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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi unintentionally discovered the state of consciousness he coined as ‘flow’ while he was conducting a study on happiness. This state of consciousness is where individuals can get lost for hours, they find themselves immersed into activities and are completely in the zone. Individuals can get into a state of flow through work, hobbies, sports, and creative writing. It is typically an activity that requires a high skill level and poses as a challenge. In Flow, he explains in great detail how to access flow states which can increase productivity, happiness and provide fulfillment in your life.
Get it: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
By Jonathan Haidt
In The Happiness Hypothesis, psychologist Jonathan Haidt provides a thorough analysis of happiness from differing perspectives including ancient philosophy, psychology, evolution and neuroscience. He provides a powerful metaphor of the elephant and the rider; the elephant represents our instinctual or subconscious self and the rider is our rational or conscious self. Despite the directions and intentions provided by the rider, the elephant does not tend to follow suit. We are bound to the elephant’s fate unless we are aware of the elephant’s motivations and consciously redirect them. This book is thought provoking and provides insight into the evolutionary logic of the human brain in order to address your cognitive biases. It will help you become a more self-aware individual and gain greater control over your mind.
Get it: The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
The Laws of Human Nature
By Robert Greene
Robert Greene has written many bestsellers on the subjects of power, strategy and seduction and is a renowned expert of human behaviour. In The Laws of Human Nature, Robert Greene provides valuable insights of the motivations and common psychological tendencies that affect human behaviour. In the book, these tendencies are outlined as 18 laws which are explained in great detail based on historical and biographical accounts. Instead of falling victim to these self-destructive tendencies Robert Greene offers advice of how to leverage them to your advantage.
Get it: The Laws of Human Nature
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
By David Burns
In Feeling Good, psychiatrist David Burns M.D., outlines strategies to change your thoughts to have a more optimistic perspective of life. Written during a time when antidepressants were the most popular solution to treat feelings of anxiety and depression, he praises the methods and positive patient results of the scientifically proven technique Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Burns helps readers develop awareness, recognize negative patterns of thoughts, take control over their mood swings and ultimately, feel good.
Get it: Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
By Steven Kotler
In The Rise of Superman, Steven Kotler provides a thought-provoking deep dive into what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi termed as the ‘flow’ state and leaves readers wondering about the limit of human potential. He has distilled over a decade of research of extreme sport athletes and analyzes how they have been able to challenge the boundaries of peak performance and achieve the impossible by hacking into their individual flow states. If you’re interested in the psychology and neuroscience of the flow state of consciousness, Kotler offers an easy to digest read full of eye-opening stories of individuals who have achieved unbelievable feats with the scientific explanation of the how.
Get it: The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
By Dan Ariely
The study of economics is based on the assumption that individuals make rational decisions, yet as a professor of psychology and behavioural economics, Dan Ariely has shown how humans act in quite irrational yet predictable ways. In an easy to comprehend format, the book is full of fascinating results of research studies about the intricacies of human behaviour. As a reader it challenges you to question your own decision-making ability and may change how you perceive the world around you.
Get it: Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
By Rick Hanson & Richard Mendius
Psychologist and bestselling author Rick Hanson, Ph.D., and neurologist Richard Mendius, M.D., have bridged the gap between neuroscience and ancient Buddhism teachings to provide readers with the tools to achieve emotional balance, meaningful relationships and how to rewire their brain for happiness and well-being. As a reader, the book will provide you with insights into greater compassion, wisdom and the science behind meditation.
Get it: Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
By Daniel H. Pink
In Drive, bestselling author Daniel Pink has distilled four decades of research on what motivates humans and has shed light on the stark contrasting difference of what science has shown as effective motivation strategies and what business leaders think is effective. Pink describes how old motivation practices such as the carrot and the stick should be disregarded, and instead to bestow team members with the elements of motivation that will truly incentivize good work which includes autonomy, mastery and purpose. This book is valuable for leaders responsible for driving performance, for those incentivizing children, for those who have trouble staying motivated themselves and for those who simply want to gain a better understanding of human nature.
Get it: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We do in Life and Business
By Charles Duhigg
In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer prize winning reporter and bestselling author Charles Duhigg explores the science behind habit change. This book is entertaining, educational and extremely interesting as you learn why some individuals and companies are able to make drastic change in an instant after years of continuous effort. Providing scientific evidence and anecdotal stories he explains in a simple action plan how you can change old destructive patterns. Since you and your success are the sum of your habits this book will undoubtedly benefit you.
Get it: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We do in Life and Business
“Every man is free to rise as far as he’s able or willing, but the degree to which he thinks will determine the degree to which he’ll rise.”
– Ayn Rand