I just finished Tom Butler-Bowdon’s 50 Psychology Classics which summarizes fifty of the most important books written on psychology.
Tom is an amazing guy who has written multiple books along these lines including similar volumes on Self-Help, Success, Spiritual, Prosperity, and Politics Classics.
In addition, Tom makes many of the summaries from his various books available on his website. I’ll be linking out to a few below.
I love these books because they provide a great way to get an overview of the literature. It isn’t meant to be the end, rather it is a beginning. A place to become familiar with the “big ideas” and determine which ideas one really needs to dive into more deeply.
Here are the volumes I found most interesting in this book. I’ve marked those which I really want to read with an *.
- Understanding Human Nature by Alfred Adler.
- Games People Play by Eric Berne.*
- The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine.
- Feeling Good by David Burns.* (I’ve already read this one, see OCD Dave for my summary of its contents).
- A Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis & Robert A. Harper.
- My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton Erickson by Sidney Rosen.*
- Young Man Luther by Erik Erikson.
- The Will to Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
- Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman.* (I’ve read this one as well)
- I’m OK–You’re OK by Thomas A. Harris.
- The True Believer by Eric Hoffer.
- The Farther Reaches of Human Nature by Abraham Maslow.*
- Brainsex by Anne Moir and David Jessel.*
- Gestalt Therapy by Fritz Perls.
- On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers.
- Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman.
- Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. Skinner.
- Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen.*
- Darkness Visible by William Styron.* (I’ve read this one as well)
- The Origin of Everyday Moods by Robert E. Thayer.
Note: I did not select the most important works out of those listen in Tom’s book, rather I chose those that interested me. There were a number that would probably be considered more fundamental than some of those listed above but with which I either lack interest or else I am already familiar through other sources with.
At the end of the book Tom offers a concise list of fifty more classics, of those I am most interested in:
- Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders by Aaron T. Beck.*
- Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain by Antonio Damasio.
- Theory of Cognitive Dissonance by Leon Festinger.
- Escape from Freedom by Erich Fromm.
- Reality Therapy by William Glasser.
- Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare.
- On Aggression by Konrad Lorenz.
- Love and Will by Rollo May.
- Psychology and Chrime by Hugo Munsterberg.
- The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why by Richard Nesbitt.*
- Peoplemaking by Virginia Satir.*
- Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry by Harry Stack Sullivan.
- You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation by Deborah Tannen.*
- Love’s Executioner: and Other Tales of Psycotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom.