By Daniel Gilbert
What’s it about? Do you know what makes you happy? You may think you do, but most likely you don’t. This book will show you why. The up side of this book is that people are bad at predicting what will make them happy in the long run. And he’s witty and funny throughout, making for an enjoyable read. But the downside is the author has a superficial understanding of ‘happiness’. He thinks of it as purely pleasure.
Who is it good for? For anyone looking for a new way to appreciate what you have. However, there’s no mention of meaningfulness or life satisfaction – the real hallmarks of happiness, and most of what psychotherapists actually focus on.
By Johann Hari
What’s it about? These days, psychiatry focuses too much on the biological side of things. Of course biology is important, but mental health isn’t all biology – a lot is still psychological and environmental. This book understates the biological side, but a good introduction to some of the psychological aspects of depression.
Who is it good for? For those who have been given a one sided biological take, this book is a good introduction to a different way of thinking.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
By Mark Manson
What’s it about? Mark Manson is author of a life-advice blog and several best selling books, and this is his most popular. We weren’t expecting much from this book, so we were pleasantly surprised by the wealth of helpful information. The central message is that it’s important to separate your goals and values from unimportant events and distractions in your life, and focus on the former. The message is elaborated in several ways, with multiple examples, making for an easy and engaging read. The title is provocative and seemingly immature, but the book is full of genuinely good advice.
Who is it good for? Anyone who wants good advice in a provocative easy-to-read style.
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
By Michael Pollan
What’s it about? The author interweaves the history of psychedelics with his own first time experience trying LSD, DMT, and psilocybin and what science has to say about. One of the first books to dive into brain science and research on how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety.
Who is it good for? Anyone who is curious and wants to learn more about psychedelic use for mental health.
By Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller
What’s it about? A guide to how understanding your “attachment style” or the way you relate to others, can help you forge deeper and more fulfilling love relationships. This book applies attachment theory, which was originally developed to describe types of bonding between infants and caregivers, to adult romantic partnerships. The book also advocates for readers to look at their needs for emotional security as a natural part of the human experience.
Who is it good for? Everyone, especially those who have struggled with romantic relationships.
By Kay Redfield Jamison
What’s it about? A first-person exploration of life with bipolar disorder written by a clinical psychologist, An Unquiet Mind chronicles her experiences and how it affected her professional, familial and romantic relationships. Bipolar Disorder is one of the most serious and, in some cases, debilitating mental health conditions. Dr. Kay Redfield Jameson experienced it first hand and struggled through it even as she became a psychologist and advanced in her career. Excellent all around
Who is it good for? Anyone who has this disorder or wants to understand someone else who does.
Staring At The Sun: Being At Peace With Your Own Mortality: Overcoming the Terror of Death
By Irvin D. Yalom
What’s it about? Death is one of the scariest things we can face, and this book guides you through it, helping you turn your anxieties about your own demise into a zest for life and living. Dr. Yalom approaches the subject of death from a secular perspective. He assumes that after death, we cease to exist completely. And he grapples with how to deal with this fact during our lives. He manages to take the subject seriously while also being warm and compassionate, and even positive. He has several nuggets of advice for how to deal with anxiety about death, including living the best lives we can live, and being honest with ourselves about the fear of death itself. This book will make you confront death without losing hope.
Who is it good for? Anyone with worries or anxiety about death.
The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self
By Alice Miller
What’s it about? This book has been controversial given the stern view it takes on parenting. It is quite confronting to the problem of parents not being attuned to their children’s emotions being valid. The author is very empathic to the child’s experience and vividly describes the child’s perspective. She especially highlights the danger of perpetuating intergenerational trauma if the parents are unaware, and encourages readers to work through difficult experiences in childhood in therapy by confronting them.
Who is it good for? For those who struggled with their childhood experiences or want to understand it deeper, this book can be very validating. However, this is a book best suited for having a therapist’s guidance as it can stir up strong emotions.
By Dr. Craig Malkin
What’s it about? All you ever wanted or needed to know about Narcissists and how to deal with them
This is our favorite book about Narcissism. Dr. Malkin uses his scientific knowledge and compassion to make narcissists relatable and understandable. Yet, he doesn’t underestimate their personal struggles and the trouble they make for their families, friends, and colleagues. He also goes through the history and scientific studies of narcissism and how his perspective differs from most others in the field.
Who is it good for? If you have a narcissist in your life, this is the book for you!