At the base of it, business success is about people--making the right connections, understanding motivation, guessing what others will do next, and accurately evaluating those you meet. Which is why knowing some basic psychology can be so valuable for professionals of all stripes.
How do you learn what you need to know about the vast and fascinating body of science that studies what goes on inside people's heads? You read, of course.
One place to start is the fascinating blog of psychologist and author Susan Weinschenk, but recently she did those hoping to increase their psychological understanding one better, offering a list of her favorite psychology titles for the general reader. Here are a few to get you started.
1. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
"If you want to understand how people think and how and why they react, then this is a must read," writes Weinschenk. Another reason to pick it up? The author is a Nobel Prize winning economist.
2. Redirect by Timothy Wilson
"If you want to know how to make permanent and lasting change in your behavior, or the behavior of someone you know, then this is the book to read," according to Weinschenk. "This book tells you what does and doesn't work based on research."
3. Drive by Daniel Pink
"What really motivates people? This book covers the research on human motivation in the last few years," she says. Plus, "it's well written and an easy read."
4. The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons
"Chabris and Simons explain their research that shows how what we think we are seeing and experiencing is not really what's out there," Weinschenk writes of this pick.
5. Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious by Timothy Wilson
"This is the book that actually got me started seriously on the topic of the unconscious," she notes. "This one is a bit more academic and psychological, especially the first few chapters, but all in all, a great book with lots of interesting insights and strong research."
6. Stumbling on Happiness by Dan Gilbert
"I don't think it's really about happiness, so I don't totally understand the title. To me it's mainly about memory of the past, and anticipation about the future, and the research on how accurate or inaccurate we are about both past and future. It's full of fascinating research," writes Weinschenk of this book.
7. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
This one is all about "the science of habits--how we form them, change them, and why they are so powerful," says Weinschenk.
8. The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar
"This is a thick book and research oriented, but it's the best book out there for a survey of decision making," she says. "Why do people make certain decisions? Why do they choose one thing over another? What makes them take action?" This pick offers answers.
9. Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
"This is a little book that brings together research on what captures our attention, makes us remember, and makes us take action. It's an easy read, but it explains well a fairly large body of research," Weinschenk claims.