5 of my favorite psychology books
July 09th, 2012 - 52 Comments
One of my favorite questions to ask people is, “Who do you admire?” That and “What kind of underwear are you wearing?” You can learn a lot about someone with these questions. Trust me. I tested it.
It’s always fascinating to hear what people are reading. And since one of the most common emails I get is, “What books do you read?” I thought I’d share 5 of my favorite psychology books here.
I’ve told you how I spend over $50,000/year investing in myself via courses, books, conferences, and travel. The amount isn’t the point. The fact that you can accelerate your career, health, productivity, and relationships by years is an incredible thing.
In fact, books are some of the best investments you can make. My book, for example, took about 10 years to develop and 2 years to write. It costs less than $10. You can tap into the very best of my automated systems for less than the cost of a movie ticket — and get results like this.
So, I hope you decide to pick up one of these books — or any other great book — today. After reading hundreds of books on psychology, I’m only going to share the very best ones with you. Each of these has changed my life.
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think
A book ostensibly about our invisible eating habits that is actually a deeply researched, phenomenally interesting book on our behavior. If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t lose weight even though you really want to, this book will explain how our situational circumstances are profoundly related to our behavior. Read this and you will never think the same about food or health again.
Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion
One of my favorite books on understanding why we behave the way we do. Aronson, the co-author, guest-lectured at Stanford and his class was one of the most thought-provoking ones I ever took. Learn how the media, our friends, and even we ourselves cause us to behave in unexpected ways. Each and every aspect of this book is rooted in theoretical literature, but it is incredibly fascinating to read.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
The grandfather of all persuasion books, Cialdini put his years as the world’s foremost persuasion expert into this book. Impressively, this book is equally interesting to the ordinary reader as it is to persuasion experts. He distills years of research into a few critical principles that help you understand how to influence others and yourself — and how to protect yourself from unethical persuasion.
One of the most sophisticated books on advertising ever written. Virtually every master-level direct-response copywriter has read this book once, and most read it every year, only to discover new insights. Be warned: This is extremely dense copy. I don’t recommend it to anyone but experienced copywriters, marketers, and psychologists. But beneath the verbiage are profound insights that have stood the test of time.
The Social Animal
Another book by Eliot Aronson, this is a terrific primer on how our environment shapes our behavior. If the average American read this book (and had the cognitive wherewithal to believe/trust it, which is another story), they would be shocked. For all the people who say, “Ugh! Fat people should just stop eating so much!” or “I would NEVER do ___” they would be terribly troubled to learn that a sophisticated persuader — given enough time — can create a situation powerful enough to persuade you to do almost anything. Murder. Gaining 45lbs. Allowing yourself to be abused. Or, on the positive side, to lose weight, become healthier, improve your vocabulary, manage your money, and become friendlier.
One last thing: I did an interview with my mentor, Stanford psychology professor BJ Fogg, where we covered our favorite psychology/persuasion studies. We also shared some of our own theories with each other, many of which we haven’t released publicly. The interview took me over 15 hours to prepare for, and I decided to offer it for free instead of charging $1,000 — which it’s easily worth. If you’re interested, I recommend listening to it while reading one of the above books. It will give you an incredibly rich experience on the entire field of persuasion that a book alone could never provide. You can download the audio interview (with transcript) for free, here.
P.S. How has IWT changed your perspective on behavioral change? Whether it’s money, health, relating to friends, persuading yourself to change…what’s ONE thing you’ve learned on this site? Leave a comment below.
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