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Monday, November 24, 2014

The Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

I am about to talk to you about one of the greatest series of books I have ever encountered. I came across a book I will review on Friday, The Science Book, at BEA this year, and I fell madly in love with it. It is important to me to find books that are clear, easy to understand, and break down concepts for the everyday reader. I loved that book so much I requested a copy of two more in the series, and this holiday week I am going to gush about them thoroughly. Today is The Psychology Book

I am going to skip my usual recap because this book could be read cover to cover, but it is also an incredible resource for psychology in general. We all know how sensitive I am to psychological content being misrepresented, so I was floored when this book arrived on my doorstep and I cracked it open. I read it with my jaw on the floor--it was gorgeous, first of all, but it was also so clear. Of course it can't encompass every single thing about every single theorist (the book is already a nice size!), and I was impressed at how it took the big ideas and synthesized them for a non-psychologist audience. 

It starts with this philosophical roots of psychology (Kierkegaard, Descartes, G. Stanley Hall, etc.), then moves into Behaviorism, which is both easy and difficult to understand. Thorndike, Pavlov, Skinner, and their ilk are one of the hardest things for me to teach, and I appreciate how this book drilled it down so that the big ideas came out. We then move into psychosexual theories (Freud, Jung, etc.) and then into my love, cognitive psychology, with such luminaries as Bruner, Seligman, and Kahneman. Then follows social psychology (think Asch, Milgram, Zimbardo), which I love but have always needed something that boils it down for increased understanding. We then hit my other love, developmental psych, with Piaget, Vygotsky, Bandura, and Baron-Cohen. We end with psychology of difference. 

I love the broad range of topics that are covered, and I also adore that this book focuses on bringing big ideas from specific psychologists to life. A lot of these ideas are very hard to grasp in full, and this overview is excellent. It's a great resource for my students, and I recommend this book often to students looking for either an additional reference or for more information on topics we cover in class. There is a handy glossary and the table of contents makes the book so easy to use. It looks gorgeous on my shelf and makes an excellent addition to my library. In fact, it's a lot nicer looking than any other psych text I own! I am beyond thrilled with this book, and I could not recommend it more for any reason whatsoever--whether it be general interest or an addition to your library. (In fact, I have already been so vocal about recommending it that my fellow psychologist roommate bought her own copy and was also blown away.)

For purchase below! Get a copy for someone for the upcoming holiday season!

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