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The Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  3,224 ratings  ·  212 reviews
Clearly explaining more than 100 groundbreaking ideas in the field, The Psychology Book uses accessible text and easy-to-follow graphics and illustrations to explain the complex theoretical and experimental foundations of psychology.

From its philosophical roots through behaviorism, psychotherapy, and developmental psychology, The Psychology Book looks at all the greats fro
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 16th 2012 by DK (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  3,224 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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Voula Grand
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: contributed-to
I have to confess an interest: I am one of the contributing authors to this book, having written the sections on the psychology of difference.
My personal interest apart, this book is a really brilliant summary of the major psychological thinkers, setting out the big ideas, and explaining them clearly and concisely, using charts and illustrations to clarify the main points.
A book of interest to anyone with an interest in psychology.
Winner of the British Psychological Society Book of the Year Aw
Hiba Arrame
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, psychology
This was just what it promised, lots of big ideas, simply explained and put. The book had several schools of psychology, several theories of different psychologists throughout history with each of their ideas simply put and layed out in a way that makes it fun to read the book.
There were charts, to clarify the main ideas of each psychological thinker, which I found extremely useful.
The book is perfect for anyone who wants some major knowledge about the subject, or is about to enroll in this fiel
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-2012
Since I am about to enter my first semester of college (as a psych major) within the next week, I found reading this book to be a great refresher of all the intro information I learned last year in high school. In addition to reviewing previously learned information, there were some new ideas thrown in to keep me intrigued. This is a great choice for students interested in studying psychology, or even for those who just have an interest in it, who want to understand some main ideas without overl ...more
Sam Lidester
Apr 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book has a shotgun of text that seems like it was copied and pasted from the Wikipedia articles on Psychology. The author(s) make no attempt to analyze or explain any ideas beyond a cursory sentence or two. Irrelevant details are more numerous than examples illustrating the ideas. Would you like to know where 100 different people were born and worked for no reason? There is also no attempt at organization: related people, ideas, and timelines are seemingly randomly placed throughout the tex ...more
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Did you know that "insight may cause blindness" or "there is an association between insanity and genius" or "a man with conviction is a hard man to change"?? If you are interested in such subjects this would be a book for you.

A very useful book to read with many different subjects explained in an easy plain language.I recommend the book to everyone who is interested in psychology subjects in a quick way.

Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: high school or first year college students interested in psychology
Yes, I enjoy reading textbooks in my spare time. My knowledge of psychology is limited to what I learned in high school and Sociology 101 in university. This book did help a psychology noob, such as myself, further my understanding of the discipline. I think this book is probably best suited for high school or first-year university students, as it provides very basic background information on various psychological concepts.

Of course, I did recognize many of the psychologists and concepts that w
Nov 04, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was pretty good as a refresher for people already knowledgeable about psychology and contained some things I didn't know. However, some concepts are considered inaccurate now and it isn't clear enough in this book which concepts those are.

Also, there is a major error in the chapter on Skinner. Negative reinforcement is actually the process of removing an aversive stimulus in order to encourage a behavior to continue. Not application of an aversive stimulus in order to stop a behavior.
Scout Collins
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting book that highlights the major influences, studies and basis of psychology.
It took me 2 months to get through because it is packed with information like a textbook and is hard to digest (you can only read a little bit at a time).

Also as I mentioned with other books in this series I'm not a big fan of the format; in this book it was alright but that added to how slowly I got through it.

I'd recommend to those who are very interested in psychology and are willing to read textbook format
♛✨Christine ♛✨
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was such a helpful and informative read. It won't let you down when it comes to all psychological research and their researchers. A great starter package for anyone interested in psychology. ...more
I really enjoyed this book.It's simplicity is the key to it.I would recommend it to people with at least a passing interest in psychology.I also want to get others in the series.


Philosophical Roots - Psychology in the making
18. The four temperaments of personality - Galen
20. There is a reasoning soul in this machine - Descartes
22. Dormez! - Abbé Faria
24. Concepts become forces when they resist one another - Johann Friedrich Herbart
26. Be that self which one truly is - Søre
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you haven't studied psychology (or have forgotten everything you learned in school) this is a solid read to help enlighten you about human nature (from several different and frequently contradictory points of view).

It covers quickly about 75 different "discoveries" in psychology across several major areas (like psychoanalysis, behaviorism, etc). A few of the sections really struck me as important realizations (like people's desires to remain consistent even in the face of overwhelming facts a
Aisha Lariani
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very helpful to read through before taking a psychology course.
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fascinated by psychology I have been reading this non-fiction for a few months. I have always had a love for psychology and would like to one day become a psychologist. I realised a few months ago, however, that I did not actually know much about the subject I fascinated. I signed up for AP Psychology next year, so I decided to read this book for two reasons 1. to broaden my horizon in about an area I have always been interested in and 2. to prepare myself for my next year's AP course. I enjoyed ...more
Marcos Canals
May 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
The idea to write a book about general psychology, is a good one, yet this book is a bad implementation.

It presents more than 100 psychology theories in 300 pages, so that’s only 2 or 3 pages per theory. Imagine picking a Wikipedia article, and making a summary of it. Then take the summary, and make a summary of it again. Some psychology theories and authors are exposed in one page only, which half of it it’s a diagram. I have just finished the book and can’t barely remember any of it. Maybe I
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you’re brand new to psychology this book is probably a good place to start as it gives you an overview of all the prominent psychologists across time from the dawn of psychology to almost the present day. It also categories them into different approaches within psychology such as behaviourist, cognitive etc. which gives a contextual wrap around to the development of psychology across time. My only concern is the factual accuracy of some of the theory, as I noticed that negative reinforcement ...more
Sarthak Pranit
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Seriously, the perfect start to cognitive outlook. It's not something that you read from start to end, but open at a random page every Sunday afternoon. ...more
A very thorough and beautifully made encyclopedia of the history of psychology for the general public.
John Kaufmann
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really like this series of books. This book provides brief summaries of key developments in the field of psychology, including brief descriptions of the key thinkers in the field. Granted, the summaries lack any great depth or detail. But they are clear and they capture the essence, and are presented in an easy-to-read style with some graphics to assist. Between the summaries and the way the book is organized, you get a good sense of the context and progression of psychological thought.

In par
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
In terms of the amount of information it has, this book is a knowledge capsule. A comprehensive overview of important periods, people, and ideas of psychology. However, the structure is not ideal according to this reviewer's taste. Stopping the flow of discussion to mention the names of the books written by a psychologist (all of which I have already forgotten) kept distracting me. I much preferred the flow in Psychology by Andrea Bonior.
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brief insight of everything. A given literature’s source in every chapter gives you the opportunity to deepen your interest in chosen subjects later on. A great reading if you have interest in human’s behavior, neuroscience etc.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very useful, especially if studying psychology.
Vikas Jakhar
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Psychology for dummies.
Gianluca Ciccarelli
May 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
Feels like reading your refrigerator's manual. ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This book answers some of my lingering questions about human psychology. I had to make my own notes. This book also helped me getting through one of my dark times and make me change my mind about my view of the world. Love it!

Here are some notes from my favorite part:

"The good life is a process, not a state of being" - Carl Rogers (page 132)
In order to enjoy the good life, we need to
- be fully open to experience
- live in the present moment
- trust ourselves
- take responsibility for our choices
- t
Jayne Bowers
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The bright red book contains a wealth of information presented in an unusual, yet inviting format. The Psychology Book is organized according to major fields (like social and developmental psychology) and perspectives (including behaviorism and cognitive psychology). Within each chapter are the founding fathers (no founding mothers here), an overview of their theories, brief biography of their lives, and some of their famous findings and quotes. I especially like the latter.

Just when I wondered
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Saiyara by: Noshimo
I always wanted to get an idea of psychology, but didn't know if I was willing to pursue a career in it. I wanted to know what it dealt with without having to actually study it, and this book made my wish come true. It dealt with everything that had drawn me to this subject in the first place and much more. It took me a while to read this - I was reading plenty of other books at the time too - but it was wonderful. I do not know whether people who have studied psychology will like this book, but ...more
Tiago Faleiro
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, psychology
Fantastic read. A wonderful journey from the very beginnings of psychology into contemporary times. From it's very early philosophical roots to behaviorism, psychotherapy, cognitive psychology, and much more.

I wish it could have gone more in-depth into the field of personality, and I was disappointed that it didn't touch on more scientific matters, which is quite odd considering psychology is heavily nested into both biology and statistics. Nevertheless, a delightful read for anyone interested i
J. Bebbington
A great introduction to many aspects of psychology and a useful tool for a writer looking to gain some more insight into how a character might think and why.
It's not so enjoyable as The Philosophy Book or The Politics Book, but It's a good read.
Jesse Madro
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
As someone without a psychology background I was interested in learning more about the subject. I found this book to focus more about the founders of the ideology than the actual ideas and theories themselves. Maybe that's the main objective of psychology, but as someone with a thorough chemistry and math background I was hoping it would spend much more time elaborating on the concepts. Ended up finding it pretty shallow and left me really debating psychology as a science all together. ...more
Sean Barrs
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book provides a nice overview of famous psychological researchers and their respective studies. The information is brief but informative.
The book is separated into each major approach and many major theories are explained. This is a good starting point for an essay but is probably not worth mentioning with in a referencing list.
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