Top 7 Behavioral Books of 2022

Sep 4   ·   Reading time: 6 minutes
OK, OK. I know it’s not the end of the year just yet, but don’t you think September should be the new January? It’s much easier to set goals and get things done this time of the year when we’re well rested and energized after the summer. Nothing beats the productive energy of fall.

To go with that vibe, I thought this was a good time to share my top seven behavioral books of 2022.
Top 7 Behavioral Books of 2022

#1: The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity — and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race

I accidentally heard about this book from fellow behavioral scientists (Hi, Juliette!), and it’s so good. I don’t remember the last time I had so many “Aha!” moments while reading a book.

“The Molecule of More” is a pop-neuroscientific look at dopamine and its influence on our behavior. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve heard about dopamine before, and you know it’s one of the happiness neurotransmitters. Well, apparently, the story isn’t that simple. Liberman and Long explain how dopamine helped our species survive and thrive; and how it’s responsible for our unhappiness and addiction but also creativity, innovation, and even political views.

Human behavior will never make as much sense as it will after you read this book.
Top 7 Behavioral Books of 2022

#2: Seven and a Half Lessons about the Brain

Many of you have heard of Lisa Feldman Barrett’s “How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of Brain.” Now she’s back with a short and sweet book with eight (well, seven and a half, to be precise) essays from the front lines of neuroscience research demystifying and explaining how our brains work. Barrett being Barrett debunks some of the most fundamental mainstream conceptions about how the brain works.

It’s a quick read and worth the time. Chapter 4 was my favorite.

Top 7 Behavioral Books of 2022

#3: The Inflamed Mind: A Radical New Approach to Depression

Experts predict that within the next 20 years, depression will become the single biggest cause of disability worldwide. In “The Inflamed Mind,” Bullmore explains how and why depression is caused by inflammation in the body — a physical issue rather than emotional/mental.

When you read the story, it all makes so much sense that you’ll wonder why no one has discovered this earlier. This approach also sheds light on the ineffectiveness of current depression treatments and the critical role diet and overall good physical health play in our mental and emotional well-being. The book is worth your time even if you don't struggle with depression.
Top 7 Behavioral Books of 2022

#4: The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

This book should be obligatory for all parents, Generation Z, anyone working with Generation Z, and anyone who wants to understand why the world is as it is. While it’s heavily based on what’s happening on US college campuses, it’s safe to say the issues Lukianoff and Haidt talk about aren’t unique to the USA. They make a case that we now live in a culture of “safetism” where we're losing the ability to interact with people who have different beliefs and opinions from us. They describe six socio-cultural trends that make us, showing how we’re doomed if we don’t stop living in our comfortable and homogenous bubbles.
Top 7 Behavioral Books of 2022

#5: What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing

Now, don’t let Oprah’s name fool you. It took me a while to pick up this book, thinking it’s too “blah” for my scientific standards. True, I wish the form was more academic and structured (it’s written as a conversation between Bruce Perry and Oprah, rather than your typical pop-science book). However, there is still a lot of good content in it.

Until I read this book, I thought the word “trauma” was reserved for sexual abuse victims or people who lost loved ones in accidents or sudden illnesses. Well, as this book will show you, most of us “normal people” have gone through some sort of trauma. Perry — one of the leading brain development and trauma experts — explains how early childhood experience shapes our brains, nervous system, and behavior and what we can do about it.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a traumatized person, the book is worth a read. It’ll help you to look at other people through a “What happened to you?” lens rather than “What’s wrong with you?” leading to greater empathy, understanding, and maybe even acceptance.
Top 7 Behavioral Books of 2022

#6: Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience

If someone had told me what this book was about before I read it, I don’t think I’d have ever picked it up. The book is an encyclopedia of emotions  a list of 87 human emotions, with definitions focusing on differences between similar emotions (for example, the difference between feeling stressed and overwhelmed). That doesn’t sound like much, does it? Well, apparently, it’s what we all need. I’ve had quite a few “Aha!” moments while reading “Atlas of the Heart.” It turns out that understanding the nuances of our felt experiences can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Also, by knowing what exact emotion we’re experiencing, we can better understand what to do about it.
Top 7 Behavioral Books of 2022

#7: “Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight” by M.E. Thomas

Please don’t judge me, but I’m fascinated by sociopaths, and a part of me envies their skills. Maybe it’s because I’m on ASD, and sometimes I feel like a socially retarded cousin of sociopaths. In this memoir, Thomas — a high-functioning non-criminal sociopath with a successful career in law — explains how it is to be a sociopath and her (their) worldview, from ruthless manipulation, through no empathy, to no remorse or fear. She also draws on the latest research to explain why at least one in twenty-five of us is a sociopath – and shows why that’s not bad. If you’re fascinated by human behavior, this one is a great weekend read.
Sorry, but I had to. This website uses cookies for the purpose of analytical, advertising and social tools usage.