I first posted a list of my favorite neuroscience books back in December, but have added some since then, so I thought I’d update it again for the spring. In no particular order:
Mindsight, Daniel Siegel — he is my hero, and this is a wonderful book. One of the few writers and researchers really looking at the brain through the lens of consciousness. True stories of real profound changes and healing. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy, Louis Cozolino — in my opinion, probably the best book for coaches out there, although he focuses on therapists. Accessible but deep. Cozolino also uses real-life examples and has a curiosity and humility that really shine through his writing.
Coaching with the Brain in Mind, David Rock and Linda Paige — I use this for reference. It’s very detailed and complex and perhaps not an easy cover to cover read, but I find it very helpful for looking things up. They spend a fair amount of time talking about different aspects of coaching, so it’s quite a broad overview. They don’t include or discuss co-active coaching and there tends to be a business effectiveness focus.
The Brain that Changes Itself, Norman Doidge — wonderful true stories of “neuroplasticity” and astonishing ways the brain can find new ways to do things. Highly enjoyable to read.
Incognito, David Eagleman — also an easy to read book, lots of true stories about how we know what we know. Gets a little redundant towards the end but still worthwhile. Just the story of chicken sexing is worth the price of the book.
My Stroke of Insight, Jill Bolte Taylor — a wonderful book about right brain/left brain, written by a neuroscientist who had a stroke. Her TED talk on the subject is widely popular, and the book takes it deeper. Bolte Taylor’s humility and wisdom really shine through. Absolutely a must read for anyone who is working with someone recovering from a stroke. She gives real, straightforward, practical advice based on her own experience.
The Art of Changing the Brain, James Zull — this may be the best book on learning and the brain for educators. Zull does a fabulous job explaining the action-learning cycle in terms of neuroscience.
Your Brain at Work, David Rock — good for leaders, very business focused. I don’t use it in coaching, but I recommend it to clients who want to understand some very basic aspects of the brain presented in a simple way. He uses two fictionalized characters to make his points. I prefer stories of real people, but even these made-up characters do help the material come to life.
The Buddha’s Brain, Rick Hanson with Richard Mendius — a great introductory book on the brain that weaves in mindfulness and Buddhist wisdom and includes practical tools for personal development.
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Gabor Mate — fabulous work on the neuroscience of addiction. Mate unflinchingly tells about his own battles with compulsive shopping, as well as stories from working with longtime addicts in Vancouver.
The Master and His Emissary, Iain McGilchrist — amazing, powerful work on the right and left brain. Will change the way you think about the hemispheres. (Confession — this one is on my shelf but it is 500 pages with 10-point type and I have not gotten very far in yet. However, the RSA video is fantastic and only 11 minutes or so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFs9WO2B8uI)
I do also still own a copy of the Idiot’s Guide to the Brain as seen in the above photo. I went to sell it at Half Price Books the other day and couldn’t bring myself to do it. Not sure why, maybe I just find it comforting to own it …. 🙂