Though it is a common belief that psychology is all about the shrink and couch, the truth is far away from it. Psychology is a study of behavior and mind, which can help everyone to develop better coping skills to deal with challenges they face in everyday life. Understanding the need of psychology for people without a background in the field of psychology, some authors have come up with excellent books that can help non-psychologists. Though these books are considered to be great psychology literature which would benefit students of psychology, they are equally helpful to non-psychologists as well. There are numerous books which fall under this category. I am picking 5 best psychology books that would prove how psychology can benefit everybody in their everyday life.
5. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales
By Oliver Sacks
There are very few neurologists who could come up with an extraordinary book akin to ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales’ like Oliver Sacks did. The book compromises the case histories of patients suffering psychosis and neurosis, who are lost in their own work of mind, from which there is no escape.
This is not a medical report by a neurologist, but a sympathetic and empathetic tour into the world of really talented people who are gifted, but their neurological disorder has changed their world so much that the world has dismissed them as retarded. Here the reader gets to experience what it feels like to be in the world of people with neurological impairment. Oliver Sacks has made great effort to bring out the book in a lighter, more informal style so that it could reach out to people who are not familiar with psychology.
Also Read: 7 Books Every Psychology Student Should Read
4. Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking
By Malcolm Gladwell
There are times when we make our decisions in the blink of an eye, which appears to be simple whereas in reality it is a complex process where we think without thinking. Through this book, Gladwell shares with his readers the talent and art of ‘thin slicing’ or filtering the important factors from various information available to us, so that we can make crucial decisions. It is all about intuition and how to instinctively make the right decisions, without pondering over the issue for long. Gladwell argues that snap judgments (this is what he calls it) are better than reasoned decisions and spontaneous decisions are often as good as or even better than carefully planned and considered ones. He reinforces this idea in the readers through various examples.
3. Man’s Search for Meaning
By Viktor Frank
The book is not for people with weak heart. The horror of the Nazi camps stares at you in the face as psychiatrist Viktor Frankl shares his experiences in the concentration camps between the years 1942-1945 through his memoirs. Frankl not just survived the camp, where his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished, but also found a way to cope with suffering, find meaning in it and move forward in his life with a new purpose. The outcome of the ordeal was a theory known as logotherapy which holds that the our primary drive in life is discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful and not pleasure as was once believed and propagated by psychoanalysts.
The book is divided into two parts. In Part One Frankl analyses his experiences in the concentration camps, whereas in the Part Two he introduces his ideas of meaning and his theory called logotherapy to the readers. A must read for everyone, especially for people who feel they are going through a rough phase in their lives.
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People
By Dale Carnegie
‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ is the one of the earliest self-help books which was published in 1936 but has not lost its popularity even to this day. The principles of Dale Carnegie have endured the changing times and continue to help people achieve their maximum potential in the complex and competitive modern age. No wonder the book has sold over 15 million copies worldwide. It is said that this book has helped thousands of people climb the ladder of success in their personal and professional lives to become popular, influential and famous. The book lists out six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.
1. Games People Play: The Basic Handbook of Transactional Analysis
By Eric Berne
We all play games in our lives, but most of the times we fail to identify the games we play or the games others play with us. This is not something that is telecast live on television which you can sit back on your couch and enjoy, but these are sexual games, marital games, power games with your bosses, and competitive games with your friends which play a huge role in our relationships.
In 1964 Eric Berne revealed the secret ploys and unconscious maneuvers that rule our relationships and revolutionized the way people look into relationships. Today, 5 million copies later, the book has remained as one of the most influential and popular psychology book which is as eye-opener to people of all ages, regions and races.