Books About the Brain

Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational

In this book, Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They’re systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational.

Ruth Clark and Richard Mayer, e-Learning and the Science of Instruction

This guide provides research-based guidelines on how best to present content with text, graphics, and audio as well as the conditions under which those guidelines are most effective. It describes the guidelines, psychology, and applications for ways to improve learning through personalization techniques, coherence, animations, and evidence-based game design.

Amy Cuddy, Presence

By accessing our personal power, we can achieve “presence,” the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others and instead adjust the impression we’ve been making on ourselves.

Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit

In The Power of Habit, Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. He combines scientific research and narratives from Procter & Gamble, the NFL, and the civil rights movement.

Joshua Foer, Moonwalking with Einstein

Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Foer’s yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top “mental athletes.” He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist’s trade to transform our understanding of human memory.

Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal

Humans live in landscapes of make-believe. We spin fantasies. We devour novels, films, and plays. Even sporting events and criminal trials unfold as narratives. Yet the world of story has long remained an undiscovered and unmapped country and Jonathan Gottschall offers a theory of storytelling.

Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Made to Stick

Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? Here, the authors reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle,” using the “Velcro Theory of Memory,” and creating “curiosity gaps.”

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes the reader on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical.

Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide

Lehrer shows how people are taking advantage of neuroscience to make better television shows, win more football games, and improve military intelligence. His goal is to answer two questions: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better?

Michael Lewis, The Undoing Project

One of the greatest partnerships in the history of science, Daniel Kahneman andAmos Tversky’s extraordinary friendship incited a revolution in Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis’s own work possible. Lewis shows how their Nobel Prize–winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.

John Medina, Brain Rules

How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget—and so important to repeat new knowledge? Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work.

Disclosure: Descriptions are derived from those on