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Explore your Mind with the Best Psychology Books

Delve into this list of the best psychology books if you are curious about ideas in psychology, but don’t know where to look first.
by Fionnuala Kavanagh | Jul 29 2017

What’s unique about being human is our fabulous ability to think. But how can we unlock the brilliance of our brains? We need to understand the science behind the mechanisms that help us to remember facts, calculate risk, and regulate emotion.

Blinkist has collected the most popular psychology books that explain the science of how we think, feel, and learn, and show you how this information can be used to direct your intention and guide your behavior.

Discover your inner world with the best psychology books

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Renowned psychologist and Nobel Prize winner for Economics, Daniel Kahneman, takes us through his groundbreaking research that gave birth to behavioral economics and revolutionized cognitive psychology. Kahneman paints the mind as being devised of two different systems: the first is fast, intuitive and emotional, the second is slower and logical. Together, the two systems drive our decision processes, and, without checks, they are prone to systematic errors. By drawing attention to the typical slip-ups and biases of our mental processes, and by providing methods for how to work around them, Kahneman gifts us with the tools to make better decisions in our personal lives, in our work, and in wider society.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Providing a great antidote to our increasingly more frenetic and cluttered lives, Flow teaches us to focus on our internal rewards in order to gain a sense of freedom, enjoyment, and satisfaction. This bestselling psychology book draws on ideas from ancient wisdom, philosophy, and modern psychology to explain what the state of flow is, and how we can attain it. Learn how to fully immerse yourself in your interests, appreciate your surroundings, and focus on every moment with this well-researched and holistic guide.

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

If you want to learn how to start and stick to a new habit, like morning meditation, and kick a bad habit, like smoking, then this book is for you. Duhigg explains how habits are formed, why they are hard to forget, and how they have such a strong grip on the way we live our lives. Humans are creatures of habit, so to recognize and capitalize on that fact, you can alter your personal daily routine, and also even shift the work culture of large organizations with this top psychology book.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B.Cialdini

Cialdini reveals the tips and tricks of people out to push you into something. By reading Influence you will be able to spot when someone is trying to manipulate you, and know how to deal with it assertively. A renowned professor of psychology and marketing, Cialdini brings together 35 years of evidence-based research into the phenomena of influence in this monumental guide. Pick this if you want to perk up your powers of persuasion and learn how to defend yourself against manipulative people.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

We’re all quick to make snap judgments, we can’t help it—or can we? Blink explores how we make quick-fire decisions, why our impressions are draped in stereotypes and expectations, and whether it is always good to listen to your intuition. Learn how to tame and use to your advantage those split-second decisions that you make unconsciously. This is the third psychology bestseller from acclaimed author and journalist, Malcolm Gladwell.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by David Ariely

At first glance, it seems absurd to claim that humans are deeply irrational, but by the end of David Ariely’s curious read, you’ll realize that it makes total sense. Read Predictably Irrational if you want to know how the label ‘free’ has the power to sell products and push positive policies, and why we are more likely to steal items rather than money. Ariely enlivens his argument with fascinating case studies and research, as well as showing us how we can pacify our irrational tendencies, in order to act in our best long-term interests.

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Daniel Gilbert takes us on a tour of the wild and wonderful nature of our minds, in order to show us how we can unlock the key to a brighter and more positive outlook. Learn about why we have a tendency to remember strange and unique events rather than remembering the mundane, and how this memory bias affects our future judgments. Understand why unexplained events have a special mysterious allure, and carry a great emotional impact. Our mind is constantly filling in aspects of reality that we cannot directly perceive with our eyes, and so here lies the space for subjective, unreliable judgment to flourish. Gilbert helps us to recognize the pitfalls of our subjectivity, and change our way of thinking so we make better choices for our future.

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

Over the last 150 years, society has championed and rewarded the extroverted personality type, consequently neglecting to acknowledge the great qualities of introverts. Boasting a heightened sensitivity to their environment, and a tendency to thrive in quieter surroundings, introverts should be encouraged and catered for in workplace environments. Any progressive social thinker, parent, or good manager should read Quiet to better understand introverts, and find out how to develop an environment where introverts and extroverts will work best together.

The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

World-renowned neurologist and writer of some of the best psychology books around, Oliver Sacks, charms his readers with the most fascinating and peculiar case studies to have shed light on how brain damage can change perception, behavior, and even personality. In an effort to compensate for a severe malfunction, the brain has an astounding ability to create its own bizarre reality, for instance, a change in neurological composition allowed one man to smell the color brown. Try Sacks’ Hallucinations for more thought-provoking cases!

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Writing in the aftermath of the Second World War, Holocaust survivor, and psychotherapist, Viktor Frankl, reflects on his experience living inside a concentration camp and creates a theory of how people find meaning in life. Living through one of the most horrific and intense human experiences imaginable, Frankl found that people who drew on personal memories, moments of humor, and realized their spiritual freedom, had more drive to persist through their hardship and survived. Frankl’s theory of Logotherapy encourages people to engage in self-reflection and see that their lives can have meaning and that everybody has to figure out their individual life’s purpose according to their own decisions. This bestselling psychology book is a deeply moving personal account that gives a poignant insight into the human condition.

By engaging with the best psychology books, we’re not promising you’ll be able to read others’ minds, but you will definitely gain more insight into the whys and hows of your own thought processes. You need to utilize information on how your brain functions in order to change your habits and guide your patterns of behavior along a more fruitful path in life. Start this process by expanding your mind and deepening your knowledge with Blinkist’s ever-growing list of the greatest psychology books ever written!

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