Best Books for Social Anxiety of 2022: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

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The best books for social anxiety can significantly improve your quality of life through self-reflection.

As a mental disorder that can be debilitating to those looking for a more social lifestyle, reclaiming your life can be freeing.

From assisting you in social situations to giving you better confidence not to second-guess every social situation, these books are ideal.

Comparison Chart

Painfully Shy: How to Overcome Social Anxiety and Reclaim Your Life
Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Social Anxiety and Shyness (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
Living Fully with Shyness and Social Anxiety: A Comprehensive Guide to Gaining Social Confidence
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Dying of Embarrassment: Help for Social Anxiety and Phobia
Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-by-Step Techniques for Overcoming your Fear

Best Books for Social Anxiety: A Review

1. Painfully Shy: How to Overcome Social Anxiety and Reclaim Your Life by Barbara Markway and Gregory Markway

Painfully Shy is a fantastic title designed to help readers overcome their social anxiety and take control of their lives.

It touches on significant aspects of living with social anxiety and top-rated tips to improve social comfort.

With a ton of phenomenal and relatable resources, this book addresses some of the less talked about problems about social anxiety.


You’ll find that this read is fascinating if you think you, a loved one, or a friend is dealing with social anxiety.

As one of the most commonly experienced anxiety disorders, it can dismantle your life piece by piece.

Instead of allowing it to overwhelm you at every turn, the helpful insight from these two authors will prove invaluable.

Instead of providing basic statistics to spread awareness of the disorder, this book helps readers overcome their uneasiness.

Both Barbara and Gregory Markway are experts in social anxiety and psychologists, so readers receive professional guidance.

The book will bring you through the process of understanding how social anxiety develops, how it can affect your life, and how you can recover.

Although this book isn’t a substitute for traditional therapy, it can be a useful tool.

Readers will have a more robust understanding of what it means to live with the disorder and know that they are not alone.

There are several questions that the best social anxiety books bring to your attention to help you determine if you’re affected by it.

You can start working on your debilitating disorder, and you can also know when it’s time to seek help.

It’s very easy-to-read, packed with important information, and has a variety of inspiring passages.


  • Interesting to read
  • Provides helpful strategies
  • Useful for assisting with shyness
  • Applicable and practical advice


  • Poorly worded self-hypnosis strategies
  • Not recommended for social phobia

2. Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Social Anxiety and Shyness by Jan E. Fleming, Nancy L. Kocovski


One of the most significant challenges of social anxiety is avoiding social situations at any cost.

Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Social Anxiety and Shyness is a useful tool for conquering social situations.

The best books on social anxiety help you and others tackle social situations and live your life to the fullest.


This book is one of the more unique options for people dealing with social anxiety, as it uses a unique technique.

The technique is known as ACT or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which has been proven useful for social anxiety.

You’ll find a ton of tasks, tips, and activities designed to help you overcome your anxieties as well as general shyness.

Readers will have a collection of worksheets and exercises developed to help them approach situations slowly and thoughtfully.

Over time, you’ll begin to build an increased sense of confidence that can make social engagements less threatening.

You’ll likely have a better understanding of how you can achieve fulfillment and personal growth by the end.

One of the most significant aspects of the text is overcoming negative intrusive emotions and thoughts.

Readers will also have the ability to put distance between themselves and their anxieties to engage more effectively socially.

Some of the main tips you’ll find in each activity include:

  • Preventing reliance on “safety” routines and behaviors
  • Learning how to defuse intrusive feelings and thoughts
  • Setting essential goals and learning your values
  • Encouraging yourself to speak up for others and yourself

As with any resource that works with a specific mental disorder, you must have practical and professional advice.

Seasoned professionals wrote mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Social Anxiety and Shyness.

Jan E. Fleming, MD, is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

She is also a staff psychiatrist in the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

Nancy L. Kocovski, Ph.D., is an associate psychology professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo.


  • Deals with the emotional strain of social anxiety
  • Provides essential tools for social success
  • Very informative passages and activities
  • A useful and easy-to-read step-by-step guide


  • ACT might not be as effective as CBT
  • Some activities might feel redundant

3. Living Fully with Shyness and Social Anxiety: A Comprehensive Guide to Gaining Social Confidence by Erika B. Hilliard RSW, Paul Foxman PhD


Living Fully with Shyness and Social Anxiety is another title written by seasoned mental health professionals.

It’s a useful handbook that you can refer to in times of struggle when dealing with social situations.

You’ll find it’s an informative read for those dealing with general shyness in most social avenues, especially teens with social anxiety.


One of the most significant benefits of the best social anxiety books is that they take a more dynamic social anxiety approach.

If you’re the type of reader that prefers more personal and one-on-one advice, this is the title for you.

Living Fully with Shyness and Social Anxiety feels more like a therapeutic and comforting device than a generic textbook.

There are many useful tactics and features explored in this book that other generic self-help texts often avoid.

Some of the most notable areas of interest discussed include:

  • Effectively setting goals
  • Understanding body language
  • Assisting with maintaining eye contact
  • How to calm your body
  • Controlling blushing
  • Learning how to gather positive thoughts
  • The importance of medication
  • How to connect with others
  • Assisting with presentations and job interviews
  • Dealing with shy bladder syndrome

Another substantial benefit of this book is how it helps the reader feel like they’re not alone and dealing with their anxiety.

You’ll have a more positive outlook on your disorder, and you’ll feel a heightened sense of motivation to work towards success.

With a ton of informative and helpful examples, you can work on your social anxiety one step at a time.

Erika B. Hilliard combines professional and personal experience in her writings as a registered clinician, social worker, and seasoned therapist.


  • Offers a unique approach to dealing with anxiety
  • Assists with achieving a higher sense of confidence
  • Provides key observations and assistance
  • Addresses psychological and biological factors


  • Some passages lack important insights
  • Focuses on the basics of social anxiety

4. Dying of Embarrassment: Help for Social Anxiety and Phobia by Barbara G. Markway, C. Alec Pollard, Teresa Flynn, Cheryl N. Carmin

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Dying of Embarrassment is a unique read that introduces an innovative program for social anxiety sufferers.

A team of psychologists has developed the program to help you deal with challenging social situations.

According to the authors, it has been proven to assist with social phobias and provide important insight into the condition.


Often, dealing with social anxiety is something that requires a lot of work to overcome.

Although reading about the disorder’s fundamentals can be useful, taking the time to work on your anxieties is most important.

Dying of Embarrassment takes a new approach to understand social anxiety by helping you step by step.

The program within this book’s pages is essential for providing necessary exercises and tips to begin working on anxiety.

You’ll find a selection of questionnaires to help you better understand the symptoms of your anxiety.

Through this process, you’ll be able to develop a custom-tailored program that you can begin using to your advantage.

As you work through the exercises, you’ll find an assortment of positive coping skills to help you with empowerment.

You will also experience several cognitive-behavioral techniques to assist with fear-inducing situations.

There will be clear guidelines for each of the passages to help you determine if you require further assistance, like professional therapy with medication.

In many cases, social anxiety is far more than general shyness; it’s a debilitating disorder that requires professional help.

With the best books on social anxiety, you can get a clear idea of whether you should be seeking assistance from a therapist.


  • Helps readers understand the anxiety better
  • Invaluable biofeedback tips
  • Informative and detailed suggestions
  • Very insightful passages


  • Uses highly technical language
  • Has some repetitive insights

5. The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-by-Step Techniques for Overcoming Your Fear by Martin M. Antony Ph.D., Richard P. Swinson MD

As another type of self-help journal or workbook, The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook is highly recommended for interpersonal relationships.

Social anxiety can be far more than being afraid of speaking to large groups; it can affect your close relationships as well.

The insights in this text are ideal for people who want to improve their relationships with others in all life areas.


One of the most notable aspects of this read is that it doesn’t solely focus on your career or talking to strangers.

It also focuses on the challenging areas of social anxiety when dealing with those closest to you.

By knowing how to confront your anxieties to live a more enjoyable life, you can significantly reduce anxiety’s hold on you.

There is an assortment of innovative activities in the book that assist you in achieving several coping skills.

Readers will learn about effective therapies, medications, and whether you should be seeking professional assistance.

By working through the book, you’ll be able to find your weaknesses and strengths and deeply examine your social fears.

Each reader can evaluate their situation and develop a customized plan to begin working on their anxiety.

With tips for gradual social exposure, you can put your plan into action.

It’s a simple process at first, but once you start working on your anxieties, you’ll find how genuinely helpful it is.


  • Assists with identifying personal symptoms
  • Helps in clinical settings
  • Very easy for readers to follow
  • Useful and informative exercises


  • Most useful when combined with therapy
  • Focuses on introductory issues

Our Final Recommendation

The best books for social anxiety are those that focus on the in-depth aspects of the disorder.

With that said, Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Social Anxiety and Shyness is the most practical guide.

By combining professional insight with educational and easy-to-read exercises, it’s a useful resource for most individuals.

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