10 Essential Psychology Books I Read in Graduate School

Essential psychology texts books reading.

I read a lot of textbooks and scientific journal articles in graduate school, but my favorite psychology books were the ones that were written for the masses. Here're the 10 essential books I read that informed everything I write about on this site. 

The structure of scientific revolutions.

1. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: While this isn't focused on psychology, the idea of paradigm shifts has heavily influenced how I understand movements within psychology and other sciences. 

The Story of Psychology

2. The Story of Psychology: This book brings to life all of the major figures of psychology in vivid detail. It is my first resource whenever I prepare to teach a new class. 

Phantoms in the brain.

3. Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind: While many prefer Oliver Sack's texts, I find Ramachandran's stories about neuroscience to be more engrossing and better explained.

The Tipping Point

4. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference: The best explanation for how and why trends, fads, and memes occur. 

Remembering Satan

5. Remembering Satan: A Tragic Case of Recovered Memory: The intersection of magic, religion, criminal investigations, and social/cognitive/clinical psychology. 

The Lucifer Effect.

6. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil: Zimbardo delves into the dark side of social behavior as well as the psychology of heroism. 

Authentic Happiness

7. Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment: Seligman's classic shifted my perspective from focusing on what is wrong to what is right in one's life. If you are new to positive psychology, I recommend reading his updated book. 

An unquiet mind.

8. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness: A moving personal account into the seduction of mania, the darkness of depression, and the stigma of mental illness.


9. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard: The basic model of "directing the rider", "motivating the elephant", and "shaping the path" is a great summary of everything we know about behavior change.  

The Political Brain

10. The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation: Deeply partisan, though a great breakdown of how emotions and logic are needed to create powerful messages of persuasion.

What's on your list of essential psychology texts?