Most popular business books these days look at how we think, make decisions, and learn from our mistakes. They also look at how people learn, how they grow, and how they lead. If you look at these titles, you’ll see not only how we think but also how we can start to think better. They could be called social psychology, behavioral economics, learning theory, or “neuroleadership.” Think about how many decisions you’ve already made today: what time to get up, what to eat for lunch. How to choose which toothpaste to use. How to dress. Breakfast ideas: How to get to work. To do when you get there. The moment we wake up, we are always thinking, even though we may not be aware of it.
But how often do we stop and think about how often we think? That’s what this year’s list is for. When you start to think about how you think, it’s hard to stop. When you become more aware of yourself, you will soon have more ideas, make better decisions, avoid regrettable mistakes, and act more efficiently, effectively, and confidently. So, here are fifteen titles that will make you a better thinker. They’re some of the best books I’ve read or reread on the subject in the last year. They’re a mix of all-time classics and new books I’ve just found.
Books to Help You Think About Thinking
Art of Changing the Brain, The: Enriching the Practice of Teaching By Exploring the Biology of Learning By James E. Zull
Isn’t it interesting to learn about how our bodies and minds work together to make us think and communicate? This book is very easy to read, and it talks about how the brain works and how we learn without getting too technical.
Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error By Kathryn Schulz
In this book, you’ll learn a lot about how and why we make mistakes. You’ll also have a lot of fun and be surprised by how and why we believe what we believe. I used to believe in something, but now I don’t. “What is something you believe today that you think you might not believe to be true in the future?” This book looks at why we are so often wrong and what we can do to change that.
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School By John Medina
Medina, a molecular biologist, has written an easy-to-read and very practical guidebook that simplifies a very complicated subject without dumbing it down. With simple language and a sense of humor, he effectively explains and shows how important the mind-body connection is when it comes to thinking and learning. These short, fun videos will give you an idea of how his 12 Brain Rules can help you better rule your life.
Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People’s Minds By Howard Gardner
In this brilliant developmental psychologist’s book, “Multiple Intelligences,” the master of “multiple intelligences” talks about what it takes to change someone else’s mind and how we can change our own minds. The act of influencing is both an art and a science, and it helps if you know more about how the human mind works. To give you an example, one of his main points is that you should spend less time trying to convince someone and more time trying to understand why they don’t like your idea. So simple, but so useful and powerful.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (also To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others) By Daniel H. Pink
What makes people happy? As a manager, a leader, or a salesperson, you need to know how to motivate and influence people. In his two recent bestsellers, Dan Pink takes a deep dive into the psychology of how to do this. How and why we all need to be motivators, Pink says, and that no matter what we do for a living, we are all sales people.
My favorite thing to remember is that people are motivated by AMP: Autonomy, Master, and Purpose. Let your people do things the way they want to, in a place where they can grow and do work that truly matters, and you will be setting them up for success. You might also want to check out Pink’s RSAnimate video and his new TV show, Crowd Control, to see how his ideas work in real life.
How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens By Benedict Carey
This new release takes advantage of the most recent research on how our brains process and store information. Those who work in learning and development, coaching, or education will find this book very useful. It’s short and easy to read, and it has a lot of practical advice and powerful examples.
Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently By Gregory Berns
It means someone who does something that other people say can’t be done. An iconoclast is someone who does this. By looking at people like Steve Jobs and Walt Disney, the author comes up with new ideas about how we can follow their lead and be more brain-based in our efforts to be successful. He focuses on three areas: perception, fear response, and social intelligence.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion By Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.
It is one of the most important books on the subject that has ever been written. Influence came out in 2006. Cialdini takes a science and research-based look at why people agree to things and how to change their opinions and behavior. He shows us his six now-classic persuasion strategies: reciprocation, commitment/consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. This can help you be more successful at work and in life.
The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance (alsoThe Inner Game of Work) By Timothy Gallwey
This book has nothing to do with tennis, but everything to do with how we think about things. When we play tennis or any other game, we have two opponents: the other person or team, and ourselves. Often, we are our own worst enemy. Our minds are the place where “the inner game” is played. Either way, the game is won or lost. If you want to learn more about how to achieve peak performance in your mind, these two books will help you. I always refer back to them.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success By Carol S. Dweck, PhD.
It’s important to know if you have the “fixed mindset” or the “growth mindset.” After hearing Dweck’s name a lot over the last few years, I decided to read this book to find out what she had to say and what these two mindsets were all about. You have to be born with a talent, or you don’t. People with a fixed mindset think you either have one or you don’t, and there is nothing you can do about it. In contrast, people who have a growth mindset believe the opposite: that skills can be learned and that obstacles can be overcome. Using this simple model, we can learn more about how to change our mindsets and be more productive. It also shows us how to be more positive and productive.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business By Charles Duhigg
Make yourself into the person you want by learning more about how habits work and how to change them. Whether you want to get rid of an old habit or start one, this book will help you understand how habits work and how to change them. In order to become more aware of your own habits and develop new ones that are more productive and less harmful, you just need to remember the three-step “Cue-Routine-Reward” model that he came up with. Mind over matter, of course. This book will help you get there.