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10 Best Psychology Books to Read in 2023


The world of Psychology offers a captivating exploration of the human mind and behaviour. If you're intrigued by the complexities of thought, emotion, and human nature, Oxford Summer Courses provides an enlightening opportunity. Embark on a transformative journey through our Psychology summer school, where you'll delve into the profound theories and research that unveil the mysteries of the human psyche. Engage in discussions that probe into cognitive processes, behavioural patterns, and the intricacies of mental health.


Please note that the following list of books is recommended reading to broaden your knowledge and deepen your appreciation of psychology. While some of these books may be included in the Oxford Summer Courses curriculum, the specific content of the summer school can vary. If you wish to study psychology with us, you can apply to our Psychology summer school.


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1. "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" by Oliver Sacks

  • "We speak not only to tell other people what we think, but to tell ourselves what we think."
  • Published in 1985, Oliver Sacks' "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" offers a captivating glimpse into the world of neurological disorders. Sacks presents a collection of clinical tales that explore the mysteries of the brain and the resilience of the human spirit.
  • Discussion: How have Sacks' clinical stories influenced our understanding of neurology and the human experience?

2. "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman

  • "Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it."
  • Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" provides a thought-provoking exploration of the two systems that drive the way we think: the fast, intuitive system and the slow, deliberate system. This book delves into the psychology of decision-making and cognitive biases.
  • Discussion: How do the insights from Kahneman's research on decision-making apply to real-life situations and the choices we make?

3. "The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

  • "The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason."
  • Jon Ronson's "The Psychopath Test" takes readers on a journey into the world of psychopathy and the quest to identify psychopaths in society. This book explores the challenges of defining and diagnosing psychopathy.
  • Discussion: How has the concept of psychopathy evolved over time, and what ethical considerations arise in the diagnosis and treatment of psychopathic individuals?

4. "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert B. Cialdini

  • "The best way to deal with a counter-argument is to present it yourself."
  • Robert B. Cialdini's "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" offers a comprehensive examination of the psychology behind persuasion and compliance. This book explores the techniques used by marketers, salespeople, and individuals to influence behaviour.
  • Discussion: How can an understanding of the principles of persuasion outlined by Cialdini be applied in everyday life and in various fields, including marketing and psychology?

5. "The Interpretation of Dreams" by Sigmund Freud

  • "Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious."
  • Sigmund Freud's "The Interpretation of Dreams" is a seminal work in the field of psychoanalysis. In this book, Freud explores the hidden meanings of dreams and their significance in understanding the human psyche.
  • Discussion: How has Freud's work on dream analysis influenced the practice of psychotherapy and our understanding of the unconscious mind?

6. "The Social Animal" by Elliot Aronson

  • "The principle of consistency states that we don't like to look foolish."
  • Elliot Aronson's "The Social Animal" offers a comprehensive exploration of social psychology. This book delves into topics such as conformity, prejudice, and the factors that influence human behaviour in social contexts.
  • Discussion: How do the principles of social psychology described by Aronson apply to real-world situations, including issues of conformity and prejudice?

7. "Emotions Revealed" by Paul Ekman

  • "The face is a rich source of information about emotion."
  • Paul Ekman's "Emotions Revealed" delves into the intricate world of emotions and the science of facial expressions. Ekman's research on universal emotions and micro expressions has had a significant impact on psychology and beyond.
  • Discussion: How has our understanding of emotions and facial expressions been influenced by Ekman's research, and what practical applications exist for this knowledge?

8. "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel H. Pink

  • "Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement."
  • Daniel H. Pink's "Drive" explores the science of motivation and what truly drives human behaviour. This book challenges conventional notions of motivation and offers insights into fostering intrinsic motivation.
  • Discussion: How can the principles of motivation outlined by Pink be applied in educational settings, workplaces, and personal development?

9. "Phantoms in the Brain" by V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee

  • "Neuroscience is by far the most exciting branch of science because the brain is the most fascinating object in the universe."
  • "Phantoms in the Brain" by V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee delves into the mysteries of the brain and the remarkable cases of patients with unusual neurological conditions. This book offers a captivating journey into the complexities of the mind.
  • Discussion: How have the case studies and insights presented in this book contributed to our understanding of brain function and perception?

10. "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance" by Angela Duckworth

  • "Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another."
  • Angela Duckworth's "Grit" explores the role of passion and perseverance in achieving success. Duckworth's research on grit challenges traditional notions of talent and highlights the importance of effort and resilience.
  • Discussion: How can the concept of grit be applied in education, personal development, and achieving long-term goals?


Oxford Summer Courses invites you to immerse yourself in the captivating world of Psychology. In this blog article, we present a meticulously curated list of 10 classic books that will ignite your passion for understanding the human mind. From Oliver Sacks' exploration of neurological mysteries to Daniel Kahneman's insights into decision-making, these books offer a transformative journey in the realm of Psychology. Through our Psychology programme, you will have the opportunity to dive into these influential texts, gaining valuable insights into the intricacies of human behaviour and cognition. Join us on this intellectual odyssey and embark on a transformative journey that will shape your understanding of the complexities of the human mind.


Apply now to study Psychology at Oxford Summer Courses and elevate your exploration of the human psyche to new heights. Join a community of motivated learners from around the world and embark on a transformative experience. Apply here.

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Ignite your passion for psychology at Oxford Summer Courses. Immerse yourself in a carefully selected list of books that delve into psychological theories, cognitive studies, and the intricate workings of the human mind. Gain valuable insights from experts in the field and embark on a transformative journey to enhance your expertise in psychology.

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