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Exploring the Top Psychology Books Everyone Should Read

a family reads a book

An engaging book is one of the best ways to learn more about human nature and human behavior and to observe the beauty of everyday life. Psychology books can offer further insight into the human brain, through a combination of anecdotes and scientific research. In this article, we will share and briefly describe some of the best books on psychology, written by the world's leading experts in the field.

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt

In the Happiness Hypothesis, Haidt uses both philosophy and science to address the question of how to live a more meaningful life. For those interested in the concept of happiness and how to live life to the fullest, this book can offer some answers while guiding the search for further questions.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales – Oliver Sacks

In this psychology book, Oliver Sacks shares case studies from his practice in a compassionate and humanizing manner. By offering the history of numerous patients with neurological trauma, this book can help us to better understand the struggles of others, and remove some of the stigma from individuals experiencing mental health conditions.

The Psychopath Test: A Journey through the Madness Industry – Jon Ronson

A psychology book written not by an expert, but by a bestselling journalist, The Psychopath Test is a humorous dive into the world of psychopathy seen through the eyes of an outsider. He interviews doctors and psychologists, CEOs and politicians, and dissects preconceived notions of "madness".

Upstream: How to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath

Dan Heath examines the human tendency to respond reactively to situations, rather than proactively. Using examples both personal and far-reaching, Upstream shares positive examples of true change through understanding the psychological forces that move us "downstream", and working toward prevention of problems.

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip G. Zimbardo

Written by the social psychologist who ran the famous Stanford prison experiment, The Lucifer Effect examines the reasons why good people can go bad. Using examples from his research, Zimbardo shares with readers why otherwise moral people may be lured by group dynamics and situational forces into terrible and immoral behavior. He posits that rather than a "bad apple" ruining the barrel, a "bad barrel" (the system and social norms) may contaminate the apple (individual).

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

This psychology book takes a closer look at the human mind, and how two systems drive the way that we make choices in our lives. The one system is fast, intuitive, and emotionally driven, while the other is slower, more logical, and deliberate. Kahneman examines both systems and relates them to how the mind works, as well as sharing how you can utilize both to make better decisions in our lives.

The Little Book of Psychology, by Emily Ralls and Caroline Riggs

This book is a veritable Psychology 101 guide for those who have an interest in learning more about theory and the psychologists who developed the field. Ralls and Riggs touch on famous psychologists, famous and infamous psychological studies, ethics in psychology, recent developments, and what psychology can teach us about emotions, language, reasoning, and more.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

This book examines the power in allowing yourself to be vulnerable. While acknowledging the difficulty of putting real selves in the public eye, she also shares that not opening yourself up can lead to regret and not experiencing life fully.

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realise Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment, by Martin E. P. Seligman

A study in positive psychology, this book shares the idea of focusing on strengths, not weaknesses. Authentic Happiness posits that by identifying and cultivating "signature strengths" a person can build resilience against misfortune and live with authentic happiness and contentment, while also trying to improve the world around them.

Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters by Steven Pinker

Human beings are predictably irrational, but why is that so? Pinker in this book takes a look at why human behavior can bring us to the summit of scientific understanding, and yet also cripple us with irrational behavior such as promoting conspiracy theories, quackery, and lies. With both insight and humor, the author both educates and empowers the reader.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

A popular psychology book, Atomic Habits offers advice on breaking bad habits, building new ones, and making small changes that lead to big results. James clear takes a complicated concept and breaks it down in a way that can be understood and implemented by the layperson.

My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem

A deep dive into generational and racial trauma, this psychology book examines the deeply embedded effects of systemic racism in both POCs and white people. It is both a study in traumatic stress as well as a call to action for healing both the individual and society.

Everyday Vitality: Turning Stress into Strength by Samantha Boardman

For those looking for positive psychology books that share tips on living a more fulfilling life, Everyday Vitality offers evidence-based techniques and strategies for building resilience, managing stress, and fostering positive growth and well-being.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

How do we make decisions? Why do some people seem to make brilliant decisions in the moment, while others deliberate and fall down again and again? Is intuition as simple as it seems, or are there other factors involved in snap judgments? In this psychology book, Malcom Gladwell offers professional insight into how and why we decide, and what we can do to make better decisions.

Learning to Live Your Best Life in Brooklyn

Psychology books can offer a lot of insight into the human mind, as well as share exciting concepts, science, good habits, and knowledge. But sometimes psychology books can't offer what we really need, and that's where therapy can help.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group our team of doctoral-level psychotherapists can offer personalized support and insight into your own challenges and offer tools for building a more fulfilling life.

Give us a call today and our patient coordinator will help you find the right Brooklyn therapist to guide you on your own journey toward mental health and wellness. 

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