Further reading

You'll find here a selection of books that I have found useful, interesting and inspiring in some way.

They can all be found easily in bookshops. Some are more of a challenge than a lot of the 'pop psychology' out there, but all are still very accessible and should be of interest to psychology 'newbies' and academics alike.

These are in no particular order but, if they are here, they're recommended! 

 

  • "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without thinking" by Malcolm Gladwell

Really easy interesting read.  All about how and when our minds work in the blink of an eye.  Unconscious bias, knee-jerk reactions and intuition.  Most interesting bit for me, was the review of what was possibly going on in the minds of four policemen when they shot an innocent man in the Bronx in 1999.  Possible comparisons to the de Menezes case?

 

  • "Tricks of the Mind" by Derren Brown

Love Derren Brown.  You'll get to grips with loads of psychological principles without even realising it.  Makes us aware of just how easily we can be (want to be?) fooled by others, by situations and by ourselves.  Interesting, practical and fun.  

 

  • "The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Human Brain" by Terrence Deacon

Slightly tougher going than some of the others on the list but well worth it.

 

  • "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins

Whatever your spiritual views, Dawkins presents a well thought-out and thought-provoking case.  

 

  • "They f*** you up" by Oliver James

Fascinating insight into the nature/ nurture debate (James is firmly in the nurture camp).  Discusses the many unnoticed ways in which our upbringing affects our personality and practical exercises for those who want to build on the insights.

 

  • "Mapping the Mind" by Rita Carter

Really accessible way of getting to grips with the different parts of the brain and what (we think) they do.

 

  • "Counting Sheep" by Paul Martin

Sleep is underestimated!  Read this book and be convinced.

 

  • "The Meme Machine" by Susan Blackmore

Ever not been able to get a tune out of your head?  Why is that?  It's been a while since I've read this book, so honestly can't remember if Blackmore covers that particular issue, but this book discusses our evolution as modern humans, the evolution of language, status, music, culture - and how the modern world might be turning the power of viral ideas, trends and so on, into the next main driver of our evolution.

 

  • "Awakening the Buddha Within" by Lama Surya Das

There's a stereotype of a life coach that I don't much relate to.  However, the life coaching fad that has grown up over the last couple of decades has obvious roots and connections to Buddhism.  Buddhism I can relate to.  A good read even if you're not the typically spiritual sort.  Makes sense and complement most sound psychological principles or therapies I can think of!  Makes me wonder why we reinvented the wheel.

 

  • "Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature" by Richard P. Bental

A current read.  Just a few chapters in but already fascinated.  What is normal...?

 

 

  • "Virus of the Mind" by Richard Brodie

Another current read.  Different - and interesting - take on the theme of memes.  Not as well-written as some of the others here, but perhaps a better starting point on the topic of memes for anyone who thought "The Meme Machine" sounded too heavy.  This book also tries to address how we can make memes work for us.

 

 

  • "The Lucifer Effect" by Philip Zimbardo

ANOTHER current read.  (Yes, I like to have a number of books on the go).  Really fascinating review of Zimbardo's infamous Stanford Prison Experiment, in the context of Abu Ghraib and other recent examples of human degradation and violence.  Some of it is uncomfortable to read - and the detail Zimbardo has gone into to provide the reader a comprehensive understanding of the experiment verges on being boring - but it's a read worth the effort.