There are many books I’ve read about psychology. From various university professors, or the works of Malcolm Gladwell, to the modern day business marketing book or how-to sales guide, there is psychology everywhere you go and in everything we do.
I have chosen 3 books that I personally feel will have the biggest impact on the type of person I expect to read this. The opportunist, the business minded, the future leader… these books here will give you a deep insight to the motivations, the flaws, and the overall design of the human brain. Not only will it help you understand interactions and common behaviors of people, it will help you hone your own insight by knowing why and when certain illogical fallacies rise to the surface.
By the time you finish reading these books, you’ll understand congruencey/confirmation biases, cognitive dissonance, genetic psychological differences between men and women, why we fear things that will never hurt us, the truth about why we compete, and much more.
There are a good half dozen other books I’d love to shove in here too, I’ll leave them in the honorable mentions section at the bottom.
Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it. – Daniel Kahneman
What makes your brain happy and why you should do the opposite by David DiSalvo
“…to effectively address the problematic tendencies of a happy brain: elevate awareness and take action. Awareness of why we are doing what we are doing is a crucial step toward action because it initiates a change in thinking – we have to pause to examine what’s going on.”
A long title for a book but it gets right to the point, I’ve written a review about this already. Our brains are constantly bombarded with outside stimuli, and during this process it’s very easy to make the wrong decisions. In this awesome book by David DiSalvo, he breaks down every wall behind why we act the way we do, and brings to light the flaws that we have psychologically that no longer serve us in today’s society.
Have you ever noticed how many times in life we want something, and then once we have it, we don’t want it anymore? Or even regretted having gotten it? Ever wonder where motivation and creativity come from? Or what activities are scientifically backed to fuel these cognitive processes? Hint, one of them is day dreaming for a certain period of time. Which reminds me a bit of the effects I receive from meditation.
This book holds so much more inside. Ever wonder why we tend to gravitate towards certain types of people? Or why we negotiate the way we do? How social influences play a role in everything? The amount of information in this book it what makes it truly amazing. It touches deeply on so many different areas of psychology. You name it, it’s probably in this book.
Riveted by Jim Davies
“Be wary of compelling ideas that play on our biological natures or on the various biases we have in our psyches, together they are based on evolution or cultural learning.”
Ever wonder why religions have been around since as long as recorded history? Why do people like certain types of art? What about why people with OCD act the way they do? Or if there is a psychological relation between people who don’t believe in ghosts and autism?
What about why people buy the things they buy? Or even how, genetically speaking, we can all be a LITTLE schizophrenic? Or even a little autistic and OCD.
Jim Davies paints a vivid picture into the minds of human behavior. If I were a marketing professor, this book would be a must read for every one of my students. This book touches on almost every facet of human life in relation to the way we think. Everything from why we laugh, to why we cry, to why some people are endlessly convinced in UFO’s, and why conspiracy theorists are not only skeptics but innately stubborn.
This book has helped my marketing efforts out quite a bit. Because it will show you what catches peoples eyes, and what people enjoy seeing and why certain people are attracted to certain people. It will even show you how to write a good story and a good joke. Ever wonder why certain quotes stick and some don’t?
What I love most about this book is that it will help you identify the limiting beliefs we all have, and understand exactly when you are submitting to confirmation biases. It will help you get over other beliefs that threaten your identity by helping you pin-point them.
Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing my Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
“Healthy, successful, adaptive competitiveness is choosing what matters to you and fighting for it, while letting the other challenges pass. Choosing when not to compete is essential to sustaining the energy for the battles that matter most.”
This is one my favorite books of all time. I wrote a review about it already you can see here. Po and Ashley have created a masterpiece of psychological understanding of the human brain in terms of stress, competitive nature, risk management, and ultimately, the science behind winning and losing.
I used to work in sales, so I dealt a lot with competitive nature. But at one point, I couldn’t figure out why I never wanted to compete with anyone. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I could do it, I just didn’t like the idea of making a game out of someone else’s financial situation. (My job was in financial services and investments at the time.) So I sought out a way to make myself more competitive. In that quest for drive I learned far more than I ever asked for, simply by reading this book. What I learned, in a nut shell, wasn’t that I needed to compete more, or be more motivated, but that our entire idea behind competitive nature, and motivation, was totally wrong.
It’s fairly known at this point in time that men and women handle stress differently, they judge risk differently, and this affects their choices differently in every day life. But in this book you’ll learn so much more. Why sometimes even the greatest fail simply because they play to not lose instead of playing to win and why the average woman financial analyst is better than the best male analyst.
This book will show you how to use stress effectively, and whether or not you’re a warrior, or a worrier. (I’m definitely a worrier.) It will also point out that the stress levels between jumping out of a plain and being in a competitive ballet are identical, and how our reaction to these things makes all the difference.
Learning about our psychology is a massively important part of our lives. In understanding it, and using it, we are able to shape the world around us in so many ways. Everything we do is in some way related to psychology.
I have to warn you, the books I posted here have the ability to permanently alter the way you see things. This may be tough for some, if what you saw and believed for years turns out to not be so special or true at all. But finding the truth is always a bit hard to swallow, and in doing so, you will be a better person, more well equipped to take on the world and move within it, fending off the endless streams of bull-shit that surround us each and every day. From the blogs, to the TV media, to the guy wanting you to join his MML group, to the marketing behind that $45 bottle of body lotion you buy every month, understanding WHY we buy, WHY we act, and WHY we believe, is essential to a proper life that is motivated by reason and logic, and the desire to do good in this world. Always remain humble.
… forever a student.