The best books for learning about relationships

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up with two parents who specialised in relationship therapy gave me a unique insight into the importance of relationships from an early age. My father's words ‘Jiveny there is nothing to life but relationships’ instilled in me a natural curiosity to understand how to make the most of them. Later in life, my own experiences of heartbreak motivated me to get even more serious about learning how to build better relationships. Now, as a dating and attraction coach, I have used my experience and expertise, as well as feedback from my clients, to compile my top 5 books for understanding relationships.


I wrote...

How to Make the Biggest Decision of Your Life

By Jiveny Blair-West, George Blair-West,

Book cover of How to Make the Biggest Decision of Your Life

What is my book about?

There is no decision that will have a greater impact on our lives than who we choose to give our heart to and share our emotional, parental, and financial future with. With divorce rates over 40 percent in much of the world, it's clear many of us need some help in picking partners. Unique father-daughter team psychiatrist Dr. George Blair-West and dating coach Jiveny Blair-West unlock the science and the secrets to making the biggest decision of your life.

If you're single, this book will give you clarity and the confidence to choose a better partner. If you're in a relationship, it will help you to work out if you should stay or go. Either way, this book will empower you to take charge of your relationship destiny.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—And Keep—Love

Jiveny Blair-West Why did I love this book?

I recommend Attached to my clients all the time as it’s a great book for anyone looking to gain a better understanding of attachment theory and how it affects relationships. The book is based on the research of Dr. Levine, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, who has studied attachment theory for over 20 years.

Attached provides an easy-to-follow crash course on the three most common attachment styles, helping readers identify their own tendencies and learn how to become a more secure partner. It also offers practical advice on how to spot other people’s attachment styles while dating, so that readers can better understand the dynamics at play and how to address them. With its clear explanations of the science behind adult attachment and its helpful tips for navigating relationships, this book is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to build healthier connections with others.

By Amir Levine, Rachel Heller,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Attached as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Over a decade after its publication, one book on dating has people firmly in its grip.”
—The New York Times

We already rely on science to tell us what to eat, when to exercise, and how long to sleep. Why not use science to help us improve our relationships? In this revolutionary book, psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller scientifically explain why why some people seem to navigate relationships effortlessly, while others struggle.

Discover how an understanding of adult attachment—the most advanced relationship science in existence today—can help us find and sustain love. Pioneered by psychologist John…


Book cover of Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

Jiveny Blair-West Why did I love this book?

Getting the Love You Want is an insightful and comprehensive guide to understanding and improving relationships. The book is based on Hendrix’s Imago Relationship Therapy, which he developed with his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt and has been an invaluable resource for me in understanding the psychology of attraction and the often unconscious forces that shape our relationships. 

In this book, Hendrix provides readers with a step-by-step approach to understanding their own needs and those of their partner. He explains how to identify and address the underlying issues that can cause conflict in relationships, such as unmet childhood needs, power struggles, and communication problems. He also offers practical advice on how to create a safe environment for couples to express their feelings and work through conflicts. I particularly love the conscious partnership manifesto outlined towards the end of the book as it became inspiration for my own marriage vows.

By Harville Hendrix, Helen Lakelly Hunt,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Getting the Love You Want as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Getting the Love You Want, Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen Hunt offer the relationship skills that have helped millions of couples replace confrontation and criticism with a process of mutual support that facilitates healing and growth at any stage of a relationship. This extraordinary practical guide describes the revolutionary technique that combines a number of disciplines - including the behavioural sciences, depth psychology, social learning theory, Gestalt therapy, and interpersonal neurosciences, among others - to create a program that transforms conflict into creative tension that deepens connection and renews passion.

In a new forward and chapter, Hendrix and…


Book cover of Keeping the Love You Find: A Personal Guide

Jiveny Blair-West Why did I love this book?

This one is specifically aimed at singles, though I believe it’s an interesting read for anyone – single or not! In Keeping the Love You Find, Harville Hendrix provides an insightful look into how our experiences through childhood can affect our ability to form healthy relationships as adults and what we can do about it.

What I found particularly interesting was the explanation of the different developmental objectives of each stage of childhood and what can happen when those goals are disrupted. Of course, all insights are backed up by research and personal experience, making them both informative and very relatable. Additionally, Hendrix provides readers with exercises that can be used to help them better understand their own needs and form more meaningful connections with others.

Overall, I found this really insightful and interesting to reflect on, particularly in its relevance to my own childhood as well as how I could be a more supportive parent to a child in the future. All in all, Keeping the Love You Find is an excellent resource for anyone looking to gain a better understanding of relationships and how to create healthy ones.

By Harville Hendrix,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Keeping the Love You Find as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestseller featured on Oprah!
"Keeping the Love You Find is a model that explains healthy love and what to do in a relationship to become whole."Alanis Morissette, Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter
Read the powerful follow-up to the runaway bestseller, Getting the Love You Want.
Do you dream of finding a partner in life? It's a natural human instinct and your dream is perfectly achievable. However, even the most well-adjusted people can have unresolved conflicts that make them seek out unsuitable romantic partners, unwittingly sabotage their relationships, and run from commitment without ever knowing the reasons why.…


Book cover of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

Jiveny Blair-West Why did I love this book?

This book is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in learning more about the therapeutic process and the power of relationships. Through her own personal experiences as a therapist, Gottlieb provides readers with a unique perspective on the therapeutic process and what it means to be human. She artfully weaves together stories of her clients, exploring their struggles and triumphs in a way that is both engaging and relatable. 

Her writing style is both honest and compassionate—I laughed and cried at various points throughout the book and enjoyed her thought-provoking insights into the inner workings of therapy. She also provides an intimate look into her own life, exploring her own struggles and triumphs as a therapist. Overall, I found this a very enjoyable read and wish there were more books like it!

By Lori Gottlieb,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Maybe You Should Talk to Someone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A TIME magazine Must-Read Book of the Year

Ever wonder what your therapist is thinking? Now you can find out, as therapist and New York Times bestselling author Lori Gottlieb takes us behind the scenes of her practice - where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she).

When a personal crisis causes her world to come crashing down, Lori Gottlieb - an experienced therapist with a thriving practice in Los Angeles - is suddenly adrift. Enter Wendell, himself a veteran therapist with an unconventional style, whose sessions with Gottlieb will prove transformative for her.

As Gottlieb explores…


Book cover of The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships

Jiveny Blair-West Why did I love this book?

Neil Strauss is a master storyteller and his book, The Truth, is a captivating follow-up to his controversial best-seller, The Game. In this candid memoir, Strauss takes readers on an emotional journey as he attempts to answer the question of whether monogamy is really for him.

The book begins with Strauss in rehab for sex addiction, a result of the success of his previous book and the world it threw him into. From there, he embarks on a relationship odyssey that leads him into all kinds of experiences from tantra cults to swinger’s clubs and beyond. His humorous and honest writing style had me laughing out loud at times as I read it at the airport and I deeply admire his vulnerability in bearing all.

The Truth is a fun and insightful exploration into relationships and commitment that will leave readers questioning their own beliefs about love and monogamy. It's an entertaining read that will make you laugh, cry, and think deeply about your own relationships. In summary, I highly, highly recommended it!

By Neil Strauss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Truth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is not a journey that was undertaken for journalistic purposes. It is a painfully honest account of a life crisis that was forced on me by my own behavior and its consequences.

"As such, it requires sharing a lot of things I'm not proud of—and a few things I feel like I should regret a whole lot more than I actually do. Because, unfortunately, I am not the hero in this tale. I am the villain."

So begins Neil Strauss's long-awaited follow-up to The Game, the funny and slyly instructive work of immersive journalism that jump-started the international "seduction…


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Book cover of Leora's Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II

Joy Neal Kidney Author Of What Leora Never Knew: A Granddaughter's Quest for Answers

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the oldest granddaughter of Leora, who lost three sons during WWII. To learn what happened to them, I studied casualty and missing aircraft reports, missions reports, and read unit histories. I’ve corresponded with veterans who knew one of the brothers, who witnessed the bomber hit the water off New Guinea, and who accompanied one brother’s body home. I’m still in contact with the family members of two crew members on the bomber. The companion book, Leora’s Letters, is the family story of the five Wilson brothers who served, but only two came home.

Joy's book list on research of World War II casualties

What is my book about?

The day the second atomic bomb was dropped, Clabe and Leora Wilson’s postman brought a telegram to their acreage near Perry, Iowa. One son was already in the U.S. Navy before Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Four more sons worked with their father, tenant farmers near Minburn until, one by one; all five sons were serving their country in the military–two in the Navy and three as Army Air Force pilots.

Only two sons came home.

Leora’s Letters is the compelling true account of a woman whose most tender hopes were disrupted by great losses. Yet she lived out four…

By Joy Neal Kidney, Robin Grunder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leora's Letters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The day the second atomic bomb was dropped, Clabe and Leora Wilson’s postman brought a telegram to their acreage near Perry, Iowa. One son was already in the U.S. Navy before Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Four more sons worked with their father, tenant farmers near Minburn until, one by one, all five sons were serving their country in the military. The oldest son re-enlisted in the Navy. The younger three became U.S. Army Air Force pilots. As the family optimist, Leora wrote hundreds of letters, among all her regular chores, dispensing news and keeping up the morale of the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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