13 Books on How to Not Be a Terrible Person

Many will thumb their noses at straight-up self-help books—and yet, like me, they still need a lot of guidance on how to not be a total jerk in this world. For my dear, dear friends such as this, I’ve collected some of my favorite books that may advise in that arena.

Works Well with Others
by Ross McCammon

Here’s a helpful book on how to not be a terrible person at work—I swear I’m working on it, my dear colleagues, please have patience! This brilliant, honest, and funny career guide details everything you need to know about being nice, getting sh*t done, and advancing your career.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed
by Jon Ronson

Swarms of anonymous reputation assassins are ready and waiting to ruin your life—thanks, Twitter! SO YOU’VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED examines how modern public shaming can be a form of social control, where punishments often outweigh the crimes, and where there are (ironically) no consequences for anonymous commenters.

F*ck Feelings
by Michael Bennett, MD and Sarah Bennett

In a nutshell, F*CK FEELINGS teaches you that if you can maintain a sense of humor, adjust your expectations, and let go of unproductive feelings, you can get through life all right. Added bonus? The book begins: “Given life’s cruelty and unfairness, F*CK FEELINGS believes profanity is a source of comfort, clarity, and strength.” A-f*cking-men.

Yes Please
by Amy Poehler

From “Saturday Night Live” to “Parks and Recreation,” I think Amy Poehler is absolutely hilarious. We could all learn a thing or two from her humor and positive attitude towards life. If I were you, I’d say “yes, please” to her smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational book full of stories, lists, poetry, photos, mantras, and advice.

Hyperbole and a Half
by Allie Brosh

Allie Brosh's graphic memoir conveys the everyday realities of living with social anxiety in a way this world has never seen before. I've witnessed her humorous anecdotes cultivate compassion (and a smile) in even the most cold-hearted individuals (myself included).

Adulting
by Kelly Williams Brown

I am frequently in awe of how, after years of schooling, I could still be so tremendously unequipped to be an adult. (For real, what is a hedge fund? How do you fix a toilet? Asking for a friend…) Luckily, ADULTING teaches you how to conquer the “real world” with practical advice that makes the confusing rules and regulations of adulthood more manageable.

The Artist’s Way
by Julia Cameron

THE ARTIST’S WAY is one of my favorite books about creativity and has served me well as a guide to living a life full of inspiration and reflection. It’s full of practical suggestions for how to overcome pesky annoyances that typically make people terrible—like fear, self-sabotage, and jealousy—through trying new things and writing daily.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
by Jenny Lawson

There are plenty of things I’ve done that I wish never happened. Try as I might to bury the memories, Jenny Lawson has set me straight with her incredibly insightful and hilarious advice. However bad those experiences, they are just as much a part of what makes me, me, as the best experiences of my life.

Reasons to Stay Alive
by Matt Haig

Even if you personally don’t suffer from depression, it’s likely that a friend or loved one does—and one key to not being a terrible person is having the ability to empathize with them. A good way to dust off that dormant area of your brain where "feelings" and "empathy" live is to read REASONS TO STAY ALIVE. It's Matt Haig's inspiring account of how he overcame the disease and found that there was, in fact, light at the end of the tunnel of depression.

How to Be a Woman
by Caitlin Moran

I’ve never been a fan of unsolicited advice about how women should act. Thankfully, the title of this book is tongue-in-cheek—and what Caitlin Moran really does is shatter all of the stereotypes about what being a modern woman means. That’s one more nail in the coffin of outdated advice on what women should do or say or think.

Modern Romance
by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

Have you become soulless and jaded after one too many terrible OKCupid dates? Welcome to the club—but don’t get too comfortable. If you need a kick in the butt to get back in the game, pick up a copy of MODERN ROMANCE and prepare yourself for a hilarious and extremely thoughtful exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance.

You Are a Badass
by Jen Sincero

In this refreshingly feisty how-to guide, world-traveling success coach Jen Sincero serves up hilarious and bite-sized inspiration and advice on how to kick ass—and how to actually be as confident on the inside as you appear on the outside. If you’re looking to be the HBIC (Head B*tch in Charge) of your life, you’re going to want to use YOU ARE A BADASS as your bible.

Nice Is Just a Place in France
by The Betches

After having spent an obscene amount of time on The Betches Insta, I knew I had to read their book NICE IS JUST A PLACE IN FRANCE. This is a take-no-prisoners book of advice for young women on “how to win at basically everything.” I can confidently say that it delivers—it’s funny, it’s practical, and it’s absolutely brutal.

Shout-out to one of my favorite Instas of all time. #LifeGoals

Nice try

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