Why learn about Psychology?
Learning about psychology has a number of benefits: firstly, it helps you in self-introspection and motivates you to do better in life, secondly, it helps you understand the behaviour and motives of others around you, thus making you understand them better. Psychology is the bridge between science and arts and hence considered “soft science.” But it has enormous potential. You can learn about a broad number of topics like Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Positive Psychology, and so on.
We have compiled a list of top 10 books on psychology to help you better understand this subject!
1. Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor E. Frankl
In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor E. Frankl, a psychiatrist himself shares his personal experiences with his patients and tries to devise the meaning of life. The book is divided into two parts. The first part covers Frankl’s experiences as a prisoner in the Nazi camp and his horrifying experience. The second part of the book is based on the therapy that he discovered, namely, logotherapy. It talks about the same about people who can find a purpose in life gain the strength to tide over difficult times.
This book by Frankl has enlightened the minds of the young and the old for several generations and continues to do so. It is one of the most influential books of all time making it our first choice in the top 10 books on Psychology.
2. Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships by Eric Berne
Published in 1964, Games People Play ranks second in our list of top 10 books on Psychology due to its enormous popularity. In this eye-opener, Dr. Berne suggests that all the behavior that we encounter every day can be understood as different kinds of “games”. These are sexual games, marital games, or merely competitive games with our friends. Dr. Berne goes on to explain the secrets behind an intimate relationship.
Games People Play provides numerous explanations about human behaviors and makes us understand concepts that we have never been familiar with before. It also brings out the hidden nature of some behaviors that may seem negative on the outside but subconsciously it gives a reason to complain to the significant other and people tend to enjoy it unintentionally. It is one of the best books about close relationships and intimacy.
3. Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the dark side of the psyche by Robert A. Johnson
Taking the third place in our top 10 books in Psychology, Owning Your Shadow is a powerful creation of a Jungian named Robert A. Johnson. In this book, Johnson tends to explore the dark side of our psyche, a term determined by Carl Jung to describe the unlit part of the ego. He further says that we all have a shadow — a part of ourselves that we do not present in front of others.
The central idea of the book is to be able to make sense of our dark side or shadow and welcome it with open arms. It is the key to having a healthy psyche. Owning Your Own Shadow presents an elaborate picture of accepting yourself and honouring it. If not, it may turn up at unexpected places and cause pain.
4. A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax
Next in our list of top 10 books in Psychology is A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by comedian and actor, Ruby Wax. If you are struggling with stress or anxiety and don’t know how to start with mindfulness then this book might be your pick. It is extremely readable and interesting since Wax makes use of simple concepts to understand the functioning of the brain and the role of mindfulness in it.
Ruby talks about making use of mindfulness in parenting, and also for children. She makes use of simple exercises that can be applied in real life to cope up with stress. Her understanding of mindfulness is like a breath of fresh air and provides the best introduction to this topic. Ruby’s extensive use of wit and humour just adds on to the book’s charm.
5. Your Voice in My Head by Emma Forest
Your Voice in My Head is a poignant representation of depression by the author. It is a eulogy by Emma for her dead psychiatrist who died of lung cancer without informing her about the same. The book is a memoir of her experiences and real-life incidents with her therapist’s voice in her head. The voice constantly urges her to do the right thing in all situations and also saves her from suicide.
Emma’s writing is brutally honest and she does not shy away from capturing the ugly moments in her life with utmost sincerity. From her failed relationships to idiotic obsessions, she captures it all. This book is for everyone who has experienced a mental illness at some point in their life. And even if you have not, it is still worth a read.
6. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
In our list of the top 10 books in psychology, it is very important to include books that talk about depression since the rate of suicides is increasing with every passing day. Published in 2015, Matt’s Reasons to Stay Alive is an amazingly written book that talks about suicide in the most brilliant way. It is easy to read and understand even when you are not in a mood to read or do any kind of activity.
The best thing about this book is Matt’s beautiful writing. The way he captures the essence of mental illness is highly commendable. Reasons to Stay Alive is a book that will give you the courage to deal with your suicidal thoughts and be open about it to others. It is important that people read this book and understand the significance of mental health.
7. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Published first in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye is our best pick for teenage mental health in our top 10 books in psychology. The book revolves around the central character, Houlden Caulfield, a sixteen-year-old residing in New York. Houlden is the voice of every teenager facing problems in their daily life to cope up with everyday activities. Houlden gives you hope that it is completely okay to feel anxious, stressed, or depressed.
Houlden is simple and complex at the same time. A common condition with every teenager these days. The book subtlely explains difficult terms and rises above all boundaries.
With its brilliant themes such as innocence, identity, sexuality, and lack of identity, this is considered a masterpiece of J.D. Salinger’s classic teenage fiction. It also became a part of the best 100 English books for the year 2005.
8. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar takes you into the world of Esther Greenwood, a brilliant, talented, and smart mind who is slowly losing grip over her life. The book is extensively based on depression. It is multi-layered and so beautifully written that it makes you feel the pain that Esther is going through. The title of the book directly refers to the feeling of stuck under a bell jar. What’s interesting about The Bell Jar is the way mental illness was regarded and treated before.
The Bell Jar does not glorify mental illness like other books but presents it in utmost honesty. Esther’s breakdown seems perfectly real and believable. It makes you believe that it can happen to everyone, you, me, and everyone else in the world. Everyone who is struggling with thoughts in their head, even if they express it or don’t, it is existent and very much real.
9. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Set in 1967, this book by Susanna Kaysen records her real-life experience as an eighteen-year-old who first meets with a psychiatrist, a complete stranger, and then suddenly sent to a psychiatric hospital named McLean. A scared Sussana spends the next two years of her life in a psychiatric ward with other teenage girls suffering from numerous mental illnesses. Sussana is one of the sanest people and hence, meets a variety of interesting people there and records her experiences in her book.
The characters in Girl, Interrupted by Susanna suffer from all kinds of mental illnesses like a borderline personality disorder, sociopathy, OCD, child abuse, schizophrenia, and so on. It thus provides a deep insight into the world of such people, their daily struggles, and their coping mechanisms. It does not have any assigned plot but rather is a story of an unhappy woman trying to make her way through life.
10. Heartburn by Nora Ephron
In the last recommendation of our top 10 books in psychology, we have Heartburn by Nora Ephron. The book is centered on the themes of failed marriages, adultery, depression, group therapy, and amidst all this, cooking. Heartburn does not particularly talk about depression but it makes all the horrible incidents happening to the protagonist, Rachel Samstat extremely funny. Ephron’s ability to add humor to the bleakest of moments is highly commendable.
Ephron has dealt with the saddest of things and made it funny with her writing. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time. The book follows an optimistic approach and leaves you with a ray of hope. Between all the chaos, Rachel offers some irresistible recipes to keep your soul as well as stomach satisfied. All in all, it is the most endearing, charming, witty, and edible book to ever exist on depression!
So, that sums up our list of the top 10 books on Psychology. If you have further recommendations, you can tell us in the comment section below. We all need to understand the significance of Mental Health and how it is extremely important to make more people aware about the same. If you are facing any trouble during this turbulent time, talk to a close friend or family member. Take proper care of yourself and your mental health.
If you enjoyed this blog, you will also enjoy our blog on the top 10 books on meditation, here.