The most recommended brain books

Who picked these books? Meet our 171 experts.

171 authors created a book list connected to the brain, and here are their favorite brain books.
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What type of brain book?


Book cover of Whalesong

Laurie Bell Author Of White Fire

From Laurie's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Reader Administrator Sci-Fi and fantasy fangirl Fan fiction obsessive Flash fictioneer

Laurie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Laurie Bell Why did Laurie love this book?

The writing, the vibe, the tone, and the voice in this story are all exquisite. I just didn’t want to put this book down. I wanted to savor every line.

I loved the young character, Aberdeen, and the way she saw and experienced her world, even after her world takes a leap—or timeshift, if you will—into the realm of science fiction. And I particularly loved that Aberdeen discovered and understood more about herself by meeting a girl who she wished she could be like—brave, adventurous, and clever, only to discover she already was.

There is beauty in the way the fantastical elements are layered between detailed drops of Tasmanian history and the majesty of nature, in particular, that of the whales. I tell everyone about this book. I savored every almost lyrical sentence. It’s a treat for your brain as well as your heart.

By Kate Gordon,

Why should I read it?

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

Book cover of The Dragon of New Orleans

Evette Davis Author Of Woman King

From my list on dystopian stories for the bada** feminist in us all.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve worked in journalism, politics, and public policy for 30-plus years and watched as the extreme voices gained the most traction on either side of a debate. On social media, these minority views often dominate the discussion. 48 States is a stand-alone novel highlighting the problems of extremist viewpoints in a civil society. I also have another book series that features a political consultant who discovers she's a witch and joins a secret society that uses magic to manipulate elections to protect humanity. Bottom line: if I can’t fix political discourse for a living, I can write science fiction novels that contemplate how to do it.

Evette's book list on dystopian stories for the bada** feminist in us all

Evette Davis Why did Evette love this book?

What drew me into this series was the first book, The Dragon of New Orleans, where a desperate dragon who has been hexed saves a woman who is terminally ill by giving her his tooth. She turns out to be a powerful witch who is unaware of her powers until they are awakened by the dragon’s magic. I loved the self-discovery that takes place and how as her powers grow she used them to protect her lover. The rest of the series brings in other dragon siblings as well as human and vampire characters in adventures that span several states and another dimension. I have a few more to read. 

By Genevieve Jack,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A cursed dragon shifter, a terminal cancer patient, and a magical bond that promises to save them both... if they don't kill each other first.

2020 Independent Publisher Book Award for BEST ROMANCE E-BOOK

New Orleans: city of intrigue, supernatural secrets, and one enigmatic dragon.

A deadly curse...

For 300 years, Gabriel Blakemore has survived in New Orleans after a coup in his native realm of Paragon scattered him and his dragon siblings across the globe. Now a jealous suitor's voodoo curse threatens to end his immortal existence. His only hope is…

Book cover of Self Love Poetry: For Thinkers & Feelers

Maria Tzoutzopoulou Author Of something like

From my list on poetry where you can find pieces of you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have created art from an early age. Years later, my studies in civil engineering allowed me to combine my love for the arts with my belief in an orderly world. Meanwhile, reading and writing have always been my favorite pursuits. While collaborating as an editor with other authors, assisting them in their writing endeavors, in 2014, I wrote and published my first book. Sharing my writing on Instagram gave birth to the idea of my first poetry book, something like, published in 2018. Since then, two more poetry collections have been published: A TriAngle in 2019 and something like in reverse in 2020.

Maria's book list on poetry where you can find pieces of you

Maria Tzoutzopoulou Why did Maria love this book?

While reading this book, I have been trying to figure out what I am: 

a thinker or a feeler. Melody Godfred chooses a fascinating way to write this book. So on the left page, she writes for a thinker (a left-brained person), and on the right page, she writes for a feeler (a right-brained person). 

I will have to count the number of pages representing me as I go through the pages to find out which hemisphere of my brain is dominant, the left or the right.

By Melody Godfred,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Self Love Poetry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Readers have called her work "life changing," "pandemic medicine," and "part of my daily ritual." Oprah Magazine and the Today Show have featured her work for its timely, uplifting wisdom. Now, Self Love Philosopher Melody Godfred shares her first poetry book, Self Love Poetry: For Thinkers & Feelers, a collection of 200 thought-provoking and heart-opening self love poems.

In Self Love Poetry, Godfred explores concepts like authenticity, surrender, resilience, gratitude, believing in yourself, and of course, love, through 100 pairs of poems, each dedicated to a central theme. On the left side of the book are "thinker" poems that light…

Book cover of Principles of Neural Design

Mark Humphries Author Of The Spike: An Epic Journey Through the Brain in 2.1 Seconds

From my list on how brains actually work.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a British neuroscientist and writer who’s been using computers to study the brain since 1998, and writing about it since 2016. How I ended up a neuroscientist is hard to explain, for my formative years were spent devouring science books that were not about the brain. That’s partly because finding worthwhile books about the brain is so hard – few delve into how the brain actually works, into the kinds of meaty details that, for example, Hawking offered us on physics and Dawkins on evolution. So I wrote one to solve that problem; and the books on my list are just that too: deep, insightful works on how the brain does what it does.

Mark's book list on how brains actually work

Mark Humphries Why did Mark love this book?

The authors hilariously claim in their acknowledgements that this is a short book. It is not. Instead, it is a volume that explains ten key principles of why brains work the way they do, from why they do so much computation with chemistry to the irreducible smallness of a brain’s components. A densely argued, fiercely detailed book, not one for the faint of heart – but one that has pride of place on the shelves of many neuroscientists, mine included.

By Peter Sterling, Simon Laughlin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Principles of Neural Design as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two distinguished neuroscientists distil general principles from more than a century of scientific study, “reverse engineering” the brain to understand its design.

Neuroscience research has exploded, with more than fifty thousand neuroscientists applying increasingly advanced methods. A mountain of new facts and mechanisms has emerged. And yet a principled framework to organize this knowledge has been missing. In this book, Peter Sterling and Simon Laughlin, two leading neuroscientists, strive to fill this gap, outlining a set of organizing principles to explain the whys of neural design that allow the brain to compute so efficiently.

Setting out to “reverse engineer” the…

Book cover of The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size

Brian J. McVeigh Author Of The 'Other' Psychology of Julian Jaynes: Ancient Languages, Sacred Visions, and Forgotten Mentalities

From my list on the bicameral mind, mentality, and consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by how the human mind adapts, both individually and through history. Julian Jaynes, who taught me while pursuing my PhD in anthropology from Princeton University, provided me with a theoretical framework to explore how the personal and cultural configure each other. Jaynes inspired me to publish on psychotherapeutics, the history of Japanese psychology, linguistics, education, nationalism, the origin of religion, the Bible, ancient Egypt, popular culture, and changing definitions of self, time, and space. My interests have taken me to China and Japan, where I lived for many years. I taught at the University of Arizona and currently work as a licensed mental health counselor. 

Brian's book list on the bicameral mind, mentality, and consciousness

Brian J. McVeigh Why did Brian love this book?

Supported by a wide range of examples drawn from various disciplines, this book demonstrates how we are only conscious of a small amount of what our hidden psychological machinery manufactures nonconsciously.

This work provides a key perspective needed to appreciate Julian Jaynes’s theory of consciousness and, thus his ideas on bicameral mentality. 

By Tor Norretranders,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The User Illusion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As John Casti wrote, "Finally, a book that really does explain consciousness." This groundbreaking work by Denmark's leading science writer draws on psychology, evolutionary biology, information theory, and other disciplines to argue its revolutionary point: that consciousness represents only an infinitesimal fraction of our ability to process information. Although we are unaware of it, our brains sift through and discard billions of pieces of data in order to allow us to understand the world around us. In fact, most of what we call thought is actually the unconscious discarding of information. What our consciousness rejects constitutes the most valuable part…

Book cover of The Boundaries of Babel: The Brain and the Enigma of Impossible Languages

Asya Pereltsvaig Author Of Languages of the World: An Introduction

From my list on how human language works.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by languages since my teenage years, when, in addition to my native Russian, I learned English, French, Spanish, Latin, Hebrew, and Esperanto to varying degrees of fluency. But it was in college that I decided to pursue linguistics as a profession, in part influenced by one of the books on my list! After 20 years of doing scientific research and teaching linguistics at different universities, I switched gears and now focus on bringing linguistic science to the general audience of lifelong learners. Even if you don’t change your career, like I did, I hope you enjoy reading the books on my list as much as I have!  

Asya's book list on how human language works

Asya Pereltsvaig Why did Asya love this book?

I couldn’t put down this book from the very first pages that tell the story of Monsieur Leborgne and how Doctor Broca, who treated him, made the vital linguistic discovery that immortalized his name.

I learned that some groundbreaking linguistic discoveries are still made in hospitals, but one no longer needs to have a brain injury to be of interest to neurolinguistic science.

I also loved discovering how clever experiments are designed and how MRI gives us a window into how language works in the brain in real-time. 

Book cover of The Winner's Bible: Rewire Your Brain for Permanent Change

Marlies Hobbs Author Of FLY: Financially Literate Youth

From my list on a financially savvy future.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jai and Marlies are a husband and wife team, originally from Cairns and now based in Noosa. Jai is a mortgage broker with over 18 years’ experience, and Marlies is a former property development lawyer with a passion for education and creative projects. They have two sons, Troy and Zac, a cavoodle, Ruby, and horses, Zoe and Twisty. Together they have built more than 10 properties, started, owned and operated several businesses, including a mortgage brokerage, retail shop and cafes, a franchise company, online shop, ready-made meal business, and property developments.

Marlies' book list on a financially savvy future

Marlies Hobbs Why did Marlies love this book?

When you understand that success is heavily dependent upon your mindset, you will unleash your true potential.

This powerful neuroscience-based book helps explain the inner workings of the human brain, what makes us tick, what holds us back, and proven strategies to permanently rewire your brain and transform your life.

Combining this knowledge of the brain with financial literacy is a true recipe for success in my opinion!  

By Kerry Spackman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

World-renowned neuroscientist Dr. Kerry Spackman shows you how to use and customize the groundbreaking tools he pioneered for elite athletes, Olympic champions, and upper-echelon businesspeople to permanently rewire your brain and transform your life.

THE WINNER'S BIBLE gives you mental and emotional tools that can change your natural desires and rid you of habits that limit your happiness or potential. Dr. Spackman provides practical, proven techniques for acquiring the strengths necessary to grow into a better, happier, and more powerful person. He's used these techniques to genuinely revolutionize the lives of normal people, sports stars, business people and even drug…

Book cover of The Soul of Anna Klane

Christian Hugo Hoffmann Author Of The Quest for a Universal Theory of Intelligence: The Mind, the Machine, and Singularity Hypotheses

From my list on making sense of the I in AI.

Why am I passionate about this?

I embarked on this arduous journey of making sense of the I in AI while working as an Assistant Professor of Finance, which, however, began to look increasingly uninteresting and oppressive. With this innovative endeavor, I return home to philosophy. Apart from being passionate about AI in academia, I’m a tech entrepreneur by heart with three software start-ups in Germany, Switzerland, and Malawi under my belt. Moreover, I served as Deputy Director of and Head of AI at the Swiss Fintech Innovation Lab in Zurich, as Director of Startup Grind Geneva, and I continue to fulfill my role as start-up coach/judge and mentor in various startup programs.

Christian's book list on making sense of the I in AI

Christian Hugo Hoffmann Why did Christian love this book?

If there were only five things I could bring to an island to live on, Terrel Miedaner’s deeply thought-provoking fiction book The Soul of Anna Klane would be among those five items.

His book is on a question which is more fundamental than the one on the I in AI. The Soul of Anna Klane ponders the many sides of the question of what constitutes life and consciousness: the scientific, the atheistic, and the religious with due respect.

It showed me how little we know about the brain, mind, and soul. And if we don’t understand the center of human intelligence, how can we make sense of the I in AI? Undoubtedly one of the best books I have ever read. For this reason, it would be on an island where I only possess five things so that I’m not distracted from reading it again and again. The effect would…

By Terrel Miedaner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

God bless sweet Anna's soul...

She's the golden darling of a wealthy genius. A child-prodigy. Yogi adept. And dying of brain tumor. She wants to heal herself, but the courts and the doctors cry "no" - and enter her brain with an incredible million-dollar probe that cures her body, while it splits her soul -- and sends it hurtling into a psychic hell...

Only Anatol Klane knows of his daughter's spirit-death. Now he must take her life... and convince an astonished world that he has set her free...

Book cover of Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference

Macaela Mackenzie Author Of Money, Power, Respect: How Women in Sports Are Shaping the Future of Feminism

From my list on explaining why the gender gap is bullsh*t.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist, I write about women and power. I’ve written about everything from taboos in women’s health, to the importance of reproductive autonomy, to the ability of women athletes to shape culture. Across all of these subjects, my work is rooted in the desire to explore the factors that drive gender inequity and how we can create lasting cultural changes that will close the gap. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in writing over 2,500 stories, it’s that gender inequity—from the pay gap, to the motherhood penalty—always comes back to power. And to one group’s desire to keep it at all costs. 

Macaela's book list on explaining why the gender gap is bullsh*t

Macaela Mackenzie Why did Macaela love this book?

For anyone who has ever wondered if there is any truth behind sexist gender stereotypes—women are wired to be empathetic caregivers, men are biologically designed to be analytical problem-solvers, for example—award-winning academic and writer Cordelia Fine breaks down what’s really happening in the “male brain” vs. the “female brain.”

Spoiler alert: gender differences aren’t so much hardwired as they are culturally conditioned. I found Delusions of Gender incredibly informative and empowering—if stereotypical gender differences are the result of cultural conditioning, that means they can be changed. 

By Cordelia Fine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's the twenty-first century, and although we tried to rear unisex children-boys who play with dolls and girls who like trucks-we failed. Even though the glass ceiling is cracked, most women stay comfortably beneath it. And everywhere we hear about vitally important "hardwired" differences between male and female brains. The neuroscience that we read about in magazines, newspaper articles, books, and sometimes even scientific journals increasingly tells a tale of two brains, and the result is more often than not a validation of the status quo. Women, it seems, are just too intuitive for math; men too focused for housework.…

Book cover of Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World's Strangest Brains

Marc Dingman Author Of Bizarre: The Most Peculiar Cases of Human Behavior and What They Tell Us about How the Brain Works

From my list on learning about your brain.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with the brain began when I was an undergraduate, and since has grown into an insatiable curiosity about all things neuroscience. Today my main job is teaching courses in the health sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, but I spend much of my free time trying to find ways to make neuroscience understandable to those who share my enthusiasm for learning about it. I mostly do this through my books and a series of short neuroscience videos on my YouTube channel: Neuroscientifically Challenged.

Marc's book list on learning about your brain

Marc Dingman Why did Marc love this book?

Helen Thomson’s Unthinkable follows her around the world as she travels to meet individuals with some of the strangest neurological conditions imaginable.

Thomson is a respected journalist, and her writing talent really shines in describing these cases and how they are tied back to abnormalities in brain function. Unthinkable will teach you some neuroscience, but most of all it’s just a really fun read.

By Helen Thomson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Wonderfully clear, fluent and eye-opening' THE TIMES

'A stirring scientific journey, a celebration of human diversity and a call to rethink the "unthinkable"' NATURE

'An utterly fascinating romp around the nether regions of the human mind' BIG ISSUE

IMAGINE . . . getting lost in a one-room flat; seeing auras; never forgetting a moment; a permanent orchestra in your head; turning into a tiger; life as an out-of-body experience; feeling other people's pain; being convinced you are dead; becoming a different person overnight.

Our brains are far stranger than we think. We take it for granted that we can remember,…