, you can learn about yourself and the world around you. You can learn new skills, change unhelpful thought patterns, set and accomplish personal objectives, and eliminate negative thought patterns by learning from the experiences of accomplished people.

Reading self-development books can also inspire and motivate a person to achieve a lot more by making them realize their true potential, as reading self help books help in active coping with different situations in life.

self development books

Pick self development books by non-US authors

Self development is a popular genre in the US and a $10+ billion dollar industry. It’s no surprise that a country with a can-do mentality and the American Dream would sell books to improve your life and business.

And although my advice isn’t to ignore the American must-read self development books, it’s essential to realize that they revolve around the ‘American Experience.’

It can be very helpful to learn from American entrepreneurs, their mindset, and how to do business with the United States, but it offers a one-sided view.

Moreover, with 15,000 self-help books published in the United States each year, one could ask himself if these books are helpful or self-branded success stories that sell unachievable dreams if you don’t have the same resources.

So, to truly improve your life, I selected 14 fantastic self development books around business, finance, relationship, personal development, and spirituality. These books shaped me as a person and have a more holistic approach. Moreover, they’re from different countries and will give you a new and more varied perspective.

Top 14 International Self Development Authors and Books

self development books

1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (Japan)

Author: Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo is a Japanese author. She became famous because of her KonMari method, a decluttering and organizing technique that gives importance to tidying up by categories and only keeping items and doing things that bring joy. Kondo introduced the KonMari method in her bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

She has since written several other books that revolve around the KonMari method, featured on her own Netflix series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” Kondo is praised for her approach to organizing tasks simply and effectively.

Book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying (on Amazon)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up came out in 2011 in Japanese and later appeared in many other languages. The book’s central theme revolves around decluttering and organizing the home for a more peaceful and fulfilling living space. After all, home is where we yearn to go back, no matter where we are.

She also discusses keeping items and doing activities that bring joy and fulfillment. The activity is called KonMari Method, which has become a recognized method for organizing and decluttering.

2. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (Germany)

Author: Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle is a German-born author and speaker. His famous book, “The Power of Now,” was on New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into more than 30 languages. Tolle’s teachings and writings are popular with people of all backgrounds as they are easy on the readers without putting any stress or urgency. He is praised for his ability to help readers find inner peace and happiness.

Book: The Power of Now (on Amazon)

The Power of Now was published in 1997 and has seen many printed editions since then. The book builds on the fact that human misery results from an obsession with the mind and the never-ending stream of thoughts it keeps on pouring. Tolle argues that the mind-made ego creates a false sense of self and overcoming that ego can help be present in the moment, which is the only way to experience happiness and peace. In the concluding chapters, he lays out mindfulness and meditation techniques to help the readers achieve mindfulness.

self development books

3. Factfulness by Hans Rosling (Sweden)

Author: Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling was a Swedish physician academic famous for his innovative and engaging global health and development talks. He co-founded the Gapminder Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes a fact-based worldview that uses data visualization. Rosling could communicate complex ideas and data clearly and engagingly.

Book: Factfulness Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World (On Amazon)

Rosling believed that people view the world in pessimistic and dystopian terms, which he is incorrect. To proof this, he offers ten reasons people are wrong about the world and backs his argument with evidence. For that, Rosling collected data from international surveys. Although the book is based on data and statistics, Rosling is a master at telling in a fun and easy way to make it an engaging reading and should be on your list of books to read in 2023.

The book was published posthumously in 2018 as Hans Rosling died of pancreatic cancer in 2017.

4. Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman (Netherlands)

Author: Rutger Bregman

Rutger Bregman is a famous Dutch historian and author of four books. In his books, he covers broad topics such as history, philosophy, and economics. His books Utopia for Realists and Humankind were both New York Times bestsellers and have been translated into more than 40 languages. Bregman has been nominated twice for the prestigious European Press Prize for his books.

Book: Utopia for Realists (On Amazon)

The book, published in 2017, argues for three utopian policies: Universal Basic Income (UBI), open borders, and a 15-hour workweek. Bregman argues that Universal Basic Income can provide a safety net for all citizens while open borders would allow for greater global economic opportunity and cultural exchange. He backs the shorter workweek policy with the argument that it will lead to a more work-life balance, eventually giving more time for leisure. Bregman didn’t provide these ideas out of thin air. He provided historical perspectives and logic to support his policy for measurable results.

5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (Austria)

Author: Viktor E. Frankl

Viktor E. Frankl was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor. Frankl developed the theory of logotherapy, which posits that the primary drive in human beings is the search for meaning and purpose in life.

Book: Man’s Search for Meaning (On Amazon)

Viktor E. Frankl wrote man’s Search for Meaning. The book tells the personal life story of Frankl about how he used his experiences to develop the theory of logotherapy, which is based on the idea that human beings are driven by the primary drive to search for meaning and purpose in life. Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering, but we can choose how to deal with it, find meaning, and move forward with a meaningful purpose.

self development books

6. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (Mexico)

Author: Don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz is a Mexican author who was born in Mexico. He has written books that bank on gaining wisdom and bringing change in personal life through spirituality. His teaching and writings are based on Toltec wisdom.

Book: The Four Agreements (On Amazon)

The Four Agreements is a top self development book by Don Miguel Ruiz. The book presents four principles or agreements necessary for personal freedom and transformation. Those four principles or agreements are: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best.

7. The Time of the Black Jaguar by Arkan Lushwala (Peru)

Author: Arkan Lushwala

Arkan is a Peruvian ceremonial leader. Arkan has written two books. The Time of The Black Jaguar: An Offering of Indigenous Wisdom for the Continuity of Life on Earth and recently, Deer and Thunder: Indigenous Ways of Restoring the World. In his books, he explores the indigenous ways to restore the world.

Book: The Time of the Black Jaguar (Amazon | Book Review)

The book discusses how we can build healthy relationships, reduce stress and tackle climate change. The author believes in the dictum that- the more we give, the more we receive. Moreover, he believes humans will have to disassociate themselves from violence if we want to make the planet peaceful. After all, violence breeds violence. His argument is that man and community are both intertwined. No one can live without the other. Hyperindividualism is what destroys the sense of community. 

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self development books

8. Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel (Belgium)

Author: Esther Perel

Esther Perel is a Belgian psychotherapist and relationship expert. Her work discusses modern relationships and sexual desire. She has written several books about the topics. The most famous include “Mating in Captivity” and “The State of Affairs.” Perel is a popular guest speaker who regularly talks about love, intimacy, and modern relationships. She is known for promoting the concept of “erotic intelligence” in her book Mating in captivity.

Book: Mating in Captivity (On Amazon)

The book discusses problems that relationships face when maintaining intimacy and sexual desire in long-term commitments. As per the writer, many couples struggle to reconcile their relationships’ conflicting desires for security and adventure. She gives way to finding a desire for passionate connection over the long term. The book is widely praised for its insightful self-help examination of relationships and human sexuality.

9. Once I was you by Maria Hinojosa (Mexico)

Author: Maria Hinojosa

Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning journalist and the first Latina anchor of a national English-language news program in the United States. Through her journalism and writings, she has highlighted Latino community issues and has been a vocal advocate for diversity and representation.

Book: Once I Was You (On Amazon)

“Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America” is a book by Maria Hinojosa and was published in 2019. The book can be taken as the best self-help book to read as it is an inspiring story of a woman coming from Latin America and how she made it. It covers her journey as a pioneering Latina journalist and her challenges as a woman of color in a predominantly white-male industry.

10. Business & Life Lessons by Vusi Thembekwayo (South Africa)

Author: Vusi Thembekwayo

Vusi Thembekwayo is a South African motivational speaker and entrepreneur whose story and writings inspire many worldwide. He is known for his speeches and seminars on leadership, business strategy, and personal development.

Book: Business & Life Lessons from a Black Dragon (On Amazon)

Business & Life Lessons from a BlackDragon is a book by Vusi Thembekwayo. He shares his personal story and the lessons he has learned from his experiences as a successful entrepreneur and business leader.

The book is based on the idea that, like a dragon, business leaders must be fierce, resilient, and adaptable to succeed. It covers leadership, strategy, personal development, and creating a solid corporate culture. Suppose you are interested in business and want to read some books about succeeding. This book should be one of your best self development books to read in 2023.

11. Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani (Malaysia)

Author: Vishen Lakhiani

Vishen Lakhiani is a Malaysian entrepreneur, author, and speaker. He became a meditation speaker and author when stressed about a new startup in Silicon Valley. The result of the mediation was Mindvalley, a company he founded to offer online personal growth courses, workshops, and events.

Lakhiani is known for his teachings on conscious leadership, mindfulness, and personal growth. Lakhiani is the author of The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, besides the other three books, with the last one published in 2022.

Book: The Code of the Extraordinary Mind (On Amazon)

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind is the first book by Vishen Lakhiani, published in 2016. The author discusses 10 unconventional laws that challenge the reader’s conventional thinking and then provides a roadmap for personal growth and success. The unconventional laws ask the reader to rethink reality, rewrite beliefs, and transcend identity. After all, our limited beliefs and societal norms are the very reason that limits our success and happiness. A must-have self help book on your shelf if you want to live a more fulfilling life. You can read more about how you can set goals for yourself here.

12. Happy Money by Ken Honda (Japan)

Author: Ken Honda

Ken Honda is a Japanese author, speaker, and businessman. His writings and teachings are of the idea that money should be used to bring happiness and fulfillment rather than being an end in itself. He has shared his thoughts on personal finance, money management, and mindful spending through books and seminars for people looking for self-development.

Book: Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money (On Amazon)

Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money is a book on self development that discusses money and how it can bring happiness and fulfillment. The book is based on the idea that to have a healthy relationship with money; we should not see money as an end.

Honda suggests that by understanding the role of money in our lives and learning to use it mindfully, we can achieve true financial well-being and happiness. The book includes practical tips and strategies for saving, investing, and spending money that align with our values and goals.

13. The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down By Haemin Sunim (South Korea)

Author: Haemin Sunim

Haemin Sunim is a South Korean Zen monk, teacher, and author of multiple self help books. He is known for his mindfulness, self-care, and emotional intelligence teachings.

Book: The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World (On Amazon)

The book is written to help the readers slow down, find inner peace, and develop greater emotional intelligence in a fast-paced and busy world. It offers practical advice and guidance on cultivating mindfulness, self-care, and emotional intelligence to live a fulfilling life. The book is divided into chapters that cover different aspects of mindfulness, such as dealing with stress, relationships, and emotions.

14. The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape (Australia)

Author: Scott Pape

Scott Pape is an Australian financial advisor and author. Pape’s writings are based on the idea that anyone can achieve financial security and success, regardless of income level or background, by following simple tips and easy-to-understand principles.

Book: The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need (On Amazon)

The book instantly became a bestseller in Australia and many other countries around the world. The book is a personal finance guide that provides simple, practical advice on how to take control of your finances, invest wisely, and achieve financial freedom. If you are someone who is conscious about self development in finance, then you should read this book.


Why not add some self development books to your 2023 reading list? But instead of the usual suspects, choose something different this year. Pick a few international writers with different perspectives who share their experiences and wisdom with different visions.

There are a lot of self help books to improve yourself, but eventually, it’s a matter of choice. So pick wisely this year, and hopefully, this selection of self development authors will ease your decision-making process.

The Cultural Reads Newsletter

For more articles around self development, check out How to Create Your Dream Life, How to do a New Year’s Review, and Life Lessons from my 20s.

Also, try these Kenyan and Nigerian books.

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