Non-conscious vs Conscious Control

 

Michael S. Gazzaniga: Who's in Charge?

This is truly an amazing book based on split brain patient studies that offers true evidenced-based research into the depth and importance of non-conscious process and impact on our global functioning. Don’t read this if you want to maintain a strict cognitive behavioral approach to your clinical work!  

Robert Sapolsky: Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

Great book on non-consciousness processing and the human condition

Dean Buonomano: Brain Bugs

Similar theme regarding unconscious processing based on providing copious and fascinating examples that will amaze you and question your understanding of yourself, the world, and your clinical work. 

 

Timothy D. Wilson: Strangers to Ourselves

Similar to the above.

 

Daniel Kahneman: Thinking, Fast and Slow

This is long and at times tedious but sprinkled with valuable insights you will get nowhere else. Nice, simple application of stats to clinical work that ALL clinicians need to understand!

 

Christopher Chabris, Daniel Simons: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us

Similar to the above, fun read

 

Stanislas Dehaene: Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts

Similar to the above.

 

Antonio Damasio: Self Comes to Mind

Mixed reviews but good insight into emotions and empathy

 

Antonio Damasio: Descartes’s Error

Old but still has a wealth of valuable knowledge on understanding emotions

Kathleen McAuliffe: This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society

Not strictly neuroscience but the effects of microorganism can be quite powerful, especially toxoplasmosis!

Dean Burnett: Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really up To

Entertaining review of non-conscious processing and its impact on our daily lives by a neuroscientist

Stress & trauma

 

Robert M. Sapolsky: Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping 

Somewhat older but you really, really need to read this book if you want to understand your anxious or traumatized patients.

 

Bruce D. Perry, Maia Szalavitz: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook

You want to work with an adult, child, or anyone with a serious trauma history? Please read this book. Traumatizing and sad cases but an excellent read from a skilled, knowledgeable, and thoughtful clinician. Helpful insights, although old enough to be weak on neuroscience; read it with this in mind an your clinical work will greatly benefit!

 

Joseph LeDoux: Anxious

Accessible neuroscience perspective on anxiety

Robert Sapolsky: The Trouble With Testosterone: And Other Essays On The Biology Of The Human Predicament

Good primer of the influence of hormones on our actions, behaviors, thoughts, and emotions

Robert Sapolsky: Stress and Your Body​

Entertaining audiobook lectures on stress and impact on brain and behavior

Van der Kolk: The body keeps the score: brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma

Compassionate introduction to trauma but unfortunately contains too many propositions that cannot be supported by science, such as mirror neurons, efficacy of EMDR, and some aspects of body work 

 

Mirror Neurons!

 

Gregory Hickok: The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition

Good, but as the author specializes in language, research presented is more in that area and less in clinical findings. Nonetheless, has good information and the beginning of the book is strong.

 

The Neglected Brain

 

R. Douglas Fields: The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries About the Brain are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science

If you really want to learn about the whole brain, you really should read this book. More emphasis on neurological functioning and pathology than clinical work however. 

 

Stephen Kosslyn, G. Wayne Miller: Top Brain, Bottom Brain

Nice approach to understanding the brain and highlights the simplicity of left brain-right brain conceptualization. Very useful, yet stretches the top-bottom brain hypothesis that, although useful, does not fully explain brain functioning from my clinical experience with both neurologically compromised and neurologically intact patients. 

 

Criminal Forensics & the Roots of Empathy

 

Adrian Raine: The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime

Interesting and useful, especially if you have any interest in forensic work. Also provides a good overview of limbic-frontal brain areas that will teach you much about how empathy really works.

 

Robert D. Hare: Without Conscience

Also a must read if you have an interest in criminal forensic work. A good read as well.

 

Simon Baron-Cohen: The Science of Evil

This book is primarily about empathy. The cousin of Borat, he is a Cambridge professor and an expert in Autism research. Highlight: he offers a reasonable explanation of mirror neurons (although still off base when you understand brain functioning and apply double dissociation studies). 

 

Philip Zimbardo The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Interested in how vulnerable you are to pressure and context? How far we can be led to deviate from who we believe we are? This book covers the Stanford Prison Experiment, Abu Ghraib, and Gitmo. Solid social psych text that is also a good read.

 

ADHD

 

Dr. Thomas Brown: Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults

A must, must read if you are going to diagnose or work with individuals whom may have ADHD; seriously, read this book. Be aware that he states early in the book that medication alone is the best treatment for ADHD, then devotes the remaining book to supporting the need for psychotherapy!

Dr. Russel Berkeley: Taking Charge of ADHD, Fourth Edition: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents

Great for parents!

Dr. Russel Berkeley: Taking Charge of Adult ADHD

Great for adults!

Dr. Russel Berkeley: Managing ADHD in School: The Best Evidence-Based Methods for Teachers

Great for teachers!

 

Learning Disabilities

 

Maryanne Wolf: Proust and the Squid

A good read and a must read if you have or work with individuals with learning disabilities

Sally Shaywitz, M.D.: Overcoming Dyslexia

A must read if you have or work with individuals with learning disabilities, good overview of interventions
 

Development

Frances Jensen: The Teenage Brain

Good review of differences in brain functioning in adolescents 

 

Sleep

Matthew Walker: Why We Sleep

Excellent review of the importance of sleep and establishing healthy sleep hygiene, should be required reading!

Memory

Julia Shaw: The memory illusion

Fallibility and malleability of our memory! 

Entertaining Neurosurgery Memoir

 

Frank Vertosick: When the air hits your brain

Interesting memoir and fun take on neurosurgery.