In the next couple of weeks I hope to post a list of my top 10 biblical counseling books. However, today I want to post links to some books that I’ve found useful supplements when counseling people with common problems. Most of these are not Christian books, although a couple of them do have some Christian underpinnings (marked with an *). Read them all through the prism of God’s Word to get the best common grace wisdom out of them.  For more of my Top 10 Book lists go here.

Problem 1: “I can’t seem to concentrate.”

Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winnifred Gallagher

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman

Problem 2: “I’m too shy….too much of an introvert”

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Problem 3: “I’m overwhelmed…There’s too much going on in my life.”

Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul by Bill Hybels*

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Problem 4: “I’m paralyzed by all the choices…I find it difficult to choose”

The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz

Problem 5: “I can’t stop doing this and I don’t understand why.”

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Problem 6: “My Finances Are Out of Control.”

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey*

Problem 7: “I can’t end this relationship.”

Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud*

Problem 8: “I’m Exhausted…I’m not sleeping enough.”

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson

Thrive by Arianna Huffington (for the sleep chapters not the ones on mindfulness).

Problem 9: “I don’t have any friends.”

Friendship Factor by Alan McGinnis*

Problem 10: “I can’t say ‘No’”

Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How to Say No by Henry Cloud*

The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness by James Altucher

In addition to the Top 10, here are a few more books for common problems.

Problem 11: “I’m totally disorganized.”

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

Problem 12: “I can’t get motivated”

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

Problem 13: “I procrastinate all the time.”

The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore

Again, I emphasize, these are not replacements for good biblical counsel, but they can be useful supplements. They can help us see our need for biblical counsel, or fill out the details of general biblical principles; and they can also give us practical strategies and steps to implement that are consistent with biblical teaching.

  • Justin

    Hey Dr. Murray,

    I’ve been trying to understand my own struggles with depression in light of the need of sanctification. When I’m rightly reminded of my need to pursue holiness, I’m set into this spiral of overwhelming depression, due to the lack of pursuit, and what seems to be my inability to identify myself as something other than the “slothful” and “lazy” servant (Matt 25:26).

    One feature of my depression (and I’m sure it is the case for other Christians who suffer from it) is the temptation to listen to depression and agree with it’s condemnation that I am indeed worthless, and the Lord wants nothing to do with me. I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but I suppose my question would be how someone offering biblical counsel would address depression and sanctification?