Best Psychology Books on Human Behavior

Sonia Akavan
Written by
Last update:

This is the list of top 5 best psychology books (in my opinion) that will tell you how human brain works and why they act that way.

The books listed are broad overviews of some established psychological theory. Therefore these books teach you how to understand yourself and the people around you.

NameCategoryProduct
48 Laws of PowerBest Overall
48 Laws of Power
Fascinate, Revised and Updated: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to ResistBudget Pick
Fascinate, Revised and Updated: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist
Emotions Revealed : Understanding Faces and FeelingsUpgrade Pick
Emotions Revealed : Understanding Faces and Feelings

1. 48 Laws of Power

Our rating: 9 / 10


48 Laws of Power

Check Price on Amazon

48 Laws of Power is an unconventional book written by author Robert Greene that outlines all of the best strategies and techniques that you could possibly use to become a highly formidable player in any game of power that you might want to enter.

The book describes the numerous laws and rules of power that one must follow in order to actually gain power and climb up the social ladder in any social setting where you are trying to reach a more powerful rank.

This book teaches you about how to manipulate, persuade, dominate and lead people with power, and it gives you the subtle insights into the human psychology that you need in order to understand why people do what they do, both individually and as a group.

2. Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

Our rating: 9 / 10


Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • About the true life of Jim Jones
  • True stories from the survivors of the Jonestown massacre

Jim Jones took 900 of his followers to a remote jungle in Guyana as his faith in racial equality turned into a mass suicide. A fascinating account of how a human mind is driven to the point of madness.

3. What Every BODY Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People

Our rating: 9 / 10


What Every BODY Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Helps to understand human behavior
  • Moderately priced book
  • Quite comprehensive
  • Simple format layout

Cons:

  • Some might find it a bit too general
  • Many variables and exceptions to what is written

This practical human behavior book is written by Joe Navarro. It’s a book that anyone who wants to know what’s going on with other people can benefit from. The book is set up in a simple format with small sections.

The author talks about the way the body language is implicit and how to read beyond the words that people express. The format of the book follows the flow of normal conversations many people have in their lives. He also talks about what to look for when giving testimony in court.

This is a book that is written for everyone from federal agents and psychologists to taxi drivers and everyone in-between. This book is designed to give those people a leg up, so to speak, in understanding other people.

4. Emotions Revealed : Understanding Faces and Feelings

Our rating: 8 / 10


Emotions Revealed : Understanding Faces and Feelings

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Very research-based
  • Helps to improve emotional intelligence
  • Differentiates the five basic emotions (anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and happiness)
  • Discusses facial expressions specific to each of the five main emotions

Cons:

  • Thorough and heavy on research
  • Not always easy reading
  • More details for psychology students and researchers

Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman is arguably the best book ever written on emotions and the human face. It is a must-read for everyone who wants to get to grips with the workings of facial expressions and the five basic expressions of emotions that they reveal.

We selected this bestseller not only because it’s a treasure trove of information for psychotherapists and communication coaches, but also because it’s a really insightful book for the general reader.

5. NLP: The Essential Guide to Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Our rating: 8 / 10


NLP: The Essential Guide to Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Practical, proven methods
  • A great way to improve your life
  • Learn how to change your life
  • One of the best Psychology books

More than anything else, the book boils down to this: you can change your life. The techniques described are fairly simple, and can be applied to improve almost any situation.

Throughout the book we get instructions for various exercises and techniques. The most powerful of these techniques here is one of hypnosis.

It is a fairly standard hypnosis exercise that I have seen used many times elsewhere. It uses a pre-arranged cue word to induce trance. At that point, you can suggest a number of things to the client, including a healthier relationship with food. As someone who has used Hypnosis in the past to quit smoking, I am a big believer in how effectively a Hypnotist can change a person’s life. In this case, NLP is used more as a motivation tool, rather than a method of mind control.

6. Fascinate, Revised and Updated: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist

Our rating: 8 / 10


Fascinate, Revised and Updated: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Good for startups
  • By Copyblogger, one of the best resources
  • Illustrated

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Non-essential

By now, you’ve most certainly heard of the Copyblogger team. They’ve been receiving widespread acclaim and praise for several years now, and rightfully so. They’ve taken a pretty common practice and completely revolutionized it, all while executing it extremely well.

Copyblogger is the go-to resource for social media and online marketing. Social media today largely runs on well-compatible copy and images that really bring the products and services to life. Copyblogger makes their living writing engaging, [clickbank_product id=…] hypnotizing, and educational content that will make you want to read, read and read some more (to absorb as much as possible, of course).

If you are starting your own business, then this is an absolute essential read. You’ll find ideas on how to make your brands irresistible by creating content that’s captivating, exciting, engaging and downright fun to read. Learn exactly how these big brands have captured the public’s attention using persuasion tactics used by marketers, advertisers, and content writers through history.

7. Thinking, Fast and Slow

Our rating: 7 / 10


Thinking, Fast and Slow

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • A true classic in the field of behavioral economics
  • A book that will change the way you see the world
  • Shatters many myths about how the economists work

Complicated. Will make your head spin if you are not familiar with economics

Thinking, Fast and Slow is a popular and practical guide to decision making. It was written by Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize Winner in Economics.

This book shows how we can make better decisions in our business or personal lives. It helps you understand how your own intuition can serve you or lead you wrong.

8. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Our rating: 6 / 10


The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • by Philip Zimbardo
  • best psychology book on the topic of human behavior

It is an excellent book. The author has used his expertise in the field of social psychology to make the book even better. It is called “The Lucifer Effect”, and it is basically about how people can be led to exhibit evil behavior despite having good intentions. He uses the famous Stanford Prison experiment conducted by him in 1971 as the foundation of this book.

9. Triggers

Our rating: 6 / 10


Triggers

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Inspiring and uplifter
  • Life changing
  • Step by step process to unleashing compassion within ourselves and others
  • Practical and easy to use for everyday life
  • Examples and stories to demonstrate how we can become more loving in our everyday lives

Cons:

  • Not a new book
  • Hard to implement all steps within a short time frame

By Marshall B. Rosenberg PhD

I was first introduced to Marshall Rosenberg in a Psychology class taught by Dr. Jon Carlson, when I was a senior in college. I had never heard of Marshall Rosenberg until that point, but that class changed my life and the way that I viewed relationships with others.

Dr. Carlson signed me up to be on his volunteer counseling staff and the year that I spent volunteering there was the learning experience of a lifetime. I learned how to help people’s lives change by simply using different communication techniques.

10. Psychological Subtleties Vol. 1 by Banachek

Our rating: 5 / 10


Psychological Subtleties Vol. 1 by Banachek

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Great coverage of psychology
  • Has real life stories
  • Timeless information
  • Reasonable price
  • Fewer, bigger concepts
  • Easy to understand

Cons:

  • Too long for some
  • Not enough information
  • Concepts are too general
  • Challenges the way you think

This book is definitely a unique one and can help you in your daily life, both on and offline. Banachek breaks down many different psychological concepts and models into relatively few but big ideas.

The book covers a huge breadth of psychological principles and ideas and also has several case studies from all over the world. The book is relatively old and this makes it extremely interesting but also makes it slightly outdated.

It does contain some errors, however, they are not major and once you understand the concepts you can tweak them in your own thinking and use your new-found knowledge practically.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are some good books to read about psychology and human behavior?

If you need help with understanding something about human psychology, these are the books we’d recommend purchasing.

These two books will get you started on understanding and analyzing the behavior of others. They not only allow you to understand why others do what they do; they help you to influence and change others’ behavior as well.

How can I read people's mind books?

You can read other people's mind by paying attention to their body language. Body language is the nonverbal communication language, which is continuously and subconsciously emitted by a humans body.

Eye contact is the most important body language, which others will orient to automatically. Our eyes have a subconscious connection with the brain, which allows us to perceive and interpret the hidden messages of other people.

What are the best psychology books to read?

Book recommendations can be a highly subjective matter, depending on the reader in question. Therefore, we've assembled a rundown of the best psychology books on human behavior, along with what they're really good for.

First, we have The Psyche of Leadership. If you're a professional or an entrepreneur who is at the head of a group, you need the right mindset to keep it all going. This book outlines just the sort of mindset that you need.

Next, we have Psychology Workbook. It's the ultimate traditional textbook in a workbook package that is designed to help you understand the subject as much as possible.

Finally, we have the biggest book of the bunch, Motivation and Personality. It's the traditional textbook that talks about all areas of personal motivation and personality in relation to society at large. It deals with all aspects of personality, intelligence, and the impact of nature and nurture.

What is the best psychology book for beginners?

In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini talks about six unique psychological principles used by advertisers and salespeople to influence our behavior. We don’t wish to give away any of the book’s spoiler alerts, but if you’re looking for a consolidated (and humorous) survey of the different persuasion techniques that are used every day, this is an excellent introductory-level book.

If you want to dive deeper into any of the topics discussed in this book, check out Cialdini’s Influence: Science and Practice. Here, Cialdini gives a more thorough rundown of how to implement the psychological principles he discusses.

Conclusion

In the market for the best psychology books that will help you understand human behavior and why people think, behave, and act the way they do? We’ve reviewed 7 best-selling books about human behavior that will provide you with in-depth information for the person that is new to the field of psychology, as well as for the person who has been studying it for quite some time.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
48 Laws of PowerBest Overall
48 Laws of Power
Fascinate, Revised and Updated: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to ResistBudget Pick
Fascinate, Revised and Updated: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist
Emotions Revealed : Understanding Faces and FeelingsUpgrade Pick
Emotions Revealed : Understanding Faces and Feelings