The best books on human behavior 📚

Browse the best books on human behavior as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit

The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit

By Melvin Konner

Why this book?

Melvin Konner is an anthropologist who joined the sociobiology revolution of the 1970s.  Like Barash, his style is sheer pleasure. He ranges from biology and psychology to research on hormones.  And his tales, his evidence, are fascinating beyond belief. They are derived from research on primitive tribes like the !Kung San In southern Africa, whose way of life sheds new light on the things you and I do every day.

From the list:

The best books to change the way you think

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views

War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views

By Douglas P. Fry

Why this book?

From anthropology and archeology, Douglas Fry and his co-contributors tell us that our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, in small bands, on a five-million-year camping trip around the globe. We had to have adaptations for harmonious communal living. Wary of strangers, we would realize that wanting to fight them was stupid. Man the “killer ape” is fiction. Then, 10,000 years ago, came agriculture, with a population explosion producing abundant goods that others would covet. The consequence was war and prejudice and other vile beliefs and behaviors. Ex-Quaker as I am, I have written a book, Why We Hate: The Roots of Human…
From the list:

The best books on human evolution and the human story

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Lucia Lacorte, Poor Sport

Lucia Lacorte, Poor Sport

By Christianne Jones, Marisa Morea

Why this book?

Llama Lucia may be the self-appointed founder and president of the Get Gaming Club but she is a terrible sport. She pouts when she loses and gloats when she wins. Before long, her friends won’t play with her. Her grandfather will play but it turns out he’s a worse sport than Lucia who begins to realize how her bad behavior upsets her friends.

This child-friendly book is perfect to begin discussions on cheating, fairness, and how to be good at both winning and losing.

From the list:

The best picture books to help children develop good sportsmanship

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Explaining Humans: What Science Can Teach Us About Life, Love and Relationships

Explaining Humans: What Science Can Teach Us About Life, Love and Relationships

By Camilla Pang

Why this book?

Sometimes, a voice actor is the absolute right choice for an audiobook. (I think this was the case for my book, which was read by George Newbern — whose voice I quickly recognized as the cartoon Superman.) Other times, though, absolutely nobody but the actual author will do, and this is most certainly the case with Camilla Pang’s beautifully written — and narrated — book about human behavior. I’ve both read and listened to Explaining Humans, and I recommend the latter, for Pang’s particular manner of emphasis, inflection, and cadence add color, clarity, and personality to her written words.…

From the list:

The best books for feeling awestruck about the world

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

By Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths

Why this book?

We have to learn how to properly use the Internet to prevent it from using us. We must comprehend the limits of artificial intelligence to take advantage of what it has to offer. Christian and Griffiths explore how algorithms can help us solve common – decisions and find strategies to humans.

From the list:

The best books to understand how the use of computers influences the way we think

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Humanity of Thucydides

The Humanity of Thucydides

By Clifford Orwin

Why this book?

There is an equally strong tradition of reading Thucydides not as a historian, just interested in past events as an end in itself, but as a kind of political theorist who wanted to his work to be useful, as a guide to ‘the human thing’. Sometimes this produces incredibly crude readings of his work, such as the idea that Thucydides was a Realist who preached the power of the strong over the weak (actually those are ideas associated with people in his book), but there have been many powerful interpretations by political theorists who have deep knowledge of the text…

From the list:

The best books to understand Thucydides

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 20 books about human behavior

New book lists about human behavior

All book lists about human behavior

Bookshelves related to human behavior

Browse books by…