The most recommended neuroscience books

Who picked these books? Meet our 168 experts.

168 authors created a book list connected to neuroscience, and here are their favorite neuroscience books.
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Book cover of The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior

Sue Burke Author Of Semiosis

From my list on making you love plants.

Why am I passionate about this?

A house plant in my living room attacked another plant, wrapping itself around it and killing it. Then another plant tried to sink roots into a neighbor. I began to do a little research, then a lot of research, and learned that plants accomplish amazing feats. They can tell by the angle of the sun when spring is coming, and they can call parasitic wasps to rid themselves of caterpillars. Plants vastly outweigh and outnumber animals, so they run this planet. What if, on another planet, they could think like us… and that’s why I wrote a novel.

Sue's book list on making you love plants

Sue Burke Why did Sue love this book?

Here we step into more controversial territory. Is “plant neurobiology” a thing? That is, can they think? Stefano Mancuso says yes, but not like us.

A plant behaves more like a swarm of insects, and each of its parts and cells reacts to changes in its environment, which affect the other cells around it, and in that way, a decentralized intelligence can reach what looks like a decision. Plants find solutions to the problems of life that would never occur to us, and we can copy them to make our own lives better.

Beautiful illustrations will help you fall in love with plants.

By Stefano Mancuso,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"In this thought-provoking, handsomely illustrated book, Italian neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso considers the fundamental differences between plants and animals and challenges our assumptions about which is the 'higher' form of life." -The Wall Street Journal

"Fascinating...full of optimism...this quick, accessible read will appeal to anyone with interest in how plants continue to surprise us." -Library Journal

Do plants have intelligence? Do they have memory? Are they better problem solvers than people? The Revolutionary Genius of Plants-a fascinating, paradigm-shifting work that upends everything you thought you knew about plants-makes a compelling scientific case that these and other astonishing ideas are all true.…


Book cover of Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child

Karin Blak Author Of The Essential Companion to Talking Therapy: Everything You Need to Know about the Therapy Journey

From my list on how we can all be affected by trauma and recovery.

Why am I passionate about this?

Throughout my life as a therapist, I have focused on couple and family relationships, including the relationship we have with ourselves. When trauma was beginning to be recognised as something most people can and do experience, when we began to realise that it isn’t just front-line combat soldiers who get traumatised, I began my journey into how trauma affects our relationships. My study of trauma and relationships has helped my work with clients and, without naming their experiences as trauma, has moved them on from re-enacting the damage caused to them or unknowingly inflicting the same on others. 

Karin's book list on how we can all be affected by trauma and recovery

Karin Blak Why did Karin love this book?

I read Homecoming before becoming a therapist and at the height of struggling with inner conflicts, the sorts that were born from a neglectful childhood. John Bradshaw taught me how to have those necessary conversations that I would have had as a child, if only I had been an adult. As a child, we haven’t got the experience, skills, or authority to point out what we need to feel protected, supported, or loved. I learnt a lot from following the exercises in Homecoming; one very important realisation was that I needed to re-parent myself and I did the best I could.

If I could have a conversation with John Bradshaw, I’d thank him for his book because without it I would probably have repeated some of the damage done to me, on my own child.

By John Bradshaw,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Are you outwardly successful but inwardly do you feel like a big kid? Do you aspire to be a loving parent but all too often “lose it” in hurtful ways? Do you crave intimacy but sometimes wonder if it’s worth the struggle? Or are you plagued by constant vague feelings of anxiety or depression?

If any of this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing the hidden but damaging effects of a painful childhood—carrying within you a “wounded inner child” that is crying out for attention and healing.

In this powerful book, John Bradshaw shows how we can learn to nurture…


Book cover of Memory

Fergus Craik Author Of Memory

From my list on how your memory works – and why it often doesn't.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cognitive psychologist, originally from Scotland, but I have lived and worked in Canada for the last 50 years, first at the University of Toronto, and then at a research institute in Toronto. My passion has always been to understand the human mind – especially memory – through experimental research. Memory is fundamental to our mental life as humans; to a large extent it defines who we are. It is a complex and fascinating topic, and my career has been devoted to devising experiments and theories to understand it better. In our recent book, Larry Jacoby and I attempt to pass on the excitement of unravelling these fascinating mysteries of memory.

Fergus' book list on how your memory works – and why it often doesn't

Fergus Craik Why did Fergus love this book?

If you are really serious about reading up on current research on human memory, then you can do no better than to dive into this excellent textbook written by three prominent British researchers.

The material probably takes more effort to master than the facts and ideas presented in other books on this list, but the reward is an up-to-date understanding of theories and findings in this fast-moving research field, including many studies of how memories are represented in the brain.

The book is lavishly illustrated, and contains many references to real-life situations, thereby relating the theoretical ideas to everyday life. The book is authoritative yet very accessible and entertaining. Highly recommended!

By Alan Baddeley, Michael W. Eysenck, Michael C. Anderson

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The third edition of Memory provides students with the most comprehensive introduction to the study of human memory and its applications in the field. Written by three leading experts, this bestselling textbook delivers an authoritative and accessible overview of key topic areas.

Each chapter combines breadth of content coverage with a wealth of relevant practical examples, whilst the engaging writing style invites the reader to share the authors' fascination with the exploration of memory through their individual areas of expertise. Across the text, the scientific theory is connected to a range of real-world questions and everyday human experiences. As a…


Book cover of This Animal Body

Meredith Walters

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Neuroscience PhD student Frankie Conner has finally gotten her life together—she’s determined to discover the cause of her depression and find a cure for herself and everyone like her. But the first day of her program, she meets a group of talking animals who have an urgent message they refuse to share. And while the animals may not have Frankie’s exalted human brain, they know things she doesn’t, like what happened before she was adopted.

To prove she’s sane, Frankie investigates her forgotten past and conducts clandestine experiments. But just when she uncovers the truth, she has to make an impossible choice: betray the animals she’s fallen in love with—or give up her last chance at success and everything she thought she knew.

By Meredith Walters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Frankie Conner, first-year graduate student at UC Berkeley, is finally getting her life together. After multiple failures and several false starts, she's found her calling: become a neuroscientist, discover the cause of her depression and anxiety, and hopefully find a cure for herself and everyone like her.

But her first day of the program, Frankie meets a mysterious group of talking animals who claim to have an urgent message for her. The problem is, they're not willing to share it. Not yet. Not until she's ready.

While Frankie's new friends may not have her highly evolved, state-of-the-art, exalted human brain,…


Book cover of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

Thomas R. Verny Author Of The Embodied Mind: Understanding the Mysteries of Cellular Memory, Consciousness, and Our Bodies

From my list on neuroscience and the mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a thirteen-year-old boy, I read Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams and I became totally fascinated by Freud’s slow, methodical questioning that eventually revealed deeply hidden unconscious conflicts in the lives of his patients. Then and there I resolved to become a psychiatrist. As a psychiatrist, I explored my patients’ early memories. Over the years, I authored seven books, including The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, published in 28 countries now. I have previously taught at Harvard University, the University of Toronto, York University (Toronto), and St. Mary’s University. This book takes my studies of memory a step further and drills right down to the intelligence of cells.

Thomas' book list on neuroscience and the mind

Thomas R. Verny Why did Thomas love this book?

I like it because it is written almost jargon-free and it’s a lot of fun, as the title indicates. As Sapolsky explains, when we worry or experience stress, our body turns on the same physiological responses that an animal's does. However, animals stop experiencing stress when the environmental emergency passes,  while we humans can worry for long times and thus produces the same physiological responses which, if chronic, can take a toll on our bodies and, if prolonged, can make us sick. 

By Robert M. Sapolsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in a third edition, Robert M. Sapolsky's acclaimed and successful Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers features new chapters on how stress affects sleep and addiction, as well as new insights into anxiety and personality disorder and the impact of spirituality on managing stress. As Sapolsky explains, most of us do not lie awake at night worrying about whether we have leprosy or malaria. Instead, the diseases we fear - and the ones that plague us now - are illnesses brought on by the slow accumulation of damage, such as heart disease and cancer. When we worry or experience stress,…


Book cover of Wired for Love: A Neuroscientist's Journey Through Romance, Loss, and the Essence of Human Connection

Susannah Marren Author Of A Palm Beach Scandal

From Susan's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Professor Gender expert

Susan's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Susannah Marren Why did Susan love this book?

Neuroscientist Dr. Stephanie Cacioppo was single at 37 and content with focusing on the neuroscience of romantic love.

However, everything changed when she met a neuroscientist whose work was on the neuroscience of loneliness, John Cacioppo. After falling in love, they married and shared an office while working at the University of Chicago. Seven years after their wedding, John died of cancer.

Wired for Love not only breaks down Cacioppo’s research about love but is about her own personal experience that she shared with her late husband. Cacioppo’s book shows us how we process love that is lost and how grief and healing affect us. 

By Stephanie Cacioppo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the world’s foremost neuroscientist of romantic love comes a personal story of connection and heartbreak that brings new understanding to an old truth: better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

At thirty-seven, Dr. Stephanie Cacioppo was content to be single. She was fulfilled by her work on the neuroscience of romantic love―how finding and growing with a partner literally reshapes our brains. That was, until she met the foremost neuroscientist of loneliness. A whirlwind romance led to marriage and to sharing an office at the University of Chicago. After seven years of being…


Book cover of Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching, and Results

Jude Sclater Author Of Think Like a Coach: Empower your team through everyday conversations

From my list on managers who want to empower their teams.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a practical, straight-talking New Zealander who has lived in the UK since 2007. I’ve coached managers for over a decade, and one thing they all have in common is that they want to develop and empower their teams. What I love the most about my work is seeing the ‘aha’ moments unfold when they work out a path that is right for them. I’ve chosen these books for the ‘aha’ moments they sparked in me, and I hope they do the same for you.

Jude's book list on managers who want to empower their teams

Jude Sclater Why did Jude love this book?

I love the big message in this book, which is to focus more on finding the right question instead of the right answer.

I read the intro before going into a coaching session and used the idea of question-thinking with the person I was coaching. We looked at the questions she was asking herself as she went into a meeting with her maternity cover and together we turned those into positive and curious ones. She later came back and told me it worked, and the meeting went much better than she thought it would. Personally, I’ve gotten a lot of benefits from noticing when I’m asking myself judger questions and turning those into learner ones instead. Read the book to find out what I mean.

By Marilee Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Change Your Questions, Change Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover how the questions we ask ourselves and others can either expand our mindsets and open us up to exciting new possibilities or constrict our mindsets and limit our choices for successful change.

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life is an international bestseller that has sold over 400,000 copies in twenty-two languages. People have discovered that, when we’re looking for answers, we often forget to take the time to ask the right questions. But, as Dr. Marilee Adams shows, intentionally using questions helps us make wiser choices, find solutions, and transform our personal and professional lives.

Dr. Adams uses a…


Book cover of Decoding Anorexia: How Breakthroughs in Science Offer Hope for Eating Disorders

Karyn D. Hall Author Of The Radically Open DBT Workbook for Eating Disorders: From Overcontrol and Loneliness to Recovery and Connection

From my list on recovery from eating disorders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in psychological health since I was in high school and continue to search for interventions and preventions to alleviate mental illness and build mental health. I’m a licensed psychologist and coach focusing on evidenced based treatments, with a special interest in how people connect and the impact of loneliness. Despite a growing population, more people are feeling lonely, including adolescents, and loneliness can often be a root cause of mental suffering. Loneliness is common among individuals with anorexia and other eating disorders as well as chronic depression. Addressing how to connect and how they may be blocking connections can be a complicated but needed process. My work is focused in this area.

Karyn's book list on recovery from eating disorders

Karyn D. Hall Why did Karyn love this book?

In Decoding Anorexia, a past sufferer of anorexia and a scientist, discusses the neuroscience and biology that underlies the disorder. She notes the reasons for the call to starvation and the characteristics of the people who are at risk for this disorder. She demystifies the disorder by offering a clear science-based explanation that includes the biological and environmental factors that can lead to the disorder. Understanding biology can be helpful in understanding the ups and downs of recovery and why it’s a difficult journey.

By Carrie Arnold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Decoding Anorexia is the first and only book to explain anorexia nervosa from a biological point of view. Its clear, user-friendly descriptions of the genetics and neuroscience behind the disorder is paired with first person descriptions and personal narratives of what biological differences mean to sufferers. Author Carrie Arnold, a trained scientist, science writer, and past sufferer of anorexia, speaks with clinicians, researchers, parents, other family members, and sufferers about the factors that make one vulnerable to anorexia, the neurochemistry behind the call of starvation, and why it's so hard to leave anorexia behind. She also addresses:
* How environment…


Book cover of The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity

Stephen P. Ramocki Author Of Teaching Creativity in Marketing and Business Education: A Concise Compilation of Concepts and Methodologies that Will Increase Students' Creativity

From my list on creativity in marketing and business education.

Why am I passionate about this?

 I have studied creativity for 40 years and, along with the textbook I wrote, I am continually teaching my marketing students how to become more creative.  I have unequivocally demonstrated that everyone who wants to become more creative can do so with the appropriate tutelage.  This is why I get so much satisfaction from teaching creativity and it is why I wrote my book that I am highlighting here.

Stephen's book list on creativity in marketing and business education

Stephen P. Ramocki Why did Stephen love this book?

This book is a compilation of chapters written by (mostly) psychology professors who have dealt with creativity extensively throughout their careers, and I highly recommend it. The topics cover psychometric approaches to creativity, experimental studies in creativity, the history of creativity, biological bases of creativity, the development of creativity, relationships between creativity and intelligence, the types of motivation necessary to produce creative outputs, cultural aspects of creativity, computer modeling in creativity, the development of prodigies, and significant research into creative processes. I gained valuable insights into domains and areas that I never would have considered otherwise.

By Robert J. Sternberg (editor), James C. Kaufman (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This second edition of the renowned Cambridge Handbook of Creativity expands on the first edition with over two thirds new material reaching across psychology, business, entrepreneurship, education, and neuroscience. It introduces creativity scholarship by summarising its history, major theories and assessments, how creativity develops across the lifespan, and suggestions for improving creativity. It also illustrates cutting-edge work on genetics and the neuroscience of creativity, alongside creativity's potential for both benevolence and malevolence. The chapters cover the related areas of imagination, genius, play, and aesthetics and tackle questions about how cultural differences, one's physical environment, mood, and self-belief can impact creativity.…


Book cover of Early Childhood and Neuroscience: Theory, Research and Implications for Practice

Angela Hodgkins Author Of Strength-based Practice with Children and Families

From my list on why working with young children is awesome.

Why am I passionate about this?

My professional background is in working with children, my career began as an NNEB nursery nurse and I did many jobs (nanny, childminder, preschool, reception class, after school club, primary school, special school, and in learning support). I then trained as a teacher of adults and went on to be a college lecturer. I am now a senior university lecturer, but my heart has always been in the early years. I am passionate about highlighting the incredible work that is going on in the early years and in schools and have a strength-based, empowering, and optimistic view, which I try to instill in my students. Working with young children is a privilege and a joy.

Angela's book list on why working with young children is awesome

Angela Hodgkins Why did Angela love this book?

This book is changing the way we view children’s development. It explains brain development in a really easy-to-understand way and it gives a completely child-centred view.

Reading this book will help you to understand children and their behaviour and it will ultimately make you a better practitioner. It is a ‘must’ for anyone working with children.

By Mine Conkbayir,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Highly Commended: Nursery World Awards 2017 Professional Book of the Year Early Childhood and Neuroscience is a practical guide to understanding the complex and challenging subject of neuroscience and its use (and misapplication) in early childhood policy and practice. The author begins by introducing the definition and history of neuroscience. The reader is then led through structured chapters discussing questions such as: Why should practitioners know about neuroscience? How can neuroscience help practitioners better provide for babies and children? and Is it relevant? Topics covered include the nature vs. nurture debate through the lens of neuroscience, epigenetics, the first 1001…


Book cover of Feeling Beauty: The Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience

Anjan Chatterjee Author Of The Aesthetic Brain: How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art

From my list on the science of art and aesthetics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by beauty and art. As a child growing up in India, I sketched frequently. Later, I became obsessed with photography. In 1999, I moved from my first academic job to join the newly forming Center of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. The move was an opportunity to rethink my research program. In addition to studying spatial cognition, attention, and language, I decided to investigate the biological basis of aesthetic experiences. At the time there was virtually no scholarship in the neuroscience of aesthetics. It has been an exciting journey to watch this field grow. And, it has been exhilarating to start the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics, the first research center of its kind in the US.

Anjan's book list on the science of art and aesthetics

Anjan Chatterjee Why did Anjan love this book?

This book is an excellent example of interdisciplinarity. Gabrielle Starr is a humanist—a literary scholar, by training—who probes neuroscience methods and how brain sciences can contribute to our understanding of aesthetics. She addresses literature, poetry, music, and visual art with ideas informed by experimental neuroaesthetics work.

By G. Gabrielle Starr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A theory of the neural bases of aesthetic experience across the arts, which draws on the tools of both cognitive neuroscience and traditional humanist inquiry.

In Feeling Beauty, G. Gabrielle Starr argues that understanding the neural underpinnings of aesthetic experience can reshape our conceptions of aesthetics and the arts. Drawing on the tools of both cognitive neuroscience and traditional humanist inquiry, Starr shows that neuroaesthetics offers a new model for understanding the dynamic and changing features of aesthetic life, the relationships among the arts, and how individual differences in aesthetic judgment shape the varieties of aesthetic experience.

Starr, a scholar…