Spring is finally here and we have a great set of book recommendations for you this year, many from authors and regular contributors to Psych Central. While we regularly review hundreds of new titles every year, we believe that some deserve special attention.
Books should remain an important component of your reading routine. While I understand the expectation that we can get all the knowledge we need by simply Googling it, most of what’s online doesn’t get into any given subject very deeply. And when you do come across the rare topic online that is in-depth, it is rarely well-edited (and often, well-written) enough to make consumption of the material as enjoyable as it is from a book. While I’ve switched how I read books in recent years (now mostly enjoying them on my Kindle), reading books remains something I set aside time to do nearly every day. You should too.
The books below cover a variety of self-help and self-improvement topics. So without further ado and for your consideration, here are some springtime reading recommendations that I hope you’ll consider.
I have to start out with a new book on self-esteem that’s a must-read from one of our Ask the Therapists and long-time contributor, Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker. The book is called Unlocking the Secrets of Self-Esteem: A Guide to Building Confidence and Connection One Step at a Time.1
Marie’s book offers a different take on this popular topic, in helping the reader understand the foundations of genuine self-esteem. She believes genuine self-esteem comes from feeling good + doing good. You can’t have one without the other. Through this thoughtfully-written book, Marie offers step-by-step instructions on how you can increase real self-esteem and maintain those gains throughout the rest of your life.
If you’d like to learn more about how to increase happiness in your life through contemplation and mindfulness, long-time Psych Central blogger Dr. Elisha Goldstein’s latest book, Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion is for you.
In our review of the book, we noted that “Goldstein uses recent neurological, psychological, and physiological research to validate his approach. He shows how mindfulness and self-compassion are, indeed, promoters of positive change within the brain.” The reviewer also said:
One aspect I found especially delightful about Uncovering Happiness, aside from Goldstein’s congenial warmth, were the worksheets and exercises throughout the book. I found myself stopping frequently to complete the worksheets, then taking time to reflect on how the tools enhanced my understanding of emotional intelligence. And I found myself more fully appreciating the benefits of positive self-talk (a layer of self-compassion).
If emotional eating is a problem for you, you might benefit from checking out Dr. Pavel Somov’s Mindful Emotional Eating: Mindfulness Skills to Control Cravings, Eat in Moderation and Optimize Coping. Emotional eating — eating whenever you’re upset, stressed-out, or just feeling empty inside — is a troubling eating disorder that, like most eating problems, is hidden in shame by those who suffer from it.
Dr. Somov, also a blogger with us, has garnered nothing but 5 star reviews for his latest book. One reviewer noted that Dr. Somov offers a “lovely combination of self compassion and behavioral strategies to help people with the cycle of shame and further emotional eating when food is used as a coping skill. He normalizes our use of food to self soothe, and gives us step by step instructions on how to calm our minds and bodies before, and during eating so that we can make more mindful, intentional choices. Sounds like an interesting read for anyone grappling with this challenging problem.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Irvin Yalom’s newest book, Creatures of a Day: And other tales of psychotherapy. If you like tales of from the psychotherapist’s couch, you can never go wrong with the engaging stories that Yalom is known for. Our review of the book noted, “Whether you’ve been or want to be a therapist, a client or both, this book is incredibly powerful. You could easily sit down on the beach or in front of a fire and devour this in an afternoon. It’s entertaining and real.”
Yalom is one of the great writers in the field, and this book continues his tradition of weaving humanity, psychology, and the therapeutic approach all into one cohesive and engaging narrative.
- Full disclosure: I wrote the foreword to the book. [↩]