Top 20 Best Psychology Books to Read | 2021

best psychology books
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If you want to understand how your brain works, you are better off studying neurology. But, if you wish to figure out why people behave the way they do, then you should study psychology.

Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind with close attention to how it shapes human behavior within a specific context.

One of the best psychology books currently in existence is “The Social Animal” by Elliot Aronson.

Its in-depth analysis of the concepts of psychology is as captivating as it is informative.

Among the things the book aptly tackles are the four types of psychology: cognitive, forensic, social, and developmental psychology.

More importantly, the book answers the basic fundamental question which is, why study psychology? The short answer to this, as you will find out, is to define, analyze, predict and alter human behavior.

Being able to do all these makes you a very powerful person in the realm of human management. It is thus important to learn some psychology, even if it is not your core subject of study.

Here we look at how you can teach yourself psychology, the best psychology book for beginners, the best psycho books to read, and the 20 best books you need to look at.

 How Can I Teach Myself Psychology?

The best approach to use when teaching yourself psychology is to read as many books on it as possible.

Since you are not in a psychology class, you will not have the opportunity to ask a tutor something you don’t understand. Like all subjects, psychology has its unique words used to describe different concepts.

Occasionally, you will find that the writer of a book you are reading assumes that you already know these concepts. However, that should not be a problem, since you will find numerous explanations by simply looking up the words or concepts on the internet.

Reading psychology is engrossing enough, and it will capture your attention pretty well. Moreover, it is not like mathematics where you will encounter complicated calculations, so it will flow for the most part. 

Which psychology book is best for beginners? 

The best approach to use when teaching yourself psychology is to read as many books on it as possible.

Since you are not in a psychology class, you will not have the opportunity to ask a tutor something you don’t understand. However, that should not be a problem, since you will find numerous explanations by simply looking up the words or concepts on the internet.

Moreover, Reading psychology is not like mathematics where you will encounter complicated calculations, so it will flow for the most part. 

Which Psychology Book is Best for Beginners?

There are a number of psychology books to read if you are a beginner.

The best of these to start with is “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

This book goes directly into one of the core aims of psychology, sustainable change.

The book is a useful place to start because it deals with individual behavior change, even though it also tackles change within organizations.

This book will not only take you through the steps of attaining change but will also give you a powerful introduction to the concepts of psychology.

Read: 21 Ways To Get Free Books By Mail In 2021

What are the Best Psychology Books to Read?

There are many psychology books to read that will suit your learning process. The best ones can be judged from the table of contents.

Generally, you should check if they suit your interests. Remember, the so-called motivation books are mostly based on psychology concepts and are easy to read.

What are the 20 Best Psychology Books to Read?

The following 20 books are the best to read if you are interested in studying psychology by yourself.

1. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

This book by the Heath brothers gives insights on changes that last for long and why. It is heavy on marketing, but is greatly applicable to other aspects of life. It is a useful read if you want to come up with sustainable change.

2. The Social Animal by Elliot Aronson

Aronson’s “The Social Animal” is a great book on social psychology.

It gives an understanding of the subject with real-life examples that makes it enjoyable to read.

It also touches on the other branches of psychology and an easy read for beginners.

3. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language by Steven Pinker.

In this book, Pinker explores how human beings develop and use language for communication.

It covers important aspects of how the brain has evolved to enable every person to adopt the language and communicate effectively through it.

Language is an important element of psychology, so it is important to learn about it.

4. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

This is another intriguing book on psychology, highlighting the thinking process.

It encourages people to make both swift and slow, well thought out, decisions.

It is an exciting read, especially for people who find it difficult to decide on a course of action.

5. The Invisible Gorilla by Daniel Simons.

This book is based on an experiment in which students are asked to count the passes in a basketball game, so they don’t notice a man in a gorilla costume walking around the court.

It shows how we focus on some things and miss everything else around us.

6. The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyegnar.

Iyengar’s book also emphasizes the decision-making process. It gives good leads on how to choose the best possible option.

It is another helpful reader on picking correctly in order to improve your life.

7. Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini.

This book tackles the topic of influence. It shows us how to influence others and avoid being influenced to do wrong things. It identifies six factors that lead us to be influenced by others.

8. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.

Gilbert leads the reader in this book on the things that make people happy and those that don’t.

Though the title appears to suggest that happiness is achieved by accident, that is not the case.

It is clear from the content that deliberate actions lead to happiness.

9. Evolutionary Psychology: The Science of the Mind by David Buss.

This book covers now approaches to psychology that is slightly at variance with traditional approaches.

It is a useful book for finding out which direction the study of psychology is taking.

10. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.

Predictably irrational is definitely one of the psychology books to read. Psychology takes on a whole new turn in Ariely’s book. The central idea is that you have to be different to make a difference.

It is simple logic really since you cannot change people by being like them. Successful people are those who dared to be different, the book suggests.

It ranks among the best psychology books.

Read: The power of Now Book Summary | 2021 Review

11. Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister & John Tierney.

The aim of this book is to enable the reader to rediscover the forgotten ability of their willpower.

It postulates that people lose their moral compass and innate ability to succeed due to a lack of this power.

12. Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.

This book tackles the issue of visualizing envisaged outcomes in order to achieve them.

It carries the argument that having a vision of what you want will act as a guide to lead you there. That will enable you to succeed.

13. Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probabilities and Statistics of Everything You Do by Kaiser Fung.

Fung delves into an important area of psychology often ignored, but which is very important; statistics.

Analyzing data shows you exactly where you came from, where you are presently and where you are heading.

It is a great read for business leaders and private individuals as well.

14. What Everybody is Saying by Joe Navarro.

The main subject of this book is body language. It enables you to understand what other people are saying from their body postures. It also gives you a few tricks on how to influence others with your body language.

15. “The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less” by Barry Schwartz.

This book by Schwartz is a critical guide on the decision-making process.

It gives insights on why choices that look better on the surface may turn out to be completely wrong, while the options people often ignore may be the best. It is one to read even for those not interested in psychology.

16. Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince by Roger Dooley.

Dooley is addressing marketers in this book, but his ideas are applicable in everyday life. Influencing others enables you to forge ahead in life.

This book explores that concept pretty well, which ranks it as one of the best psychology books.

17. The Compass of Pleasure by David J Linden.

Like “Stumbling on Happiness”, Linden’s book takes a daring look at what makes people feel pleasure.

It also explores actions and decisions that lead to stress and pain. It is an interesting guide on the best actions to take and avoid to maximize pleasure.

18. The First 20 Hours by Josh Kaufmann.

Though the book states that it takes about 10,000 hours to learn a new skill, it also asserts that you can master the basics of any skill within the first 20 hours. It is a very interesting read for those who wish to learn new skills.

19. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.

Robert Greene’s classic has been regarded over time as the guidebook for politicians. Some of the laws are radical and should be treated with caution.

On the whole, however, it is an important guide on influencing people. It still ranks as one of the psychology books to read.

20. “The Power of Habit (Why We Do What We Do) by Charles Duhigg.

As you can easily discern from the title, Duhigg’s book deals with human behavior. It helps a reader to learn how habits are developed and why people do things the way they do. It is a highly informative book on behavior in general.

Also read: Top 9 Powerful Books To Change Your View On Life

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for in a Psychology Book?

Check from the contents that it covers at least 2 of the types of psychology: cognitive, forensic, social, and developmental psychology.

Which are the best psychology books?

Books that combine psychology concepts with real-life examples are the best to read.

How do I know what is in a psychology book?

Just browse through the table of contents.

Where do I get a Psychology Book?

You can check online libraries or publishing websites as these have both old and latest books.

Are psychology books boring?

Not all are boring. Some are really engrossing, especially the motivational books.

Can I study psychology using a DIY approach?

Yes, you can do it yourself, it is not rocket science.

References

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