The best psychologist books

4 authors have picked their favorite books about psychologist and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection

Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection

By Deborah Blum,

Why this book?

If you want to know the real story about “attachment theory” this is the book. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist Blum, it’s the tale of psychologist Harry Harlow and his experiments with rhesus monkeys and how that changed parenting in America. Fabulous read.

From the list:

The best books on the anthropology of parenting

Book cover of A Flicker in the Dark

A Flicker in the Dark

By Stacy Willingham,

Why this book?

Be prepared to plunge into the Louisiana swamp and discover the dark side of Baton Rouge. Chloe Davis may have escaped her convicted killer father’s horrific legacy, but when young women start to go missing in the city where she now lives, Chloe is dragged back to the hometown that haunts her. The Louisiana setting feels wholly authentic and adds an eeriness to this dark story. A Flicker in the Dark is a must-read for fans of unpredictable page-turners and tense, high-stakes serial killer thrillers.

From the list:

The best atmospheric mystery books that transport you to a dark and dangerous place

Book cover of The Girl Within

The Girl Within

By Emily Hancock,

Why this book?

I’m just realising now that some of my favourite books were accidental finds – I think that this one turned up at a sidewalk sale. The author is a psychologist who uses the life stories of twenty women to illustrate her theory that girls are their most powerful, authentic selves up to the age of about twelve; that after that, their sense of personhood comes under attack from a whole range of sources, so that much of adulthood is spent trying to piece that pre-teen girl and her distinct sense of self back together. It’s extremely convincing and something I’ve…

From the list:

The best books about smart girls figuring out hard stuff

Book cover of My Years with Ayn Rand

My Years with Ayn Rand

By Nathaniel Branden,

Why this book?

Nathaniel Branden’s account of his relationship with Rand is honest and deeply emotional. For a psychologist who writes mainly on the theme of self-esteem, this book is a bit of a departure from his usual works, but for any fan of Rand and her volatile relationship with a man nearly half her age, it is well worth the read.

From the list:

The best books about strong independent women who succeed in a male-dominated world

Book cover of Quantum Night

Quantum Night

By Robert J. Sawyer,

Why this book?

I found this book to be one of the most amazing and compelling works of science fiction ever written because it dares to answer the basic question of not only who we are, but why. Have you ever wondered what makes people act the way they do to others? Why are some empathetic while others will step over their best friend’s corpse in order to get ahead? And why do many appear to simply be along for the ride, not caring one way or another, never leaving their mark on anything they touch? Once you read this book, it will…

From the list:

The best books on which to contemplate our place in the universe

Book cover of The Choice: Embrace the Possible

The Choice: Embrace the Possible

By Edith Eva Eger,

Why this book?

Part memoir, part self-help, part counselling session, this book is a must-read. It doesn't hide the truth, gets very dark in places, and is likely to be triggering for some, but it is written with such strength and love, it is ultimately healing. I couldn't of course relate to the author as a holocaust survivor but her story of overcoming a 'why me' guilt, letting go of perfectionism, and embracing the choice to be free spoke to me in a profound way. Every chapter has some amazing takeaways but I will leave you with this one: "to heal is to…

From the list:

The best self-help memoir books that will help you make the most of your one precious life

Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning

By Viktor Frankl,

Why this book?

This book helped me gain a deeper understanding of how it is important to keep one’s mind in a positive headspace and how that aids you in life. I have always tried to be a positive person and set goals for myself in my life, and reading this book just reinforced the importance. A key point in the book was how having a vision and purpose sets one up for success in the long haul. I believe that finding out what our purpose is in life is something all people truly desire to know. The author also gives many examples…

From the list:

The best inspirational books on how to turn life’s tragedies into victories

Book cover of Changes That Heal: Four Practical Steps to a Happier, Healthier You

Changes That Heal: Four Practical Steps to a Happier, Healthier You

By Henry Cloud,

Why this book?

Dr. Henry Cloud, a clinical psychologist and Christian, has identified 4 areas of our lives that can really stunt us emotionally if they are out of balance. These 4 areas are bonding; boundaries; perception of good and bad; and emotional maturity. The book brings insight into these areas, which in turn brings healing. I’ve read this book twice about a decade apart, and both times, it changed my life massively for the better.

From the list:

The best books on overcoming anxiety

Book cover of The Courage to Be Me: A Story of Courage, Self-Compassion and Hope After Sexual Abuse

The Courage to Be Me: A Story of Courage, Self-Compassion and Hope After Sexual Abuse

By Nina Burrowes, Alexander Bertram-Powell (illustrator),

Why this book?

Post #metoo there’s a lot more awareness around sexual abuse and assault, but still few books to help readers to understand why it impacts them the way it does. 

In The Courage to Be Me, cartooning psychologist Nina Burrowes presents what we know from the science of sexual trauma, and tells the stories of a group who support each other around their experiences. 

Having several different stories, all illustrated by different comic artists, emphasises the diverse forms that assault and abuse can take, and the ways in which they hit us all differently. Despite the tough topics covered, this…

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The best comic books about sexuality

Book cover of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

By Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish,

Why this book?

I love this book because it’s so darn sensible. It’s also written in an easy-to-relate style, and even if you “don’t have time to read a parenting book,” you can get quite a few of the main concepts by simply reading the comics. This book helps you see what bad habits you’ve fallen into, and how it’s quite possible to turn around your relationship with your child. Also look for their companion books which are equally good: Siblings Without Rivalry and How to Talk so Kids Can Learn At Home and in School.

From the list:

The best parenting books that will make you think (or re-think)

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