Reading List

Here’s a list of psychology-related books that I recommend reading. These are roughly organized by topic, though some books may fit in multiple categories. If you’re looking for your next great psychology read, I hope you can find something new here. I’m always looking to read more, so feel free to send me your suggestions!

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Scientific Method / Skepticism

Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time – Michael Shermer

Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions – James Randi


Biology and the Brain

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind – V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee

Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain – Antonio Damasio

Who’s in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain – Michael Gazzaniga

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales – Oliver Sacks

How the Mind Works – Steven Pinker

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain – John Ratey

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers – David Perlmutter

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science – Norman Doidge


Genetics and Evolutionary Theory

On the Origin of Species – Charles Darwin

The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary edition – Richard Dawkins

The Evolution Of Desire – Revised Edition 4 – David Buss


Sensation and Perception

An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales – Oliver Sacks

Hallucinations– Oliver Sacks (my review here)


Walden Two – B.F. Skinner



The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers – Daniel L. Schacter

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything – Joshua Foer

How to Develop a Brilliant Memory Week by Week: 50 Proven Ways to Enhance Your Memory Skills – Dominic O’Brien



The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language – Steven Pinker



Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions – Dan Ariely


Consciousness & Meditation/Mindfulness

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness, 25th anniversary edition – Ellen Langer

The Illusion of Conscious Will – Daniel Wegner

Consciousness – J. Allan Hobson

Dreaming: A Very Short Introduction – J. Allan Hobson

Flow – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


Emotion, Motivation, & Mindset

Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain – Antonio Damasio

The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life – Joseph LeDoux

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It – Kelly McGonigal

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol Dweck

The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence – Josh Waitzkin

The Straight-A Conspiracy: Your Secret Guide to Ending the Stress of School and Totally Ruling the World – Hunter Maats and Katie O’Brien

A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the Internet Tells Us About Sexual Relationships – Ogi Ogas & Sai Gaddam


Social Psychology

Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do – Claude Steele

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference – Malcolm Gladwell

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil – Philip Zimbardo

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition – Robert Cialdini

Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments – Gina Perry (my review here)


Stress & Health

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping – Robert Sapolsky


Abnormal Psychology

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry – Jon Ronson

Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us – Robert Hare

Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness – Kay Redfield Jamison

Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism – Temple Grandin

Cracked: The Unhappy Truth About Psychiatry – James Davies


Positive Psychology

Stumbling on Happiness – Daniel Gilbert

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work – Shawn Achor

The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want – Sonja Lyubomirsky

Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being – Martin Seligman

Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment – Tal Ben-Shahar