All About Books discussion

69 views
Non-Fiction > Seasonal Nonfiction Theme, April - June 2017 - Psychology

Comments Showing 1-50 of 63 (63 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5721 comments Our Seasonal Nonfiction theme for April-June 2017 is 'Psychology'.

We hope you enjoy discussing the books that you are reading on this theme, and recommending books you have already read on this theme, here in this thread.


message 2: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 360 comments I'm going to be reading Lectures on Jung's Typology as I'm intrigued by personality psychology


message 3: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 09, 2017 09:06AM) (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Well I thought How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker would fit here, but I do not recommend it . I dumped it.

I will be reading When Nietzsche Wept which is historical fiction but it is written by an emeritus professor of psychology, at Stanford. You get fact and fiction.

Are we supposed to ONLY mention non-fiction books here? In my view books of fiction can also overlap with psychology. I am not quite sure how you want the thread to be used. You do nave non-fiction in the title.........


message 4: by Noel (new)

Noel Brady (noel-brady) Ahhh my favorite subject! I have lots to recommend if anyone's looking. :)

If you're interested in childhood PTSD, I suggest this deeply illuminating book, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook.

Speaking of PTSD, this book about mental health service dogs (and other service dogs) was both interesting and a tearjerker: The Possibility Dogs: What a Handful of "Unadoptables" Taught Me About Service, Hope, and Healing.

Again speaking of mental health, I recently read an eye-opening book about hoarding, a subject I hadn't quite understood and now do, thanks to this compassionate book: Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.

And of course, Oliver Sacks's books are always interesting.

I'll stop there before I overwhelm this thread. I'm eager to see what others recommend! Psych books are my JAM.


message 5: by Pink (new)

Pink | 4273 comments I've got Sane New World: Taming The Mind by Ruby Wax on my shelf, which would fit, so I might give that a try.

I'd also like to try A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives by Cordelia Fine, as I've previously read and loved her book Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences. I think these count as psychology books, at least partly.


message 6: by DebsD (new)

DebsD | 6 comments Would Temple Grandin's Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism count for this challenge?

Also, if anyone has recommendations that are specifically relevant to schizoaffective disorders, I'd be interested to hear them.


message 7: by Biljana (new)

Biljana (biljana_s) | 4 comments Excited! I'm a cognitive psychologist, so I read a lot of psychology already. :) For this one, I'm going to read Norman Doidge's The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science.


message 8: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 10, 2017 01:13AM) (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Pink wrote: "I've got Sane New World: Taming The Mind by Ruby Wax on my shelf, which would fit, so I might give that a try.

I'd also like to try [book:A Mind of Its Own: How You..."


I'd like to know what you think of Wax's book. I've read good reviews, but at the moment after the last failure I trust little.


message 9: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 10, 2017 01:24AM) (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Pink wrote: "I've got Sane New World: Taming The Mind by Ruby Wax on my shelf, which would fit, so I might give that a try.

I'd also like to try [book:A Mind of Its Own: How You..."


I do see a difference in female and male behavior. How does Fine explain this? I seriously doubt that a four year old raised in a society where sexes are given equal value is culturally influenced. WHY doe my granddaughter insist on wearing pink and caring for dolls even though she is given blue clothes and cars and trucks?


message 10: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 10, 2017 01:26AM) (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments so many of these books look interesting. Please recommend books you have read and really like. Like Pink did!


message 11: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 10, 2017 04:42AM) (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Biljana wrote: "Excited! I'm a cognitive psychologist, so I read a lot of psychology already. :) For this one, I'm going to read Norman Doidge's [book:The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph fro..."

That is on my to read list. I'd be interested in knowing what you, a cognitive psychologist, think of it.


message 12: by Pink (new)

Pink | 4273 comments Chrissie, I'll update you on the Ruby Wax book.

As for Delusions of Gender, I found it really fascinating. It shows just how much sexes aren't treated equally, even when parents and societies think they are. It looks at differences like you mention, between boys and girls toys or preferences for colours, but it looks deeper at the internal and external influences that most of us don't pick up on. It also looks at a lot of the neuroscience, the sort of studies that say boys are good at maths and science, whereas girls are good at literature and humanities and it points out how inconclusive, wrong or limited most of the studies are. Most of what we think we know about the neuroscience of gender is still based on preconceptions, but very little research.


message 13: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 10, 2017 05:19AM) (new)


message 14: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 10, 2017 05:31AM) (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Pink wrote: "Chrissie, I'll update you on the Ruby Wax book.

As for Delusions of Gender, I found it really fascinating. It shows just how much sexes aren't treated equally, even when parents and societies thi..."


Thanks for explaining what she thinks. I still would like to know why, if you do manage to raise a child without gender bias, there remain differences. This is visible in in very young children. I guess I do not accept the theory that the differences are ALL a result of our culture, even if I do agree that most of them are.


message 15: by Pink (last edited Apr 10, 2017 07:49AM) (new)

Pink | 4273 comments I'd disagree with you on that Chrissie, I don't believe it's possible to raise children with no gender bias, despite how equally they might be treated in the home. It subliminally seeps in everywhere! That's not to say that differences are all a result of culture, there are of course personal preferences and I think there are some differences, just lots of them have been learnt and ingrained from society. Even at the age of 4 I think most children would recognise a girl with long hair, dressed in pink, carrying a doll, as looking and behaving like a girl. Whereas a girl with a short pixie hairstyle, dressed in jeans and a blue t-shirt, playing with cars, would probably stick out in a group and may be mistaken for a boy.


message 16: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 10, 2017 09:11AM) (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Pink wrote: "I'd disagree with you on that Chrissie, I don't believe it's possible to raise children with no gender bias, despite how equally they might be treated in the home. It subliminally seeps in everywhe..."

I agree that gender bias will have an effect on children as they get older, BUT at a very young age the bias is extremely small. This is my point. I would like to understand why a four year old that is encouraged to play with cars and trucks and given blue clothes, chooses of her own free will pink clothes and dolls. I see this in my granddaughter and it surprises me. I remember when she was just learning to walk at around a year and even then what she wanted to do was "mother" a stuffed animal or doll. Gender bias does play a role, but it is not the sole explanation.

Also I feel it is important to stress the extent to which gender bias is frowned upon in Sweden, where my granddaughter lives. I support this. Personally I think there is more to this than we now understand.


message 17: by Greg (last edited Apr 10, 2017 09:24AM) (new)

Greg | 7202 comments Pink wrote: "I'd disagree with you on that Chrissie, I don't believe it's possible to raise children with no gender bias, despite how equally they might be treated in the home. It subliminally seeps in everywhe..."

Yes, I do agree with Pink. Children are very good at sensing what people approve of and what they disapprove of. For instance, I have regular contact with families where when the toddler boy acts up, punching or whatever, the attitude is, haha boys will be boys. But when the girl acts up in the same way, there is instant disapproval. That makes quite a difference. It has to do with the subconscious expectations of the parents and what they have patience for.

It's complex though because there are some gender differences on a statistical level (though they don't apply to all individuals). If it were even possible to remove all cultural influences, I suspect it would be like a Venn Diagram. More boys would fall on the one side, and more girls would fall on the other, but there would also be plenty of overlap in the center too.

I do recall my nephew liking the TV show "I Carly" when he was younger until he was teased that it's a girls' show. He's straight as far as I know, but he liked "I Carly" when he was left to himself as a young boy even though it was meant for girls. Nothing earth-shattering or important about him liking it - he just found it funny I think. But then he was teased and he stopped - influences work like that. They reinforce the boundaries. It isn't the parents only - it's the other parents, the other kids, the representations in media, etc.

I do think girls are much more encouraged in science than they used to be, which is so important! There have been numerous educational studies that show that teachers' expectations make a huge difference - kids with the same skill level often do much better when their teachers subconsciously expect them to do well and do much worse when their teachers expect them not to do well. Much of that expectation is subconscious - it has to do with who gets the attention.


message 18: by Pink (last edited Apr 10, 2017 09:40AM) (new)

Pink | 4273 comments I agree there's more to it than we understand. Of my two children, my daughter played with more typically boys toys and it was my son who liked to play house and push his doll in the buggy. This was against the norm of children at playschool, though not unknown or frowned upon, but it was often noticed and commented on. I think it would be impossible to study the societal effects properly, unless you seclude children from all contact with people, the outside world and media, which of course would be terrible.

I should probably clarify that this book and my own views don't suggest there are no natural differences, but considers that more is down to nurture than you might think. The main focus is on studies of the male and female brain and differences that have been proven, or taken as absolute, when the results are a lot more sketchy and inconclusive.

We should probably all remember that gender isn't as simple as male/ female either, but I don't recall the book considering non-binary gender.


message 19: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7202 comments Rowena wrote: "I'm going to be reading Lectures on Jung's Typology as I'm intrigued by personality psychology"

I love this topic Rowena!

When I took the extensive full version of Myers Briggs, I was fairly strong in IN but practically dead in the middle of T & F and only slightly P over J. They rated me as somewhere in the middle of INFP and INTP. The descriptions and advice they gave me was surprisingly accurate I thought at the time.


message 20: by Karin (new)

Karin | 1339 comments I agree that you can't remove all bias. I think you can take both sides of the bias argument to the extreme and both extremes cause problems. Too much stress on what being a girl or boy means (which, to be honest, is what those who grew up with that got) is as bad as no bias at all. Most parents I know can tell that each of their children is different from birth--personalities do exist from the get go, or natures, or temperaments (depending on which school of thought you have, and perhaps there are more).

As for the nature vs nurture debate, that is something virtually impossible to prove, in part because it's too simplistic. I've been hearing people go back on forth on this for decades and they are no closer to an answer now than they ever have been.

Finally, it's not popular right now, but the fact is that many neurotransmitters and hormones, and I don't just mean sex hormones, also affect us. We don't all make the same amount, we don't all respond exactly the same way to the amounts we have. Also, puberty, which brings big changes to people, affects more than just our physical bodies, regardless of if you are xx, xy, xxy, xyy, etc.


message 21: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Pink wrote: "I should probably clarify that this book and my own views don't suggest there are no natural differences, but considers that more is down to nurture than you might think."

Actually then we do not differ in views. I totally agree, but I am also curious to further understand the natural, inborn differences.


message 22: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 10, 2017 10:55AM) (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Karin wrote: "As for the nature vs nurture debate, that is something virtually impossible to prove, in part because it's too simplistic. I've been hearing people go back on forth on this for decades and they are no closer to an answer now than they ever have been."

Couldn't this be because it is a mix of both?

Karin wrote: "Finally, it's not popular right now, but the fact is that many neurotransmitters and hormones, and I don't just mean sex hormones, also affect us. We don't all make the same amount, we don't all respond exactly the same way to the amounts we have."

I would be interested in reading more. Could you recommend a book?


message 23: by Pink (new)

Pink | 4273 comments No, I think we agree that it's part nature, part nurture and probably too complex to separate them. I disagreed that it's possible to raise children with no gender bias, even when we strive to do so.

The other book you mention above Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average looks interesting. I see you gave it 4 stars so I assume you'd recommend it. I was worried it was a bit too simplistic, or self helpy. The title reminds me of What We See When We Read that looks fascinating, but I don't think it fits the psychology theme.


message 24: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Pink wrote: "No, I think we agree that it's part nature, part nurture and probably too complex to separate them. I disagreed that it's possible to raise children with no gender bias, even when we strive to do s..."

I NEVER said we can raise a child without gender bias. I was saying that some of the differences are inborn traits.


message 25: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7202 comments I do think everyone is very close together in thinking there's a mix of nature and nuture involved, and I like what you say Karin about individual temperaments. So true. There's such a huge variety among individuals. Stereotypes always fall apart when it comes to individuals because people are quirky and all very different.

But I do really like that nowadays there's more flexibility in allowing kids to live in the way they feel most comfortable, encouraged, and inspired to be their best selves and to live the best kind of life they're capable of.


message 26: by Pink (new)

Pink | 4273 comments Chrissie, then I misread your meaning in message 14 :)

Greg, I agree things have moved forwards a great deal and hopefully this will continue.


message 27: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 11, 2017 06:46AM) (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Pink wrote: "Chrissie, then I misread your meaning in message 14 :) "

Pink, yeah it does sound like that, particularly in my second sentence. Sorry for being so unclear.

I was much clearer saying what I think in the fourth sentence: "I guess I do not accept the theory that the differences are ALL a result of our culture, even if I do agree that most of them are."


Marina (Sonnenbarke) (Sonnenbarke) | 1257 comments I'm very interested in psychology. I don't know yet what I'll read, but I'd like to recommend a couple of books to anyone who might be interested.

I recently read Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity, which is about emotional abuse in families, relationships and in the workplace (in this last case better known as mobbing). It is extremely interesting and I'd recommend it to everyone. Sometimes emotional abuse can be very subtle.

Noel mentioned PTSD, and I'd like to add my recommendation on this subject: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. The author is an expert on PTSD and this book is very engaging, even though heartrending at times.


message 29: by Pink (new)

Pink | 4273 comments No worries Chrissie. It's good to discuss things anyway, just explaining my thoughts about the book and the topic was interesting for me to think about, without having to pick up the book again.

I might start the Ruby Wax book today, so I'll see how I get on with that before I consider reading anything else.

Marina, thanks for some more ideas :)


message 30: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Marina, thanks for the suggestions.


message 31: by Karin (last edited Apr 11, 2017 01:11PM) (new)

Karin | 1339 comments Chrissie wrote: "Karin wrote: "As for the nature vs nurture debate, that is something virtually impossible to prove, in part because it's too simplistic. I've been hearing people go back on forth on this for decade..."

Of course it's a mixture of nature vs nurture, but it's more than that. I don't have one source. Much of my opinion has been culled from many things over the years, starting in university when I studied both Women's Studies (where nature vs nurture was a big topic but much of that information is now outdated) and Animal behaviour, etc.

I don't think psychology, or any science, is ever going to truly know all the answers to this. People are so very different, and there are different causes for different things. Then there is movement and how it affects learning and even emotions One book I do recommend, and it gets more interesting as you go along regarding emotional health and even excellent, initially accidental, results in treating depression and PTSD, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (or you can listen to her TED talks, but I haven't heard them myself). There are other books about how movement affects learning, brain development and self esteem of children, but how limited that is getting with modern childraising, etc.

When it comes to neurotransmitters, one of the ones I was thinking of was serotonin. Some people naturally have more than others, which does effect how well you feel.

Allergies, food reactions, many, many things can affect things. A few autistic children (I met the mother of one) have their symptoms DISAPPEAR when on antiviral meds. I cannot eat watermelon or I get severe anxiety--it took me a long time to make the connection, but when I googled it, it has happened to others. Of course that's not the only cause of anxiety, but there are a couple of other foods that give me symptoms most people would call mental illness, but in fact they are food intolerances for me. And it only takes a tiny bit to set them off. It's so much nicer to avoid eating them, so I do.


So, immune issues and other non nature vs nurture things can affect things.


message 32: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 11, 2017 10:47PM) (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Karin wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "Karin wrote: "As for the nature vs nurture debate, that is something virtually impossible to prove, in part because it's too simplistic. I've been hearing people go back on forth o..."

Boy am I one who advocates physical exercise and its importance to both physical and mental health. Seriously, the amount of time kids are spending (and adults too) sitting in front of a computer or TV screen) has become excessive. It is all a matter of balance.

I want to thank you for sharing with us.

I would like to see more studies done on serotonin levels. On the whole, I would like to understand better not only the cultural but also the physical components behind emotions. I know that my emotions change with my blood sugars, and I would like to understand why.

Thanks for the book link. I will go check it out.


message 33: by Pink (new)

Pink | 4273 comments Karin, wow watermelon seems such a strange food item to trigger anxiety, but I guess what we eat is so important to our health and we never quite know how everything connects. Well done you for pinpointing it down to that fruit.

I seem to be lucky in what I can eat, at least I've never noticed a connection with certain foods and my mood, more just if I'm eating right or not. Hormones on the other hand are playing havoc with me right now. Stopping birth control 6 months ago has sent my body back to a teenage state of hormonal chaos and I'm not enjoying it one bit, though thankfully it seems to be getting slightly better each month.

It's always astounding to think how complex our bodies and brains are. With so many different elements that make up each individual.


message 34: by Karin (new)

Karin | 1339 comments Pink wrote: "Karin, wow watermelon seems such a strange food item to trigger anxiety, but I guess what we eat is so important to our health and we never quite know how everything connects. Well done you for pin..."

You are correct, since many sites say it's good for anxiety. My guess is that either I'm different and have a sensitivity that is less common (as are others, but those sites have been buried by the sites saying it's good for anxiety now) or I already have enough of whatever it is that watermelon has so too much of it gives the opposite effect.

I have a very sensitive system in general, which I am not thrilled about, but there is no point in focusing on that more than I have to.


message 35: by Pink (new)

Pink | 4273 comments I read 90 pages of Sane New World: Taming The Mind but gave up on it as it wasn't for me. I thought it would be more in depth, fact and evidence based, since Ruby Wax had studied psychology, with a masters in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy from Oxford University. However, the chapters I read were too vague and touched only lightly on any subject. Plus the constant jokes were getting irritating. The rest of the book was set up to teach mindfulness techniques, but since I wasn't really interested in learning these, I stopped reading. 2 stars for me.


message 36: by Karin (last edited Apr 16, 2017 01:42PM) (new)

Karin | 1339 comments Pink wrote: "I read 90 pages of Sane New World: Taming The Mind but gave up on it as it wasn't for me. I thought it would be more in depth, fact and evidence based, since Ruby Wax had studied ps..."

And excellent, fact based book tagged psychology that I read in 2016 (and liked) is Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy.

What I liked best about it was the things that were learned about these power poses in how they can help people with depression, PTSD, etc, and there is plenty of fact and study based discussion of this. Also, I was impressed with how the studies were done for this book as the methodology was sound.


message 37: by Pam (new)

Pam | 429 comments Psychology is my favorite non-fiction topic so I'm sure I will find something to read, but probably not until May. This should be an interesting thread!


message 38: by Pink (new)

Pink | 4273 comments Karin, thanks for the recommendation.


message 39: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 360 comments Chrissie wrote: "Well I thought How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker would fit here, but I do not recommend it . I dumped it.

I will be reading When Nietzsche Wept which is..."


Hi Chrissie,

The idea was to stick to psychology non-fiction but I do get your point. I guess it wouldn't hurt to recommend some psychology fiction in case some people are interested? It's the perfect thread to share recommendations after all:)


message 40: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 360 comments Greg wrote: "Rowena wrote: "I'm going to be reading Lectures on Jung's Typology as I'm intrigued by personality psychology"

I love this topic Rowena!

When I took the extensive full version of Mye..."


Hi Greg, I'm glad you're interested in Myers-Briggs too! I'm an INFJ, although I sometimes get INFP. Learning more about this typology definitely helped me make sense of myself:)


message 41: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 360 comments Noel wrote: "Ahhh my favorite subject! I have lots to recommend if anyone's looking. :)

If you're interested in childhood PTSD, I suggest this deeply illuminating book, [book:The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: A..."


Thanks, Noel! Feel free to recommend more, these all look fascinating:)


message 42: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 360 comments Marina wrote: "I'm very interested in psychology. I don't know yet what I'll read, but I'd like to recommend a couple of books to anyone who might be interested.

I recently read [book:Stalking the Soul: Emotiona..."


Hi Marina,

I was working my way through The Body Keeps Score and I found it really enlightening


message 43: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 17, 2017 10:19PM) (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Rowena wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "Well I thought How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker would fit here, but I do not recommend it . I dumped it.

I will be reading .."


I was thinking When Nietzsche Wept could feasibly be mentioned since the author, Irvin D. Yalom, is an emeritus professor pf psychiatry at Stanford. Mariana thought too it had merit, having just completed it!


message 44: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 360 comments Chrissie wrote: "Rowena wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "Well I thought How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker would fit here, but I do not recommend it . I dumped it.

I will be reading .."

I wa..."


I actually have that book but I haven't read it yet, Chrissie. It looks interesting! I like the author's wife too, she's a great writer.


message 45: by Pink (new)

Pink | 4273 comments That looks interesting Chrissie and also reminds me that I still need to read Nietzsche himself.


message 46: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Re: fiction andnon-fiction and learning a new subject.

I think sometimes it is easier to start with historical fiction (that doesn't depart from the historical facts) but adds in fictional dialog and perhaps some added fictional characters rather than plunging first into non-fiction. it all depends on the author of course. I don't want to learn something completely off course.

Pink, yeah I agree, and now Marina says it IS good. I REALLY liked At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails, but it had really nothing about Nietzsche. NOW every time someone says they are existentialist I want to know which philosopher they are referring to because the group is so very large and their respective views also changed with time. This is more philosophy though than psychology.......


message 47: by Chrissie (last edited May 18, 2017 02:02AM) (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments I am going to read Memories, Dreams, Reflections by C.G. Jung. This has to fit here. Rowena, I saw that you found it to be an excellent book.

It is today (May 18, 2017) the daily deal at Audible UK, costing only 2.99 GBP, if others are interested!


message 48: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 360 comments Chrissie wrote: "I am going to read Memories, Dreams, Reflections by C.G. Jung. This has to fit here. Rowena, I saw that you found it to be an excellent book.

It is today (May 18, 2017..."


Hi Chrissie,

I did! I hope you enjoy it too. One of the reasons I really enjoyed it is because I could relate to some of Jung's childhood experiences and thoughts. I'll be curious to hear what you think of it


message 49: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments Rowena, oh I do hope I like it! I have always had a hard time getting a grip on what he meant by his archetype concept. Would you say that he explains his ideas clearly?


message 50: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie | 9822 comments I have started Memories, Dreams, Reflections by both C.G. Jung and Aniela Jaffé. It so far indicates that it will not be your typical biography or autobiography or book on psychology either! The focus is not on external events, but instead on internal perception.


« previous 1
back to top