Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Request for Suggestions

Hello Everyone,

I received a great question from one of my US Government students today.  He wanted to know if I could give him a list of books (top 5) in psych to give him a good overview of the field.  He mentioned Freud (and to be honest, I internally cringed). While I have my personal favorites, I would love to hear from you all.

What recommendations do you have?  What are the best books about psych for a non-psych person to get acquainted with our field?  You can post in the comments or email me at schallhornpsych @

I look forward to hearing from many of you. I will compile the list and publish in a few weeks.

Thanks in advance,

Chuck Schallhorn


Ms. Shaver said...

I would recommend Opening Skinner's Box by Lauren Slater. Would love to see the list once you hear from others!

Scott Snyder said...

I've got personality on the brain since that is where we are at in class, so I would recommend Quiet by Susan Cain. An excellent overview of extroversion vs. introversion as well as other personality aspects.

Mary Kopale said...

Just to have "handy", for the total Psychology novice, The Handy Psychology Answer Book is an easy to read, general reference book.

Sue Frantz said...

For Neuroscience, Sam Kean's The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons. And to appreciate the two-track mind, David Eagleman's Incognito.

Anonymous said...

Since he wants to get an overview of the field, a few general books are necessary. Unfortunately, these are rarely as interesting or fun to read as books on a specific topic...

So, here's my 5:

Psych 101: Psychology Facts, Basics, Statistics, Tests, and More!
-Paul Kleinman
(Fairly engaging general overview)

Situations Matter
-Sam Sommers
(Engaging overview of Social Psychology)

You are not so Smart
-David McRaney
(Entertaining read, great intro to cognitive biases)

Thinking, Fast and Slow
-Daniel Kahneman
(will change the way you think about thinking)

The Compass of Pleasure
-David Linden
(I think it's important to have at least one book from the biological perspective)

BONUS: Unbroken. Laura Hillenbrand
It's not Psychology, per se, but it's just so damn good. Read it.

Debora Gil Casado said...

Love at Goon Park about Harlowe's work and gives insight as to the time period and development of psychology through testing. Cult of Personality Testing by Annie Murphy Paul that starts with Phrenology and looks how so many of these tests are developed.

Robert Rhone said...

I love "The natural history of the senses" by Diane Ackerman. An awesome poetic exploration of our senses and their cultural impact through out history. I always use excerpts for my sense and perception unit.

Julie Hensley said...

Story of psychology
Morton Hunt
This was my most useful reference when I began teaching psychology.

Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior Leonard Mlodinow

Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness by Gold, Joel, Gold, Ian
An interesting read on how delusions are merely an exaggerated form of how we all think.

Though these books were already mentioned I would like to emphasize the greatness of the following three books.

Thinking fast and slow
Daniel Kahneman

Situations Matter
Sam Sommers

The Compass of Pleasure
David Linden

Mrs. Welle said...

50 Myths of Popular Psychology by Lilienfeld, Lynn, Ruscio & Beyerstein. Provides a nice introduction to the scope of the field as well as research methods used to answer questions about human behavior.

Steve Jones said...

Here are a few: The Invisible Gorilla, by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris; Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive, by Robert Cialdini (et al.); An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks.

Also, I second Sue's recommendation of Sam Kean's book!