People always strive to improve themselves – by developing new skills, exploring, and educating themselves. With limited travel opportunities, many decided to read more about the subjects they are interested in. For those of you who want to expand their knowledge about the human psyche, here are five psychology books that will cater to your intellectual needs.
I chose the following titles based on the diversity of their topics, the accuracy of the information, and the accessible language.
Intelligence is still a controversial concept that has lead to both progress and disaster. Even today, many of us believe that a high IQ equals superiority and success. Outliers debunks this idea with real-life examples – some of them really popular, like the story of The Beatles and their fulminant celebrity.
Malcolm Gladwell writes about the myth of the self-made man and what is the real recipe for success in an easy to follow manner. Every case study and laboratory experiment is listed at the end of the book, so you can read more about a certain idea. So, if you want to know what truly makes a person stand out and go down in history for their contribution to society, Outliers might be a good read for you!
This one is for the neuroscience enthusiasts. For a long time, the experts considered the human brain as a machine: a rigid mechanism, with certain areas highly specialized in processing information and decision-making. Pioneering researchers proved that the brain is more than the sum of its parts. Moreover, it seems that it can remap itself to recover after devastating diseases or accidents.
In his book, Norman Doidge explores the brain’s neuroplasticity and its implications for neuroscientists, therapists, and ordinary people as well. He explains that many afflictions can be cured or improved via specific programs that strive to rewire the brain or to create neuronal stem cells. The aim is to help patients recover after a stroke, to develop their brain functioning, and to help them let go of obsessive thoughts.
It might seem like a difficult read, but every process, association, and experiment are explained thoroughly, in an accessible language. I studied neuropsychology for a semester but I didn’t understand as much as I would have wanted. Fortunately, this book clarified many of my questions. Therefore, if you want to know more about neuroplasticity and its applications, I recommend The Brain that Changes Itself.
Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist who went to Auschwitz and lived to write about it. As he mentioned, Man’s search for Meaning isn’t ‘simply another book about the holocaust’, but a lesson for the future. The Nazi concentration camps served as the place where Frankl’s theories about human nature were generated and tested.
Frankl’s logotherapy emphasizes the innate strength each of us has while facing dire conditions. The second part of the book details true cases where people who found their meaning in life were able to confront life’s adversities with dignity. From psychology to religion, from individual to group behaviors, and from a prisoner’s life to freedom, Frankl shares his experiences in a short, but poignant book.
I read Man’s search for Meaning in April when I was trying to adjust to the quarantine and, despite its grim historical aspects, it gave me hope. It grounded me and made me aware of what truly mattered to me. Frank’s empathic attitude, along with his insights are valuable lessons we could all benefit from.
Trauma is a misunderstood topic, therefore highly stigmatized. This book describes its types, occurrences, and the effects on the person’s psyche. The author’s extensive experience in working with trauma helps the readers understand the theoretical concepts regardless of their professional background.
Franz Ruppert approaches the topic with honesty and compassion, explaining the phenomenon from mental, behavioral, and social points of view. This year I had the chance to attend an online conference held by dr. Ruppert. I discovered that he was indeed a considerate human being, who wanted to create a better world than the one he came into. So, if the subject interests you, this might be a good starting point for future research.
Apart from being an enlightening book, Trauma, Fear, and Love is meaningful for me because it came my way when I needed it. It happened a year ago when I was wandering through a bookshop. I was actually searching for the previously listed book, Frankl’s, but I couldn’t find it.
Instead, Trauma, Fear, and Love caught my eye, so I bought it. A few weeks later, I had to meet with my supervisor regarding my dissertation paper, which didn’t even have a title. In a flash of inspiration, I leafed through Ruppert’s book and decided to write about developmental trauma. This material helped me along the way, so I had to include it in my list of psychology books recommendation.
The last title from my psychology books list is self-indulgent, but also paradoxical. How can a blood-thirsty psychopath be anything else? Due to mass-media, we tend to see them as criminals – and rightfully so in some cases, but there’s more to this subject than that.
Kevin Dutton explains what psychopathy actually means and uses research data to bust the myths around it one by one. Moreover, the book contains interviews with convicted criminals and competent people, who have more in common than meets the eye. But are people born evil? This book might give you the answer from an evolutionist, biological, and psychological point of view.
The Wisdom of Psychopaths is an engaging, fast-reading book that sheds some light on one of psychology’s most controversial topics.
These are some of the most compelling psychology books I have come across until now. I hope you’ve found at least an idea that kindled your interest. Be sure to receive any information with an open mind and a critical attitude. After all, not everything you read fits with your subjective reality.