Books about psychology

If you’re interested in leadership, and being a leader, this is a good book to read. The author has developed his methods over many years of experience, learning honestly from his mistakes, and keeping an open mind as to what works. His goal is to get people to trust him, at which point he’s in a position to lead, and to ask those people to do things for him. Although cover of the book touts just ‘five rules’, there are in fact many checklists of guidance to follow which are summarised at the back of the book. You can simply do a read-through, and get the idea, or you can take is as a workbook and spend time going deep, and really practicing the methods. As a read, it’s a combination of engaging real-life stories, some exposition of the theory, and sometimes a bit too much verbiage. Some points are over-made. Whether that’s to hit the required word count I don’t know, but I would expect a good editor to tighten it up a bit. Nevertheless, if it’s subject that you’re interested in, it will repay the effort.

The absolute go-to must-read book on the topic. The author looks at the part that emotion plays in our lives and thinking, and the physiological and chemical processes involved. Did you know, if a core emotional area of the brain is damaged, we can’t make decisions? This helps to build out our understanding of why others – and we – behave the way we do. If only I could remember most of it, I’m sure I’d get along better…

I love this book. I’m an intovert. The book explains so well what it is to be an introvert, and how they can cope with an extrovert world, as well as how extroverts can relate to introverts. I’m not shy. I enjoy giving presentations to hundreds of people, but afterwards I want to be on my own, or sit in a quiet corner and have a meal or a drink with one or two interesting people. No, I don’t want to get in a bus to drive 45 minutes to a noisy restaurant that someone else likes where I’ll have to shout to communicate with a load of strangers. There’s an excellent chapter on how to bring up introvert children, which should be compulsory reading for all parents.

Susan Weinschenk has also written books that bring psychology to design.

What motivates people? Are you intrinsically or extrinsically driven? Why does offering people money to do a job sometimes result in poorer performance? Anyone interested in reward systems at work should read this.

I’m not that much into self-help, to be honest. There is an entire industry out there (as with slimming) that feeds off peoples’ need for something better, and which peddles mumbo-jumbo pseudo-science as the way ahead. Sometimes, though, I’ll come across something that’s rooted in reality, that has some real science to back it up, or maybe it’s just a personal narrative that doesn’t make claims of global proportions, but works for that person.

This book gives a convincing and highly entertaining exposition of how mindfulness can help you cope with daily life. It promotes mindfulness as more effective than CBT, and gives you tools that you can put into practice.

I had expected something along the lines of how to stop biting your nails, how to diet and stop drinking. This book has a much broader canvas. There’s good background on the science of habits and what it takes to break them. And whilst there is some of the ‘small’ stuff, a lot of the book is also about social movements and the way that people behave on the big stage. It’s difficult to categorise and maybe a stronger subtitle would help out. Well worth a read though.