The 5 Most Influential Books on Psychology

· May 26, 2017

The field of psychology has gotten increasingly popular, as many people are becoming more and more interested in their mental health and the problems associated with it. This branch of science encompasses diverse fields that influence us all in some way or another.

Psychology is relevant to work, marketing, human relations, love, emotional health, physical health, mental health, and so on. It’s present in all of our lives and influences everything around us, which is why people are becoming more aware of and interested in it.

Books on psychology have become great research guides, and not just for professionals. Authors write them for anyone who might be interested in gaining a better understanding of human behavior and of themselves.

Today, we’re going to review the 5 most influential books on psychology for the general public:

1. Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel prize for the work he did on this book. He was the first psychologist to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002. He is considered one of the most influential modern authors.

Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow is a pioneering text on the rational model we use to make decisions, especially economical ones. Through using simple language and many examples, the author knew how to leave his mark on the fields of economics, politics, and medicine through psychology.

tiny boy on book

In this book, which was a huge international success, you can find a revolutionary perspective on how the brain makes decisions. He presents two conflicting models of thought, one intuitive and emotional, and the other one slower, more rational, and more logical.

“We are prone to overestimate how much we understand about the world and to underestimate the role of chance in events.”

Daniel Kahneman-

2. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

This is one of the most famous books on psychology, since it introduced the concept of emotional intelligence to the general public. The author, Daniel Goleman, used accessible language to explain how our emotions impact our lives and how having a proper relationship with them can also be a form of intelligence.


This type of intelligence can be nurtured through tools that help us achieve more stability, harmony, and happiness in our lives. Therefore, this book is essential for anyone to read.

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

-Daniel Goleman-

3. The Art of Loving

The Art of Loving has become a vital resource to better understand what it means to love and how you can learn to love. The author, Erich Fromm, deeply analyzes our affective and sexual interactions, shedding light on popular erroneous beliefs on the subject.

The German philosopher considers love to be an art, and as such, it requires dedication and knowledge in order to put it into practice and benefit from it. In his view, society leads us to believe that love is mechanical and fleeting, that it has to be spontaneous, that it requires no effort or care.

folded pages

“If we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art, say music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering.”

-Erich Fromm-

4. Who Moved My Cheese?

This book by Spencer Johnson teaches us a valuable lesson: everything changes, and things we once thought were true and set it stone can become obsolete and cease to be of use.

In this book, he tells a story through metaphors, using cheese to represent anything you might want to achieve (i.e. money, happiness, success, love, etc.), and a maze to represent real world situations (i.e. disability, adversity, unknown and dangerous places, etc.).

“Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come.”

-Spencer Johnson-

5. Man’s Search for Meaning

This book by Viktor Frankl describes his own awful experiences at a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. The psychiatrist uses the agony experienced by him and his fellow prisoners as an example.

He shows how, in such extreme and desperate situations, hope can be maintained through the will to live. He discusses the importance of finding meaning in life and the motivation to be happy despite our difficulties, even terrible concentration camps like the one he was in.

“There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions, as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life.”

-Viktor Frankl-

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