The most recommended books about schizophrenia

Who picked these books? Meet our 63 experts.

63 authors created a book list connected to schizophrenia, and here are their favorite schizophrenia books.
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Book cover of A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash

Ted Anton Author Of Programmable Planet: The Synthetic Biology Revolution

From my list on sizzling science books that simplify.

Who am I?

I have written four books of popular science, and edited a fifth collection of my favorite science writers. I have been a judge for the 2022 Science in Society Book Awards for the National Association of Science Writers. I taught popular science writing for 34 years to undergraduates and graduates alike. Most of all, I love the wonder and awe of understanding the world around us.

Ted's book list on sizzling science books that simplify

Ted Anton Why did Ted love this book?

A stunning biography of a brilliant mathematician, John Forbes Nash, and his descent and resurrection from madness, that became a hit movie.

Nasar makes both the mathematics and the personality of an early, unusual and important game theorist come alive for even the most math-adverse reader. This is an unusual account of recovery, of a mind apprehending the world of human competition, and a poetical love and coming-of-age story.

By Sylvia Nasar,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Beautiful Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**Also an Academy Award–winning film starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly—directed by Ron Howard**

The powerful, dramatic biography of math genius John Nash, who overcame serious mental illness and schizophrenia to win the Nobel Prize.

“How could you, a mathematician, believe that extraterrestrials were sending you messages?” the visitor from Harvard asked the West Virginian with the movie-star looks and Olympian manner. “Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way my mathematical ideas did,” came the answer. “So I took them seriously.”

Thus begins the true story of John Nash, the mathematical genius who…

Book cover of Magical Child: Rediscovering Nature's Plan For Our Children

David Sobel Author Of Wild Play: Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors

From my list on bonding your children with nature.

Who am I?

In 1972, I started an early childhood center in the Monadnock Region in New Hampshire. The focus was on child-centered education, with an emphasis on working with children outdoors. I've spent the last 50 years continuing to connect children with nature in schools, nature centers, national parks, museums, and in families. I taught graduate courses in developmental psychology, cognitive development, place-based education and have done hundreds of professional development workshops for early childhood and elementary school teachers. As a father, I focused on connecting my own children with nature. My son is a ski coach and runs an ecotourism kayaking business. My daughter is a theater director and writes grants for an environmental non-profit. 

David's book list on bonding your children with nature

David Sobel Why did David love this book?

Joseph Pearce picked me up while I was hitchhiking when I was about 20 years old, and the intense conversation we had that day changed my life. Magical Child is a landmark book that questioned our conventional thinking about parenting, childbirth practices, and the value of bonding our children with the natural world. Pearce provides an alternative model of child development with an emphasis on the child bonding with the earth matrix between about six and twelve years old. This bonding allows children to feel at home, independent, and secure in the natural world. This book inspired a lot of what I describe of my parenting in my own book

By Joseph Chilton Pearce,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Magical Child, a classic work, profoundly questioned the current thinking on childbirth pratices, parenting, and educating our children. Now its daring ideas about how Western society is damaging our children, and how we can better nurture them and ourselves, ring truer than ever. From the very instant of birth, says Joseph Chilton Pearce, the human child has only one concern: to learn all that there is to learn about the world. This planet is the child's playground, and nothing should interfere with a child's play. Raised this way, the Magical Child is a happy genius, capable of anything, equipped to…

Book cover of The Experience Machine: How Our Minds Predict and Shape Reality

Susan Blackmore Author Of The Meme Machine

From Susan's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Professor Consciousness researcher Meditator Psychonaut Samba drummer

Susan's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Susan Blackmore Why did Susan love this book?

I loved this book because it changed the way I see the world. Andy describes the latest thinking about perception as ‘controlled hallucination.’ What we are doing when we see is making predictions about the world and then updating them as the information comes in.

Our nervous system is a multi-layered hierarchical predictive processing network, and our experiences are the hallucinations it creates while trying to make sense of the world.

I found all my experience changed – and is still changing – by beginning to understand the theory of predictive processing. This applies as much to my daily meditation as walking around in nature or sitting at my desk working.

By Andy Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For as long as we've studied the mind, we've believed that information flowing from our senses determines what our mind perceives. But as our understanding has advanced in the last few decades, a hugely powerful new view has flipped this assumption on its head. The brain is not a passive receiver, but an ever-active predictor.

At the forefront of this cognitive revolution is widely acclaimed philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark, who has synthesized his ground-breaking work on the predictive brain to explore its fascinating mechanics and implications. Among the most stunning of these is the realization that experience itself,…

Book cover of The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World

Laurie Lico Albanese Author Of Hester

From my list on female magic, witches, potions and spells.

Who am I?

I love historical fiction because it brings history and people from the past to life, showing us their struggles and their secrets—especially the women! Since my first historical novel, The Miracles of Prato, I've been paying attention to the women whose stories haven't been told. When I realized Hester Prynne is our first American historical feminist heroine—indeed, our American Eve and our original badass single mom—I knew I had to let her tell her story.  

Laurie's book list on female magic, witches, potions and spells

Laurie Lico Albanese Why did Laurie love this book?

This new and acclaimed book about the first witch trial in America in 1651 Springfield, Massachusetts, reads like a novel in which two outsiders, Hugh Parsons and his vision-seeing wife Mary (who probably suffered from paranoid schizophrenia or post-partum psychosis) become the target of an entire town. Puritan laws and Old World medieval folk tales contribute to the sense of darkness and foreboding that prevail over the town and its inhabitants, reminding us that New England was a dark land, isolated and full of enemies, hungry and poor and primed to be swept up by diabolical accusations and actions. Read this for a deep understanding of the causes and consequences of the American witch trials. 

By Malcolm Gaskill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


'The best and most enjoyable kind of history writing' Hilary Mantel

'A bona fide historical classic' Sunday Times

Simply one of the best history books I have ever read' BBC History

In the frontier town of Springfield in 1651, peculiar things begin to happen. Precious food spoils, livestock ails and property vanishes. People suffer fits and are plagued by strange visions and dreams. Children sicken and die. As tensions rise, rumours spread of witches and heretics, and the community becomes tangled in a web of spite, distrust…

Book cover of The Shock of the Fall

Amy McLellan Author Of Remember Me

From my list on crime fiction that explore how our brains work.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by the brain, which, despite all our medical advances, remains a mysterious black box of humbling power and complexity. When I started researching prosopagnosia (face blindness) for Remember Me, I was surprised to find it’s a much-underdiagnosed condition. Those born with it often don’t realise “it’s a thing” until later in life, when the diagnosis explains many difficulties they encounter in daily life. My main character Sarah develops social anxiety as a result yet many people develop coping techniques and live full professional and personal lives. I currently live in Mauritius with my author husband, Adam Hamdy, and our three children.  

Amy's book list on crime fiction that explore how our brains work

Amy McLellan Why did Amy love this book?

This isn’t a crime book but it does involve an unravelling of a mystery. The story spans three timelines, childhood recollections of a tragic accident, in which the main character Matt’s brother dies, the aftermath of the incident and then the present day, in which Matt is being treated for schizophrenia in a mental hospital. Too often those suffering with schizophrenia get a hackneyed handling by creatives but author Nathan Flier, a former mental health nurse, paints vivid and insightful observations into this poorly misunderstood condition. 

By Nathan Filer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?




'I'll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name's Simon. I think you're going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he'll be dead. And he was never the same after that.'

There are books you can't stop reading, which keep you up all night.

There are books which let us into the hidden parts of life and make…

Book cover of The Memory Palace

Karen Harmon Author Of Where Is My Happy Ending?: A Journey of No Regrets

From my list on mental health, addiction, and families.

Who am I?

I have the expertise for this topic because I was raised in a loving home with a mother who struggled with bipolar disorder. At times my life was hilariously adventurous or heart-wrenchingly sad. Given little direction, I married an alcoholic and then went on to work at a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center. I have fallen on hard times, but at the age of thirty-two, as a single mother collecting welfare, I managed to grief, heal and dig myself out, creating a rewarding life. I am optimistic, and I try to find humour in all things, especially after the tears and healing have subsided. My writing has brought me tremendous healing and joy.

Karen's book list on mental health, addiction, and families

Karen Harmon Why did Karen love this book?

A harrowing and beautiful tale of two sisters growing up with a paranoid schizophrenic mother. The author describes a fine line between gentle artistic creativity and debilitating mental illness. The reader will come away with a better understanding of how deeply children are affected growing up in a dysfunctional and traumatic environment. A mother's love and a journey to forgiveness teach us the complex meaning of love.

By Mira Bartok,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of The Glass Castle, two sisters confront schizophrenia in this New York Times bestselling poignant memoir about family and mental illness. Through stunning prose and original art, The Memory Palace captures the love between mother and daughter, the complex meaning of truth, and one family’s capacity for forgiveness.

*A Washington Post Best Book of the Year *
*The National Book Critics Circle Award Winner for Best Autobiography*

“People have abandoned their loved ones for much less than you’ve been through,” Mira Bartók is told at her mother’s memorial service. It is a poignant observation about the relationship…

Book cover of Conscious Mind, Resonant Brain: How Each Brain Makes a Mind

Ogi Ogas Author Of Journey of the Mind: How Thinking Emerged from Chaos

From my list on the great and marvelous mystery of consciousness.

Who am I?

I am an artist and mathematical neuroscientist. I’ve spent my life cracking some of reality’s greatest mysteries, including consciousness, self-consciousness, language, music, suffering, pain, anesthesia, compassionate love, extraterrestrial communication, and autism.

Ogi's book list on the great and marvelous mystery of consciousness

Ogi Ogas Why did Ogi love this book?

This is it. The Bible of the Mind. The Codex of Consciousness. The Scroll of the Soul. Stephen Grossberg’s masterwork is a comprehensive mathematical account of human cognition.

Pick any part of the brain, any mental function—a sodium channel, a pyramidal neuron, a circadian circuit, a cerebellar lobe, audio recognition, hate, melodic preferences, linguistic meaning, throwing a spear at a target, visual memory, schizophrenia, free will—and Dr. Grossberg has put math to it. You’ll find that math in this book.

But be forewarned: this book is very, very, very challenging. The math isn’t derived from some other field of science. Because consciousness is not a subset of electromagnetism or a variety of planetary orbit. Consciousness is its own unique thing in the cosmos, and demands its own unique math.

Sophisticated, ornery math. Inaccessible math for most of us, sadly, but if you want to take a shot at the Finnegan’s…

By Stephen Grossberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Conscious Mind, Resonant Brain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How does your mind work? How does your brain give rise to your mind? These are questions that all of us have wondered about at some point in our lives, if only because everything that we know is experienced in our minds. They are also very hard questions to answer. After all, how can a mind understand itself? How can you understand something as complex as the tool that is being used to understand it?

This book provides an introductory and self-contained description of some of the exciting answers to these questions that modern theories of mind and brain have…

Book cover of Breathless

Brandi Reeds Author Of Trespassing

From my list on starring empowered women.

Who am I?

My life, in particular, has been a series of challenges to overcome, from an attempted kidnapping at age eight to surviving breast cancer (twice!) before the age of forty-five. I believe in a world of equal opportunity, but I know the pursuit of happiness takes hard work. As a general contractor in the male-dominated construction industry, I’m well aware of gender biases in our world and the dedication it takes to overcome them. However, the struggle empowers us all, and even small victories inspire us to overcome adversity. Life is a survival story, and art imitates life. So I crave, read, and write novels starring empowered women.

Brandi's book list on starring empowered women

Brandi Reeds Why did Brandi love this book?

Breathless is Warman’s first full-length novel, perhaps lesser known than some of her others, and it’s a brilliant example of coming to age. Warman’s style is propulsive and character-driven. Katie, often overlooked due to the attention her older brother requires, is forced to make her own way in the world. She attends boarding school and finds family among people to whom she has no biological relation.

I first met Warman while earning a master’s degree in writing alongside her.  Needless to say, I learned as much from her as from our instructors. Her ability to throw a reader into immediate conflict, as well as her talent to put one at ease, is notable—especially here, where her young protagonist navigates a crooked path to the promise of happiness.

By Jessica Warman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Breathless as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

When Katie Kitrell is shipped off to boarding school, it doesn't take her long to become part of the It Crowd. She's smart, she's cute, and she's a swimming prodigy who has a first-class ticket to any Ivy League school of her choice. But what her new friends, roommate, and boyfriend don't know is that Katie is swimming away from the secrets of her past, and from the schizophrenic older brother, Will, who won't let her go. As Katie's star rises, Will descends deeper into insanity. And when he does the unthinkable, it's all Katie can do to keep her…

Book cover of Challenger Deep

Ann Jacobus Author Of The Coldest Winter I Ever Spent

From my list on young readers that deal with mental illness.

Who am I?

I’m an American author of young adult novel Romancing the Dark in the City of Light and other fiction for younger readers as well as a trained suicide prevention counselor and mental health advocate. I have long been pulled by the subject of suicide since struggling with depression as an adolescent. Along with my pal, author and psychologist Nancy Bo Flood, we read and keep track of exceptional, traditionally-published books dealing with mental illness—that of the main character or of someone they love—that avoid tropes and stereotypes, model characters seeking and receiving help and support and ultimately coping, all while pursuing their goals and dreams like any other fictional people. 

Ann's book list on young readers that deal with mental illness

Ann Jacobus Why did Ann love this book?

A fascinating, revealing, and sometimes difficult trip into the mind of Caden Bosch, who suffers from schizoaffective disorder, and his wildly creative and disconcerting forays into an alternate reality while suffering an episode. As if trying to navigate high school and family life weren’t hard enough. Co-written with the author’s son who suffers from this mental illness, the novel won the U.S. National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. It captures the fear and confusion as well as the beauty and ineffable nature of a mind perceiving the world differently than most of ours do.

By Neal Shusterman, Brendan Shusterman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Challenger Deep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

National Book Award and Golden Kite Award Winner A captivating novel about mental illness that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman. Caden Bosch is on a ship that's headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench. Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior. Caden Bosch is designated the ship's artist in residence to document the journey with images. Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track…

Book cover of The Discovery of the Art of the Insane

Colm O'Shea Author Of James Joyce's Mandala

From my list on rationally investigating mystical and psychotic experience.

Who am I?

My research into the overlap between mysticism and schizophrenia has garnered one academic monograph on James Joyce, with another on Charlie Kaufman’s films and fiction due out in 2025 (both from Routledge). For 15 years, I’ve been a writing professor at New York University, and the two things I want to impart to my students are: 1) the courage to pursue a singular question or unique viewpoint and (2) the compassion to write clearly for the reader! All five books on my list don’t shy away from profound questions of what it is to be a complex spiritual being, but they always remain lucid and engaging for a general audience. 

Colm's book list on rationally investigating mystical and psychotic experience

Colm O'Shea Why did Colm love this book?

MacGregor’s book blew my mind when I first read it. This masterful history reveals the discovery of a secret treasure, one that eventually transformed the art world.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, mental asylums in Europe began experimenting with art therapy, allowing psychotic inmates access to drawing materials. Over seventeen chapters jam-packed with astounding images, MacGregor’s book tracks the evolution of what is now known as Outsider art and the profound effect it had (and continues to have) on avant-garde art.

I love MacGregor’s ability to marry the rigor of a scholar with a humane and sensitive commentary on the lives of these forgotten "schizophrenic masters.” This book inspired my own research into schizophrenic art and is my go-to source for inspiration on this theme. 

By John M. MacGregor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This pioneering work, the first history of the art of the insane, scrutinizes changes in attitudes toward the art of the mentally ill from a time when it was either ignored or ridiculed, through the era when major figures in the art world discovered the extraordinary power of visual statements by psychotic artists such as Adolf Wlfli and Richard Dadd. John MacGregor draws on his dual training in art history and in psychiatry and psychoanalysis to describe not only this evolution in attitudes but also the significant influence of the art of the mentally ill on the development of modern…