What are the Top Five Books in the Field of Psychology?

In the world of psychology, textbooks aren’t the only books that should grace students’ bookshelves. Here are five of the best books for psychology majors and anyone interested in psychology to check out.

“Fostering Changes: Treating Attachment-Disordered Foster Children” by Richard Delaney

Publisher: Wood N. Barnes. This practical study will be an asset both to the student and to the foster parent dealing with the devastating effects of attachment disorder. Children whose parents have consistently not responded to their needs can develop a problem with becoming emotionally “attached” to others. This results in an array of difficulties that not only makes caring for foster children hard, but often carries on into adult life, affecting relationships and employment among other things. This book is a tool for understanding the odd behaviors and disruption that are not seen in “normal” homes.

“This Will Make You Smarter” by John Brockman

Publisher: Harper Perennial. John Brockman, the editor of “The Edge” asks one question annually to a host of prominent “thinkers.” The question deals with how we view our world. This book is an anthology of 151 short essays by the “movers and shakers” of our time. Some of the diverse subjects covered are: the power of networks, information flow and cognitive humility. A description of the book from “brain pickings.org” says this is “a new way of thinking about thinking.”

“Pioneers of Psychology” by Raymond E. Fancher and Alexandra Rutherford

Publisher: W.W. Norton and Company. This is not the average textbook. In this work, the authors address some of the most controversial themes in psychology through stories of the brightest minds in psychology over the last 400 years. It examines the beginnings of psychology from its earliest philosophical roots to today’s radical thinking. There are stories about Descartes, Locke, Darwin, Freud and Skinner among others. As a reviewer says of this book on“Goodreads.com,” “I won’t spoil the fun. Read it.”

“Beyond Human Nature” by Jesse J. Prinz

Publisher: Allen Lane. This book addresses the old question of “nature or nurture.” Prinz examines knowledge, language, values, thinking and feeling to show that culture shapes humans more than nature. Some of his observations are that people from different cultures perceive things differently and suffer mental illness in different ways. They even have different standards for finding the opposite sex attractive.

“Emotional Intelligence: Why it Matters More than IQ” by David Goleman

Publisher: Bantam Books. Goleman’s premise in this book is that IQ, long a standard of intelligence, is not a predictor of success, happiness or virtue. He argues that we all have two minds: the rational and the emotional. These segments of our minds work together to make us who we are. Goleman deals with five points of emotional intelligence, including knowing your emotions, managing them, motivating yourself, recognizing emotions in others and managing relationships. This book is especially relevant to anyone who deals with groups of people, such as someone in a management position.

Psychology students and anyone interested in the subject might pick up one or more of these books to deepen their understanding of some common psychological themes expressed in novel ways. The subjects tackled by these books are weighty, but the authors promise not to bore their readers.