By Akanksha Sharma
Psychology is an area of study that has long commanded the interest of millions of people around the world, including me. As a child, I had been very geeky, someone who did not fare very well with people and social situations. The human mind was a mystery to me, both mine and others’. Today, I am much closer to uncovering those delicious mysteries than ever. However, there is still so much to learn! Everyday I am stunned on learning new things about the human brain and emotions, and how they work.
Now, keeping my own personal interest aside, I want to assert that a good knowledge of psychology, will help you solve lots of problems in your life. Not just people problems, but problems related to success, failure, finances, good health and enlightenment. Most of the problems in our life arise as a result of faulty or negative thought patterns, which manifest in different ways. They can manifest as failure, addictions, chronic poor health, and problematic personal and professional relationships etc. among others.
The intriguing and scientific information about psychology makes us more self-aware and empowers us to make better decisions. We become more resilient and wise, and we are able to bounce back from the tough challenges of life with more grace. I want the readers of Indspire Me to lead their best possible lives. This is my intention for myself and also for you all.
The Psychology books that I am listing out, lean more towards practical psychology rather than a purely theoretical understanding of psychology. They are more applications based and will be of interest to those people who are struggling with a particular area of their life, and want to find out the key to succeeding in it.
So, here are ten of the best Psychology books that I have ever read. I would be ever so delighted if you find value in this list.
This is a beautifully illustrated biography of the most famous and prolific psychologist of the 21st century, Carl Gustav Jung. It features some stunning paintings and illustrations, some by Jung himself.
Jung, who died in 1961 at the age of 85, led nothing short of an inspirational life. Indeed, reading the biography, I was amazed that one man could accomplish so much in a single lifetime, while at the same time maintaining his spiritual integrity. I think Jung is an example for the entirety of humanity of the potential of human beings, and what all we can accomplish if only we divert our energies to the right things, to the things that matter.
Jung always exhorted people to get in touch with their unconscious mind, as a process of individuation. He had an uncanny intuition for people and what motivates them. This strong intuition was coupled with an incredibly brilliant and logical mind. I highly recommend lovers of psychology to get this beautiful book as a valuable addition to their collection or library. Some of the quotes that touched me the most from this book are as follows:
“The journey from cloud cuckoo land to reality lasted a long time. In my case Pilgrims Progress consisted in my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out my hand to the little clod of earth that I am.”
“Doubt and insecurity are indispensable components of a complete life. Only those who can lose this life really can gain it.”
The Five Love Languages is one book that will really help you to understand the different ways in which people prefer to receive love. The premise of this book is that the way in which you wish to receive love may be radically different from the way in which your partner wishes to receive love. Gary Chapman posits that there are five such different ways- or five love languages as he calls them. The book has been written in a very practical way, and is beloved by lovers all over the world. If you care about your partner, and want to make your relationship happy and successful, then this book is a must-read for you. I especially recommend The Five Love Languages for couples who are about to get married.
- 16 Personality Types in Organizations: Understanding Personality Differences in the Workplace by Dr Linda Berens
We spend so much of our time in the workplace, and a big part of our happiness and identity is also closely tied to our work. What if we could eliminate or highly reduce misunderstandings and miscommunications with our co-workers, subordinates and supervisors? This book enlightens us about the different personality types that abound in organizations, their strengths, weaknesses and communications styles.
You will get to know the best ways to deal with these personalities. This book is recommended for those readers who already have some knowledge about the Myers Briggs concepts. It may not be the best choice for those who are completely foreign to these concepts.
- Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel by Lisa Cron
This is one of the most useful psychology books that I have ever read. It gave me a brilliant road-map to write my children’s book that was published this August, called Don’t Let the Kitten Drive the Car. This book tells you what drives curiosity in readers, how to start and finish chapters, how to plan out and map out a book and how to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ emotions. You will learn how to create or ‘write’ a protagonist that has depth, and is someone that readers will relate to and be moved by. If you are someone who has started numerous books and stories, but has struggled to finish any, then this is the perfect book to help you overcome that obstacle.
This is a lovely book for those of us who are struggling to communicate in the most comfortable and effective ways, both personally and professionally. The best part about the book is that, it is divided into sub-sections which address some of the most common situations in which one has to communicate and step out of one’s comfort zone.
This book will teach you how to present yourself with strength and warmth. It is an invaluable tool for people who have difficulties understanding, why, despite the best of intentions, they are not getting the personal or professional success that they want.
This book is a gem for people who are tired of being over-worked, stressed out and over-whelmed as a result of not being able to say no. People who cannot say no take on more emotional, mental and work related burdens than they can bear. They feel guilty when they refuse doing favours for others. Also, they are prone to being taken advantage of by less than scrupulous individuals. This book will empower them with the techniques they need to assert themselves. The information will help clear their mind of the false assumptions that make them say ‘Yes’ to everything and everyone (even when they really just want to say no).
This book is simply a blessing and a boon for people who struggle with their emotions, and with expressing them in meaningful and constructive ways. Some of us do repress and suppress our deepest feelings, and we fail to parent ourselves and meet our own needs. We expect the people in our lives to take care of our emotional health. We indulge in self-destructive and negative patterns of behaviour. Of course, this behaviour has its own consequences for our lives, and affects our professional and personal success. In order to help people, overcome these struggles, Susan Anderson shares some amazing soul-searching and practical exercises in the book.
If you have been suffering from abandonment issues since childhood or due to a breakup or the death of a loved one, then this book could be the life saver that you need.
This book is a decidedly controversial one, which is both loved and disliked by millions of readers around the world. Some say that it paints too bleak a picture of society and the human condition. Are people really so self serving? Does power really corrupt our morals? These are some of the questions than come up while reading it.
Many of the laws mentioned in the book operate in the shaded grey area between right and wrong, on the borderlines of morality. You will read this book differently if you are a realist and differently if you are an idealist. At any rate, it is a must-read for new employees and people in the corporate world or other large, systems and structures. It will definitely open your eyes to the ways in which powerful people operate and how to deal with them.
This a book that will make a responsible adult out of you. According to Nathaniel Branden, there are six important pillars of self-esteem that every individual must cultivate among themselves in order to lead a happy and fulfilled life:
1) Living Consciously
2) Self Acceptance
3) Self Responsibility
4) Self Assertiveness
5) Living Purposefully
6) Personal Integrity
I particularly liked the chapter on Personal Integrity, and I appreciate how Branden has spoken about the different nurture-related aspects that also contribute to the formation of our self-esteem. Pick up this book if living with your heart happy and with your head held high, is important to you.
This classic begins with the famous sentence, ‘Life is difficult’. This book is a great reality check and healing source for people dealing with all kinds of mental health concerns such as stress, anxiety, depression etc. The author shares some modified stories of patients from his own clinical practice, and also sheds light on Grace, Wisdom, Love and Mercy along with an undercurrent of spirituality. This is a beautiful book for those people who want to improve their mental health, but don’t have access to professional mental health care.
So, there you have it. These are the ten best psychology books that I have read and found particularly valuable. If you are facing a hard time, remember that whatever obstacle you are facing is only temporary. There is always balance in this universe. Night is always followed by day, and the Yin and the Yang are different spiritual energies in cohesion and harmony with each other. Make learning and self-awareness an integral part of your life, and you will be able to achieve wonders and lead your best life.
If you liked this article, and would like to read about more awesome books, then head on to our section on Book Reviews! Please share this article with all the psychology fanatics in your life and show them some love 🙂 <3 Take care and have a great day ahead!