Psychology is a fascinating field that delves into the complexities of the human mind and behavior. For teenagers, understanding the basics of psychology can be both enlightening and empowering.
Whether you’re a teen looking to explore the workings of the human mind or a parent/teacher hoping to introduce psychology to a young audience, this list of 37 psychology books for teens is a great place to start.
These books cover a wide range of topics, from the science of the brain to emotional intelligence and mental health.
Let’s dive in!
37 Psychology Books For Teens
1. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman
This book delves into the two systems that drive our thinking: System 1, which is fast, intuitive, and emotional, and System 2, which is slower, more deliberative, and more logical.
Kahneman, a Nobel laureate, explores how these systems shape our judgments and decisions, often in ways we’re not consciously aware of.
2. “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck
Carol Dweck presents the idea of “fixed” vs. “growth” mindsets. A fixed mindset assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static and can’t be changed in any meaningful way. In contrast, a growth mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a springboard for growth and stretching our existing abilities.
3. “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg
This book explores the science behind why habits exist and how they can be changed, emphasizing the importance of understanding the habit loop — cue, routine, reward. Duhigg combines scientific studies and real-life stories to show how habits can be transformed.
4. “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink
Daniel Pink examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose—and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action. He challenges the traditional notions of motivation driven by rewards and fear of punishment, advocating for a more intrinsic form of motivation.
5. “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth
Angela Duckworth shows that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” The book discusses how grit can be cultivated and fostered, both in individuals and in organizations.
6. “The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults” by Frances E. Jensen
This book provides insights into the teenage brain, shedding light on the rapid developmental changes that occur during these years. Jensen combines research with practical advice to help parents and educators understand the challenges and opportunities of adolescent brain development.
7. “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain
Susan Cain argues that we undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She introduces us to successful introverts and presents research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the unique strengths and capabilities of introverted individuals.
8. “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” by Daniel Goleman
Goleman brings attention to the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) as a skill set that can be more influential than IQ in determining success in life. The book discusses the five key elements of emotional intelligence and how they play a crucial role in our professional and personal lives.
9. “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin
In this book, Rubin recounts her year-long journey to discover what leads to true contentment. She explores various scientific theories, wisdom from the ages, lessons from popular culture, and her own experiences to learn what makes her happy—and how to bring more happiness into her life and the lives of others.
10. “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell explores the power of quick, intuitive judgment in contrast to deliberate, calculated thought. He delves into how we make decisions in the blink of an eye, often without fully understanding why, and discusses both the strengths and pitfalls of this kind of thinking.
11. “The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter – And How to Make the Most of Them Now” by Meg Jay
This book targets young adults, emphasizing the importance of the twenties as a crucial period in life. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, combines real-life stories with research to provide guidance on making the most of this decade, touching on work, relationships, personality, social networks, and brain development.
12. “Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain” by Daniel J. Siegel
Daniel J. Siegel offers a neuroscientific explanation of the changes occurring in the teenage brain. Challenging common myths about adolescence, he demonstrates how brain development affects teenagers’ behavior and relationships and provides practical suggestions for teens and parents to navigate these transformative years effectively.
13. “The Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Build Confidence and Achieve Your Goals” by Lisa M. Schab
This workbook is designed to help teenagers build self-confidence and self-awareness. It includes various exercises and activities to help teens develop a positive self-image, set goals, and address challenges like peer pressure, bullying, and academic stress.
14. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey
In this adaptation of Stephen R. Covey’s famous “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Sean Covey tailors the principles to a younger audience. The book provides teens with a step-by-step guide to enhance their self-image, build friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve their goals, and get along with their parents.
15. “The Upside of Unrequited” by Becky Albertalli (Fiction with psychological themes)
A young adult novel that explores the emotional turmoil and joys of teenage love and self-discovery. The protagonist, dealing with issues of unrequited love, body image, and the complexities of growing up, navigates through her emotions in a story that intertwines the psychological aspects of adolescence.
16. “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by David D. Burns
This book introduces the principles of cognitive therapy, a clinically proven method to help people overcome depression without medication. Burns provides techniques to combat feelings of depression, anxiety, guilt, pessimism, and low self-esteem, offering a guide to improving mood and overall mental health.
17. “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brené Brown
Brené Brown presents a guide to wholehearted living, a concept involving self-acceptance, compassion, and embracing one’s imperfections. The book encourages readers to let go of who they think they’re supposed to be and to embrace their authentic selves.
18. “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook” by Edmund J. Bourne
This workbook offers practical advice and exercises to help individuals cope with anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias. It includes tips on relaxation, nutrition, exercise, and managing negative thoughts, providing a comprehensive approach to dealing with anxiety-related issues.
19. “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Csikszentmihalyi introduces the concept of “flow,” a state of deep focus and immersion in activities. He explains how engaging in flow activities can enhance happiness and fulfillment, and provides insight into how one can achieve this state regularly in various aspects of life.
20. “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell
Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. Through various examples, he argues that successful people don’t just possess innate talent but also benefit from opportunities, cultural legacies, and the 10,000-hour rule, which suggests that mastery in any field requires extensive practice.
21. “The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook” by Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz
This book presents a series of case studies from a child psychiatrist’s perspective, demonstrating how trauma in early childhood can alter brain development. It offers insights into recovery and the resilience of children, emphasizing the importance of nurturing and therapeutic relationships.
22. “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking” by Oliver Burkeman
Burkeman challenges the conventional wisdom of positive thinking and self-help culture. He explores alternatives like stoicism, Buddhism, and embracing uncertainty, suggesting that true happiness comes from learning to enjoy doubt and imperfection.
23. “The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
This book provides strategies to foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. It offers parents and educators practical ways to transform difficult moments into opportunities for children to thrive and learn about themselves and their world.
24. “Stick Up for Yourself: Every Kid’s Guide to Personal Power & Positive Self-Esteem” by Gershen Kaufman
Aimed at empowering children and young adolescents, this book provides tools and techniques for building self-esteem, setting goals, and dealing with bullies and peer pressure. It encourages young readers to respect themselves and stand up for their rights.
25. “The Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, & Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
This book targets young girls, encouraging them to embrace imperfection and take risks. It combines research in genetics, gender, behavior, and cognition to demonstrate how confidence is built and how it can transform girls’ lives.
26. “The Teen’s Guide to World Domination: Advice on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Awesomeness” by Josh Shipp
Shipp offers a blend of humor and wisdom to address common teenage challenges. The book covers topics like making good decisions, dealing with bullies, managing relationships, and setting a course for a successful and fulfilling life.
27. “Mindfulness for Teen Anxiety: A Workbook for Overcoming Anxiety at Home, at School, and Everywhere Else” by Christopher Willard
This workbook addresses teen anxiety with mindfulness strategies and practices. It helps teens develop the skills to handle school pressures, social stress, and family issues, guiding them toward a calmer and more resilient state of mind.
28. “Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls” by Mary Pipher
This book addresses the challenges faced by adolescent girls in the modern world. Pipher, a clinical psychologist, uses case studies to explore how societal pressures, media messages, and a changing culture can negatively impact girls’ self-esteem and mental health.
She offers guidance on how parents and educators can better understand and support teenage girls.
29. “The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World” by Marti Olsen Laney
Laney explains how introverts can use their inner strengths to thrive in an extroverted world. The book offers practical advice on how introverts can manage their energy, navigate social landscapes, and maintain fulfilling relationships while staying true to their introverted nature.
30. “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement” by David Brooks
This book blends narrative and social science to explore the influence of unconscious emotions and social connections on our lives. Brooks uses the story of two fictional characters to examine how success, relationships, and character are shaped by our social nature and hidden psychological processes.
31. “The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience” by Martin E. P. Seligman
Seligman, a pioneer in positive psychology, offers strategies to develop optimism and resilience in children. The book provides tools to teach children to think more positively and optimistically, aiming to protect them from depression and build a foundation for lifelong emotional strength.
32. “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker
This book presents groundbreaking research on sleep, illustrating its vital importance to our health, brain function, and overall well-being. Walker explains the consequences of sleep deprivation and provides insights on how to improve the quality of sleep.
33. “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brené Brown
Brown challenges the perception of vulnerability as a weakness, arguing that it is, in fact, our most accurate measure of courage. She explores how vulnerability can be a source of strength and connection, and how it can transform the way we live, love, parent, and lead.
34. “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk
This book is a seminal work on the impact of trauma on the body and mind. Van der Kolk uses his extensive research and clinical experience to show how trauma reshapes the body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.
35. “Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
Levine and Heller use attachment theory to explain how our early childhood experiences shape our romantic relationships. The book helps readers identify their own attachment style and understand how it influences their romantic relationships.
36. “The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control” by Walter Mischel
Mischel, the creator of the famous Marshmallow Test, explores the importance of self-control. He explains how self-control can be mastered and applied to challenges in everyday life, offering insights into how we can delay gratification and make better decisions.
37. “How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
This book provides practical, accessible advice for communicating effectively with teenagers. The authors offer strategies to help parents engage with their teens in a way that fosters mutual respect, understanding, and problem-solving.