The 8 Best Psychology Books for Students of 2022

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If you are interested in learning more about the science of the mind and behavior, there are plenty of great psychology books to help you get started. What are some of the best books for psychology students to read?

While your psychology classes already have required reading lists, there are a number of great psychology books that can supplement your studies. From guides to help you succeed in school to reviews of the ​history of psychology, the following books are some of the best choices for psychology students interested in boosting their grades and deepening their knowledge of psychology. Even if you are just a casual student of the subject, these psychology books can offer insights into the field and its history.

Here are the best psychology books for students.

Pioneers of Psychology by Raymond E. Fancher & Alexandra Rutherford

Anyone who thinks history is boring should definitely read Fancher and Rutherford's engaging look at the history of psychology, from its philosophical beginnings to the modern day.

As this text proves, psychology books devoted to the history of the field need not be dry or dull. The book offers a very human view of some of the great thinkers that have influenced psychology, including Descartes, Locke, Darwin, Freud, and Skinner.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

When it comes to psychology books, there are a few texts that you should absolutely purchase. The APA style manual is a must-have for any psychology student. Get this book early on in your academic career and keep it on hand to consult as you write research papers, literature reviews, lab report, and other writing assignments.

How to Think Straight About Psychology by Keith E. Stanovich

Keith E. Stanovich's How to Think Straight About Psychology serves as a nice complement to any research methods course.

Learn more about critical thinking skills and how to identify pseudoscience. Explore other topics in psychology as well such as experimental control, correlational studies, and experimental studies.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

This book from neurologist Oliver Sacks is a great read for both psychology students and a general interest audience. The author explores clinical stories of patients who suffer from neurological disorders, offering an engaging and thoughtful look at neurological problems.

While some psychology books are targeted at an audience with an extensive background in the topic, this book can be easily enjoyed by anyone new to psychology.

The Psychology Major's Handbook by Tara L. Kuther

Tara L. Kuther offers some excellent tips for students in this handy psychology book.

Learn about some of the many reasons to major in psychology, find great tips for academic success and learn more about some of the careers available to psychology majors.

Career Paths in Psychology by Robert Sternberg

Have you ever wondered exactly what you can do with a psychology degree? Psychology is a broad and diverse subject, so there is considerable variation in the type of careers that psychology students can pursue.

This comprehensive overview from psychologist Robert Sternberg offers an excellent look at some of the career options available to students as well as professionals who are considering a career change. Explore some of your choices and think about how you can achieve your academic goals.

Getting In by the American Psychological Association

If you are thinking of studying psychology at the graduate level, then this guide from the American Psychological Association is a must-have for your growing collection of psychology books.

Each step of the admission process is broken down into easy-to-follow segments, and hand timetables make it simple to track your progress.

Cracking the GRE Psychology Subject Test by The Princeton Review

In order to get into a psychology graduate program, you will most likely need to take the GRE subject test in psychology.

Prepare yourself for the test with this test prep book, which offers a quick review aimed at refreshing your knowledge of various topics within psychology.

What to Look for in a Psychology Book for Students

Up-to-Date Research

Used books can be helpful in some contexts. However, psychology is an evolving science with new findings and updated research. If you’re looking for a psychology book to supplement your studies, make sure it’s not outdated.

Trusted Sources

It’s becoming easier to self-publish books either in print or digital formats. As a result, there are more people than ever who are releasing books for public consumption. Some of these people aren’t qualified experts for the disciplines they’re writing about. Research the authors and publishers of psychology books you aren’t familiar with to make sure they’re coming from a trusted source.

Easy to Understand

Many books about health and science are dense and difficult to understand. Luckily, there are many books that break these subjects down for audiences who aren’t as familiar with technical jargon. When you’re choosing psychology books, keep this in mind so that you can easily understand the psychology concepts you wish to learn.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I read these books in place of my required psychology reading?

    Your professor chooses specific psychology books to inform their course design. While other psychology books help explain common concepts, there’s no guarantee that the information is exactly the same. There are advances and new discoveries in psychology that may not be reflected in older editions. Additionally, your professor may utilize the review questions or other unique passages in their selected resources, so it’s best to keep those on hand.

  • What kind of jobs can I pursue with a psychology degree?

    There are many jobs you can pursue with a degree in psychology because it gives you insight into the way people think and behave. Most obviously, there are entry-level opportunities in mental health that are a great fit, like mental health technicians and case managers.

    There are also many psychology majors who go on to have successful careers in marketing, education, advertising, sales, and many other industries. Figure out what interests you and it’s likely that your degree in psychology is a reliable step in the right direction.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."