What’s on your “to-read” list this year?
Here are a few books that I’ve read (or plan to in 2019) chosen based on research rigour, chosen, publication date (the last year or two) and practical application. In other words: these books synthesise the most compelling brain science and smart ideas emerging from the research lab and make it relevant for our everyday lives.
Have fun exploring big topics like how our emotions are created, the importance of gut health, the latest on habit formation, understanding the teenage brain, epigenetics, mindfulness, depression and anxiety and the female brain. Happy reading!
1. Brain Changer by Professor Felice Jacka
How is our brain and mental health affected by what we eat? Australian scientist, Felice Jacka uncovers the link between obesity and depression, how gut health impacts brain health and how a Mediterranean diet can keep our brains healthy as we age.
2. The Neuroscience of Mindfulness by Dr Stan Rodski
Where is the proof that mindfulness works? Discover the neuroscience behind mindfulness as Dr Rodski explains how being in the moment can lower stress, increase energy levels, build resilience and protect us from a range of life-threatening illnesses.
3. Mind-Brain-Gene by Dr John Arden
In this groundbreaking book, Arden explores the fascinating world of epigenetics, the immune system and mental health. He takes us on a fascinating journey into the mind-brain-body feedback loops, showing how they influence mental and physical health.
4. Inventing Ourselves by Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore
Blakemore, often credited with pioneering adolescent neurosciences, takes us on a tour through the groundbreaking science behind the enigmatic, but crucial, brain developments of adolescence and how those translate into teenage behaviour. Blakemore demystifies this period of development, outlining what makes the teenage brain unique and why mental illness can develop in these years.
5. Lost Connections by Johann Hari
In his bold and inspiring book, Hari goes on a quest to explore nine different causes of depression and anxiety including disconnection from meaningful work, other people, the natural world and hope. He challenges what we have believed to be true about depression and anxiety and their unexpected solution – reconnection.
6. Atomic Habits by James Clear
How do we create habits that stick? In his book, Clear explores the neuroscience of habit formation, along with proven principles in biology and psychology to offer an effective system for change. According to Clear, it’s the small changes made consistently which compound into life-changing results.
7. How Emotions Are Made by Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett
Barrett shakes up what we have previously thought true about how emotions are created. She challenges the idea that emotions are automatic and hard-wired in certain parts of the brain, using the latest in emotion science to show how emotion is actually created from a complex interplay between our brain, body and culture.
8. From the Laboratory to the Classroom by editors Jared Cooney Horvath, Jason M. Lodge and John Hattie
Are we applying what we know about the neuroscience of learning in the classroom? Horvath’s book combines theory and practice exceptionally well, offering useful strategies based on the science of learning, motivation, attention and memory.
9. Every Note Ever Played by Dr Lisa Genova
From neuroscientist and author of Still Alice, Genova’s latest novel is compelling and thought-provoking. She explores what it means to be truly alive, looking at the way neurological conditions impact identity and relationships. Genova is gifted at bringing to life the struggles experienced by those living with a neurological condition and those who love and care for them.
10. The Women’s Brain Book by Dr Sarah McKay
Of course, how could I not include my own book on this list for must-reads of 2019! My book takes you on a journey through the female lifespan (from womb to tomb) and explores how how brains are shaped by the lives we live, and in turn how how lives are shaped by our neurobiology.
Any books I missed or you think should be added to the list? Leave me a comment below.
About Dr Sarah
I’m an Oxford University-educated neuroscientist, presenter of ABC Catalyst, director of The Neuroscience Academy, and author of The Women's Brain Book. The neuroscience of health, hormones and happiness.
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