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Five Must Read Psychology Books
Whether you’re a student, a casual reader or a professional, a good psychology book should give you insight in to human behavior and thought processes without ostracizing the reader by an overly technical approach. When it comes to conveying information about the human psyche, perception is just as important as information, which means that what may work for some readers could leave other readers in the dark. Some people respond to a more academic approach that puts theory at the forefront, while others may find anecdotes far more helpful in getting to the root of what motivates us. Whatever your preference is, it’s important that you be able to apply what you’ve learned. The five books below are both versatile in the way they deliver information and help their readers form a solid foundation on the subject.
1. The Interpretation Of Dreams: Sigmund Freud
It doesn’t matter if you subscribe to any of Freud’s theories on the sub-conscious, this book provides undeniable proof that the motivating forces behind our thoughts and actions aren’t always so obvious. By portraying dreams as communicators of our true desire, Freud encourages his readers to pay closer attention to unspoken desires and to see dreams as our way of trying to solve problems we don’t want to address.
2. The Psychology Book: DK Publishing
If you want a comprehensive view of the history, methodology and theories surrounding psychology this book is a great introduction and reference guide for everyone from students to layman. The objective of the book is to simplify over 100 major tenants of psychology using quotations, illustrations, and biographical information from leaders in the field. The book looks at behavioral and cognitive psychology to answer questions as diverse as “what influences decision making?” to “how do children learn?”
3. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: Oliver Sacks
This novel is consistently hailed as one of the most groundbreaking novels on mental illness ever published. Neurologist Oliver Sacks introduces us to “P”, a man with a condition that causes him to confuse his visual, auditory and tactile senses. While the story is delivered with a certain amount of humor, readers will be able to empathize with characters that bring the theories of psychology to life. It also teaches us that effective treatment can take place almost anywhere.
4. Modern Man In Search Of A Soul: Carl Jung
The title may be a little daunting, but Jung’s exploration of the intersection of religion and psychology is one of the most important books ever written on the subject. The book is based on the idea that people share a collective unconscious that helps us connect to each other and the way we experience life. According to Jung, we need a unified set of ideas, like religion, to organize our thoughts and perceptions. The book is considered a primer on Jungian thought, and despite the subject matter, he wrote it to introduce his ideas to the general public.
5. Games People Play: Eric Berne
Although critics dismissed the book as trivial when it was published in 1964, it later became a must-read manual for human interaction. Berne noticed that infants who were deprived of physical stimulation often experienced mental and physical challenges later in life. The book looks at our need, as adults, for positive or negative feedback to feel a sense of connection. These “strokes”, according to Berne, can cause a lot of unhealthy relationships.
All of these books serve as a great introduction to the topic, and because psychology is something that touches everyone, they will always remain relevant.
Seth Beck is a clinical psychologist and guest author at www.bestpsychologyschoolsonline.com, a site with guides to top-rated online psychology degree programs.