10 Must-Read Books for Psychology Students — and for Anyone Interested

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Doubtfully there is any psychology student who is not familiar with general textbooks like Introduction to Psychology or Feldman’s Understanding Psychology. But what are other psychology books that will be interesting for young specialists, freshmen, applicants, and psychology-lovers? 

We’ve selected 10 must-read books for psychology students that you should read to get a better understanding of the field and ensure a fruitful, exciting career. It might be that you’ve come across some of the items on your syllabus. If not — you surely will so invest in your book collection now! If you are only choosing if this field is for you, there is no better way to know than to read a few books from the list as an experiment. Do these stories about clinical experiments, therapy, neurology, logical errors, and brain cells inspire you?

Moreover, any person interested in human experiences, communication, our brain, and neurons will appreciate general psychology books from this list. By the way, the question of happiness is also covered by psychology — isn’t it better to read accessible research than its clumsy rendering in self-help books? 

Psychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century

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This is the best accessible introduction to the field. This psychology textbook covers all the major topics, presents up-to-date research, and provides you with an overview of career options. Psychology Applied to Modern Life has well-earned its fame as a beloved book among professors and students alike.

Daniel Kahnemann, Thinking, Fast and Slow

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It is a lauded bestseller by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahnemann that most of us have heard about. However, most students don’t find time for this holy grail on human irrationality and read a summary instead. Please don’t skip on this book. First, it is essential to know for any person, not to say a psychology student, how our minds work, why we make false judgments, and what are the major biases and paradoxes of our thinking. Moreover, it’s written in an extremely approachable way, fitted for non-specialists.

Brain & Behavior: An Introduction to Behavioral Neuroscience

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Neuroscience is a thriving field, and this textbook can become your guiding light. What is motivation? How do we understand languages? Why do we see what we see? How do we learn? — start exploring these intriguing questions with this psychology textbook, full of illustrations and approachable examples.

Martin E. P. Seligman, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment

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Martin Seligman is a renowned psychologist, a founder of the positive psychology field. He is best known for developing a theory of “learned helplessness” and accentuating positive subjective experiences of humans as opposed to clinical psychology. The book will acquaint you with the significant findings of positive psychology, a number of exciting experiments, and tips for your happy living. Read it if you want to learn more about what makes a person happy, persevering, and content.

Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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This book is thematically closely related to Seligman’s research. Its author, Viktor Frankl, is the third most famous Austrian psychologist after Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler. The main concern of his scholarly career was searching for a meaning of life as the primary motivational idea behind human life. This approach is core to the field of logotherapy that he founded. However, Man’s Search for Meaning is far from being just a psychology textbook — it is an autobiographical story of Viktor Frankl surviving the Nazi concentration camp. This terrifying experience became central to his subsequent thriving career.

Keith E. Stanovich, How to Think Straight About Psychology

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This psychology textbook is crucial not only for being an excellent introduction to a field intro. How to Think Straight About Psychologyteaches us a vital skill of differentiating between scientific psychological research and pseudoscience. Since the results of psychological experiments are used continuously in media and self-help books to support dubious claims, the skill of critical thinking became crucial for every person. This book can be described as a more specialized version of Kahnemann’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales

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This is an acknowledged masterpiece from 1985 by neurologist Oliver Sacks. You will learn about different neurological conditions but not in a boring textbook format, but through a dozen stories about Sacks’ patients. The author’s vivid storytelling will help you memorize this aspect of neurology and provide insights into brain functions and the new ways of treating neurological disorders, known as narrative medicine.

Career Paths in Psychology: Where Your Degree Can Take You

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We all find psychology an exciting field. The cultural stereotype is that this degree will land you a well-paid job as a counselor. However, psychology will open many other doors to well-paid fascinating professions… This textbook will let you know what these occupations are so that you can choose early and wise. You will learn that this degree does not destine you to a job exclusively in academia and clinical psychology but also in businesses, non-profits, schools, and the military.

Research Methods in Psychology 

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This is a foundational psychology textbook covering everything you need to know about how to conduct an experiment and interpret its results. 

Getting In: A Step-By-Step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology 

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Have you set your mind for getting to a graduate school in psychology? American Psychology Association has prepared this extensive guide for applicants who are already selecting a program and those still contemplating a career in psychology. This ingenious admission action plan provides you with timelines and useful tips on getting to graduate school. All the details about admissions, tuition costs to tests and essay writing are discussed. This guide will be an excellent fit for Career Paths in Psychology.


If you long for other books, you should visit the BooksRun psychology textbooks category. You will surely find something that suits both your syllabus and your interests. Any of these books are available for buying and renting on BooksRun, new or used. Don’t forget that purchasing used books will save you 300 dollars every term!