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Recommended Reading

This section consists of books, articles, online resources, short stories and novels that may be of interest to readers who would like to study some (or all) areas in greater depth. Sieving through an immense number of titles to make this selection was an enjoyable but daunting task. Of course, this list can never be definitive and will require continuous updating; for this reason everybody is invited to make further suggestions. Not all suggestions will necessarily be accepted, but they will all be considered. So if you have any recommendations for fictional or non-fictional material that is insightful or inspiring and can be related to one of the above areas, please let us know.

The Map

For those interested in other attempts at mapping the mind, Hampden-Turner’s Maps of the Mind offers an informative and comprehensive collection of such models.


Janette Rainwater’s You’re in Charge: A Guide to Becoming Your Own Therapist (particularly chapters 1, 4, 5 and 6), and Know Thyself in Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, focus on this area. If you are interested in introspection, read Hixon, J.G. & Swann, W. B. When does introspection bear fruit? Self-reflection, self-insight, and interpersonal choices in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 64, No.1, 1993. Those drawn to dream interpretation may find this article useful: Malinowski, J. Was Freud right about dreams after all? Here’s the research that helps explain it, in The Conversation, 2016: https://theconversation.com/was-freud-right-about-dreams-after-all-heres-the-research-that-helps-explain-it-60884. In fiction, James Joyce’s Ulysses, one of the most significant novels overall, is recommended (but it is not an easy read).

Relating to oneself

Stan Taubman’s Ending the Struggle Against Yourself and the more recent The Self-Acceptance Project: How to Be Kind and Compassionate Toward Yourself in Any Situation by Tami Simon, deal with the topic in some depth. Some may also find the article Mindfulness and self-acceptance by Carson, S & Langer, E. from Harvard University (Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2006) useful. In fiction, a humorous account of self-distortions can be found in Who Moved my Blackberry by Martin Lukes.

Personal change

Changing for Good by James O. Prochaska, John Norcross & Carlo DiClemente, and Art Markman’s Smart Change are resources that can be a valuable support in carrying out desired changes. Personal change is also a theme in Somerset Maugham’s novel The Razor’s Edge.


Robin Dillon’s Dignity, Character and Self-Respect is a comprehensive collection of essays on this subject. How to Raise Your Self-esteem by Nathaniel Branden provide some practical advice. Baumeister’s article, Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth can be eye-opening. For more on self-respect, see Roland, C.E. & Foxx, R.M. Self-respect: A neglected concept in Philosophical Psychology Vol. 16, No.2, 2003; and Sachs, D. How to distinguish self-respect from self-esteem in Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol 10, 1982. Humility and Modesty in Character Strengths and Virtues by Christopher Peterson & Martin Seligman is recommended for those interested in this topic. In fiction, the classic Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen can be inspiring.


The first four chapters in Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence are suggested. More detailed description of revealing hidden feelings can be found in Self Therapy by Muriel Schiffman (the book has not been reprinted recently though). Lischetzke, T., & Eid, M. Is Attention to Feelings Beneficial or Detrimental to Affective Well-Being? Mood Regulation as a Moderator Variable in Emotion, Vol 3, No. 4, 2003, is an interesting article with possibly significant implications. In fiction, Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding is a good-humoured account of some good and not-so-good ways of dealing with feelings.


James J. Gross (ed) Handbook of Emotion Regulation is very comprehensive and suitable for those who want to go into great depth on this subject. Passion’s Slaves and The Master Aptitude in Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, are also relevant. Shakespeare’s King Lear depicts the tragic consequences of following emotions unreflectively.


The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Martha Davis, has many practical suggestions and exercises. Erich Fromm’s Excitation and Stimulation in The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness is a more theoretical but insightful take on this topic. In fiction, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk is recommended.


David Burns’ Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy; Robert E. Thayer’s The Origin of Everyday Moods; Gillian Butler’s How to Become Less Vulnerable to Depression in Managing Your Mind and the article by Holmes, E. A., Coughtery, A. E. & Connor, A. Looking at or through rose-tinted glasses? Imagery perspective and positive mood in Emotion. Vol.7, No.3, 2008, can all be helpful. In fiction, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera is suggested.


Love of learning in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues, and chapters 32-35 in Gillian Butler’s Managing Your Mind, are recommended. Tony Buzan’s Use Your Head contains many techniques from mnemonics and mind maps to speed reading tips. David Lodge’s novel Nice Work contrasts the values of theoretical and practical knowledge.


Part I and Part II in a surprising bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (the only psychologist to receive a Nobel Prize) and Thinking Straight in Butler’s Managing Your Mind, are recommended. Kendra Cherry’s What Is the Dunning-Kruger Effect? (https://www.verywellmind.com/an-overview-of-the-dunning-kruger-effect-4160740) is an interesting article as well as Evans, J. In two minds: dual-process accounts of reasoning in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 7, Iss.10, 2003. In fiction, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco is suggested.


Beghetto, R. & Kaufman, J. Toward a broader conception of creativity: A case for ‘mini-c’ creativity in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, Vol.1, No.2, 2007, and Creativity in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues, are good introductions to this topic. For spontaneous thinking, see: Don’t Read This Chapter: The Limits of “I Won’t” Power, in Kelly McGonigal’s The Willpower Instinct. For fantasy and goals see Oettingen, G. & Mayer, D. The motivating function of thinking about the future: expectations versus fantasies in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol. 83, No. 5, 2002. Games People Play in Their Heads: Constructive and Destructive Uses of Fantasy in Rainwater’s You’re in Charge, provides many examples of how fantasy and imagination can affect our lives. Edward De Bono’s Lateral Thinking: A Textbook of Creativity suggests some ways of developing this ability. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll can be inspiring.

Inner structure

For further exploration see Beliefs by Robert Dilts, Tim Hallbom & Suzi Smith, and Open-mindedness in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues. In fiction, Life of Pi by Yann Martel and Cervantes’ classic Don Quixote illustrate how beliefs can shape our lives and the perception of reality.


The Inner Conflict in Schiffman’s, Gestalt Self Therapy, and Emmons, R.A. & King, L.A. Conflict among personal strivings in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 54, No.6, 1988, are recommended. For regret, see A, Lickerman, The Faulty Premise Of Regret (www.psychologytoday.com/‌blog/happiness-in-world/201103/the-faulty-premise-regret?‌collection=98330). Robert Louis Stevenson’s Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde explores a personal conflict pushed to the extreme.


Paul Wilson’s Instant Calm, The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Martha Davis & Matthew McKay, James Hewitt’s The Complete Relaxation Book, and Learning to Relax in Butler’s Managing Your Mind, are among many materials that offer some practical suggestions. For those who would like to learn more about meditation, How to Meditate by Kathleen McDonald & Robina Courtin is suggested. Ian McEwan’s novel Saturday is an illustration of the value of stability in complex circumstances.


Self-discipline in Schiffman’s, Gestalt Self Therapy; chapters 1, 4, 6 in McGonigal’s The Willpower Instinct; chapters 1,2, 3, 6, and 7 in Baumeister & Tierney’s Willpower, Rediscovering our Greatest Strength; and Self-regulation in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues, are worthwhile reading. Charlotte Brontë’s classic Jane Eyre is an illustration of how self-discipline can sustain the person through hard times.


Irving, J. A. & Williams, D. I. The path and price of personal development in The European Journal of Psychotherapy, Counselling and Health, Vol.4, No. 2, 2001, and Individual Development in Popovic, N., The Synthesis, are recommended. In fiction, Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse addresses this topic.


There are many materials relating to this area. Here are some suggestions: What Are You Afraid of… and Why? in Susan Jeffers’ Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway; Appendix C: The neural circuitry of fear in Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence; Overcoming Fear and Phobias in Butler’s, Managing Your Mind, Self-help for Your Fears and Anxiety in Living With Fear by Isaac Marks. Bravery in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues can be inspirational. The novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin novel by Louis de Bernieres explores many aspects of courage.


Can’t You Make it Go Away? in Jeffers’, S., Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway; How to Improve Your Confidence by Kenneth Hambly, and Gael Lindenfield’s Super Confidence are among many books that aim to enhance confidence. The Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus is a cautionary tale about overconfidence; Part III. Overconfidence in a Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow is a more scholarly take on the subject. Henrik Ibzen’s play A Doll’s House is also suggested.

Anticipatory attitudes

Some readers may find a self-help classic, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, by Dale Carnegie still valuable. Robert Leahy’s The Worry Cure is a more recent title that covers similar ground. Getting the Better of Anxiety and Worry, or Defeating the Alarmist in Butler’s Managing Your Mind, also has some good suggestions. Chekhov’s short story The Death of a Bureaucrat depicts, in a comical way, the perils and absurdity of excessive worrying.


Edmund Bourne’s The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, and Dealing with panic: Controlling the alarm system in Butler’s Managing Your Mind, offer some practical advice on how to deal with excessive anxiety and panic. Popovic, N. Existential anxiety and existential joy, in Practical Philosophy, Vol.5 No.2, 2002, offers a novel way of approaching some core issues associated with ‘free-floating’ anxiety. Paul Tillich’s classic The Courage to Be may be of interest to those who are philosophically inclined. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is a touching and humorous account of coping with everyday anxieties.


Privette, G. Peak experience, peak performance, and peak flow: a comparative analysis of positive human experiences in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol.45, No.6, and Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues, are closely related to this subject. In fiction, Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf illustrates well the link between experience and the sense of aliveness.


Aluja, A., Garcia, O. & Garcia, L. F. Relationships among extraversion, openness to experience and sensation seeking in Personality and Individual Differences, Vol.35, Issue 3, 2003; Michael Rosenbaum’s Opening versus closing strategies in controlling one’s responses to experience in M. Kofta, G. Weary, & G. Sedek (eds), Personal Control in Action, and McCrae, R. R., & Sutin, A. R. Openness to Experience, in M. R. Leary and R. H. Hoyle (eds) Handbook of Individual Differences in Social Behavior (http://www.subjectpool.com/‌ed_teach/y4person/‌O/McCrae_Sutin2009Openness.pdf) are suggested. In fiction, Chekhov’s short story The Man in a Case is highly recommended because it contrasts the two extremes.


Chronic depression of boredom in Fromm’s The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, is a classic on this topic. More contemporary resources include: Martin, M., Sadl, G. & Stew, G. The phenomenon of boredom in Qualitative Research in Psychology, Vol.3, No.3, 2006; Curiosity, in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues; and Sansone C., Weir C., Harpster L., & Morgan C. Once a boring task always a boring task? Interest as a self-regulatory mechanism, in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol.63, No.3, 1992. Some may also find the following online articles useful: Art Markman’ What is Boredom? (www.psychologytoday.com/‌‌‌blog/ulterior-motives/201209/what-is-boredom?collection=116365) and Staving Off Boredom by Focusing On It (www.‌psychologytoday.com/‌blog/ulterior-motives/201210/staving-boredom-focusing-it?collection=116365), and also F. Diane Barth’s When is Boredom a Good Think? (www.‌psychologytoday.com/‌blog/the-couch/201112/when-is-boredom-good-thing?collection=116365) J.D. Salinger’s short story Teddy, exemplifies how interest and boredom depend on one’s perspective.


Many classical philosophers (e.g. Aristotle, Epicures, Mill) showed keen interest in this subject but, although pleasure plays a greater part in our lives than ever, it seems that contemporary authors do not pay much heed to this area. TheBrain’s Big Lie: Why We Mistake Wanting for Happiness, in McGonigal’s The Willpower Instinct; and another of Fromm’s essays, Pleasure and Happiness in Man for Himself, are recommended. The more practically minded may find Jan Chozen Bays’ Mindful Eating in Psychology Today useful (www.psychologytoday.com/‌us/blog/mindful-eating/200902/‌mindful-eating). In fiction, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World can be thought provoking.

Relating to death

Death (and the Possibility That You’re in Charge Here, Too!) in Rainwater’s You’re in Charge, is a good place to start. Also recommended are: Loss and Bereavement, in Butler, G. Managing your Mind; Vail, K. E., Juhl, J., Arndt, J., Vess, M., Roudledge, C., & Rutjens, B. When death is good for life in Personality and Social Psychology Review, Vol.16, No. 4, 2012; Lybi Ma’s Good Grief: Coping after Loss (www.psychologytoday.com/‌articles/‌200305/good-grief-coping-after-loss?collection=98952) and a classic on this subject, Death: The Final Stage of Growth edited by Elisabeth Kübler-Ros. Tolstoy’s story Death of Ivan Ilich and Paulo Coelho’s novel Veronika Decides To Die can be inspiring.


Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff is a classic on this subject. The short stories The Door in the Wall by H. G. Wells and The Dead by James Joyce are also highly recommended.


There are several sources related to this area. It takes a prominent place in some Eastern philosophies (especially Buddhism) that emphasise the value of non-attachment. Many popular psychology materials also stress the importance of non-attachment, (commonly referred to as ability ‘to let go’). Attachment theory plays a significant part in main stream psychology too, although the term is used somewhat differently. Zimberoff, D. & Hartman, D. Attachment, Detachment, Nonattachment: Achieving Synthesis in Journal for Heart-Centered Therapies, Vol.5. No.1, 2002, is recommended. Albert Camus’ novel The Outsider is a potent example of addressing this subject in literature, although many fictional characters can be analysed from this perspective.


The Resilience Factor by Karen Reivich & Andrew Shatte; The School of Life in Piero Ferrucci’s What We May Be; and Leipold, B. & Greve, W. Resilience: A conceptual bridge between coping and development in European Psychologist Vol.14, No.1, 2009, are suggested. Biographies of great leaders such as Mandela or Gandhi, for example, illustrate how commitment to ideals and goals may increase resilience, and can be inspiring. In fiction, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is not a light read but has a lot to say about human resilience.

The Present

Awareness and the Art of Being in the Now in Rainwater’s You’re in Charge; Focus in Ferrucci’s What We May Be; Jon Kabat-Zinn’s, Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life, and Ellen Langer’s Mindfulness: Choice and Control in Everyday Life, are recommended. Awareness by John Stevens is an in-depth exploration of awareness, with many practical suggestions. Huxley’s novel Island also touches upon this topic.

The Past

Dealing with the Past in Butler’s Managing Your Mind; Trauma and Emotional Relearning in Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, and The Uses of Autobiography in Rainwater’s You’re in Charge all deal with this subject in more detail. Marcel Proust’s classic fictionalised autobiography In Search of Lost Time (previously translated as Remembrance of Things Past) is a vivid and detailed account of grappling with the past, but its seven volumes may be too much for some.

The Future

Hope in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues; Alex Lickerman’s The Danger of Having Unrealistic Expectations (www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/happiness-in-world/201003/the-danger-having-unrealistic-expectations?‌collection=60192) and David Rock’s (Not So Great) Expectations (www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/your-brain-work/200911/not-so-great-expectations?collection=60192) are recommended. Becket’s play Waiting for Godot is a poignant exploration of our expectations and hopes.

Relating to the situation

Just Nod Your Head – Say ‘Yes’, in Jeffers’ Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, Gratitude in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues, and Part V. Two selves in Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow are recommended. Viktor Frankl’s autobiographical account in Man’s Search for Meaning can be hugely inspiring. It illustrates how even the most atrocious circumstances can affected by the way we relate to the situation.


How Whole is Your “Whole Life”? in Jeffers’s Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, and The Power of Deeper Purpose in Chris Johnstone’s Find Your Power, are suggested. Life and Meaning by Oswald Hanfling is a good collection of diverse essays on this topic. Frankl’s The Will to Meaning can also be insightful. More academically minded readers may found the following useful: Zika S. & Chamberlain K. On the relation between meaning in life and psychological well-being in British Journal of Psychology, Vol.83, No.1, 1992, and Baumeister, R. F. & Vohs, K. D. The Pursuit of Meaningfulness in Life in C.R. Snyder & S.J. Lopez (eds) Handbook of Positive Psychology (http://ldysinger.‌stjohnsem.edu/@books1/Snyder_Hndbk_Positive_Psych/Snyder_Lopez_Handbook_of_Positive_Psychology.pdf). The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro offers a complex and thought provoking view of commitment.

Personal freedom

Ryan, R. M. & Deci, E. L. Self-Regulation and the Problem of Human Autonomy: Does Psychology Need Choice, Self-Determination and Will? in Journal of Personality Vol. 74, No.6, 2006 is suggested. The Second Key to Good Relationships: Recognizing Voices from the Past.‘ in Butler’s Managing Your Mind, addresses the issue of social conditioning. In fiction, Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre is closely related to this subject.


Whether You Want It or Not… It’s Yours, in Jeffers’ Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, and Prudence in Peterson, & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues, are recommended. The Power of Responsibility by Joelle Casteix can be quite motivational. A poetically-written short novel, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, relates to this area in more than one way (although it is not the book’s main focus).


How to Make a No-Lose Decision, in Jeffers Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, provides some practical advice on decision-making. Making Decisions in Butler’s Managing your mind; Decision Fatigue in Baumeister & Tierney’s Willpower Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength and Part IV. Choices in Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow are also recommended. Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions by Chip and Dan Heath is a whole book on this topic. In literature, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a classic example of how indecisiveness can have tragic consequences.


The Call to Adventure in Chris Johnstone’s Find Your Power, and Perugini, M. & Bagozzi, R. The role of desires and anticipated emotions in goal‐directed behaviours: Broadening and deepening the theory of planned behaviour in British Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 40, No.1, 2001, are suggested. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald explores the power of desires.


A New Story of Power in Johnstone’s Find Your Power; Locke, E. A. & Latham, G. Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35 year odyssey in American Psychologist. Vol. 57, No.9, 2002; and King, L. A., Personal goals and personal agency: linking everyday goals to future images of the self in M. Kofta, G. Weary & G. Sedek (eds) Personal Control in Action; are suggested. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is a poignant example of how the obsession with a goal can distort one’s life. On a more positive note, biographies of sportsmen, scientists or statesmen can be inspirational.


How to Find Courage, in Johnstone’s Find Your Power; From Intention to Realization and The Direction of the Execution in Roberto Assagioli’s The Act of Will; and Persistence, in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues focus on this topic. This topic is explored in Apostolos Doxiandis’ Uncle Petros and Goldbarch’s Conjecture.


Chapters 5, 8 and 10 in Baumeister & Tierney’s Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength; Chapters 2, 3, 7 and 8 in McGonigal’s The Willpower Instinct; and Hofmann, W. Three ways to resist temptation, in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol.45, No.2, 2009, are suggested. The novel Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel is also recommended.


Facing the Problem and Problem-Solving: A Strategy for Change in Butler’s Managing Your Mind; How to Have Breakthroughs in Johnstone’s Find Your Power, and the Gollwitzer, P. M. article Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans in American Psychologist, Vol.54, No.7, 1999, are suggested. A science fiction classic, Foundation, by Isaac Asimov, describes various strategies for dealing with complex challenges.


There is much literature available on dealing with specific tasks. These materials approach the subject more generally: Combining Vision with Pragmatism in Johnstone’s Find Your Power and the comprehensive Achievement and Achievement Motives: Psychological and Sociological approaches by Janet T. Spence. In fiction, Contact by Carl Sagan is recommended.


Stress: How to Live with the Right Amount of It in Butler’s Managing Your Mind; Bouncing Back from Failure and Crisis in Johnstone’s Find Your Power; Nolen-Hoeksima, S. & Davis, C. G., Positive Responses to Loss in Snyder & Lopez’s Handbook of Positive Psychology (http://ldysinger.stjohnsem.edu‌/@books1/‌Snyder_Hndbk_Positive_Psych/Snyder_Lopez_Handbook_of_Positive_Psychology.pdf) and The Stress Management Handbook by Lori Leyden are suggested. Boethius’ The Consolation of Philosophy (written while the author was awaiting execution) can be inspiring. Camus’ novel Plague explores various manners of coping in the context of a difficult social situation.


Combining Vision with Pragmatism in Johnstone’s Find Your Power; Leadership in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues; Dolinski, D. To control or not to control in M. Kofta, G. Weary, & G. Sedek (eds) Personal Control in Action, and Thomson, S. C. The role of personal control in adaptive functioning in Snyder & Lopez’s Handbook of Positive Psychology (http://ldysinger.stjohnsem.edu/@books1/‌Snyder_Hndbk_Positive_Psych/Snyder_Lopez_Handbook_of_Positive_Psychology.pdf) are suggested. Rodin. J. & Langer, J. E. Long term effects of a control-relevant intervention with the institutionalised aged in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol.35. No.12, 1977, is a seminal read for this area. The issue of power and control is also a focus of many works of fiction. Another SF classic, Dune by Frank Herbert, and Memoirs of Hadrian by Margaret Yourcenar, are some good examples.


Making it enjoyable in Johnstone’s Find Your Power; Purpose, Evaluation, Motivation, Intention in Assagioli’s The Act of Will; Why We Do What We Doby Edward Deci, and Procrastinating Again? How to Kick the Habit by Trisha Gura in Scientific American on line (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/‌procrastinating-again) are suggested. Coelho’s novel, The Alchemist, may be inspiring.


You’re in charge of your physical health in Rainwater’s You’re In Charge; Vitality in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues, and Ryan, R. M., & Frederick, C. On energy, personality and health: Subjective vitality as a dynamic reflection of well-being in Journal of Personality, Vol. 65, No.3, 1997, are suggested. For better sleeping habits see Overcoming Sleep Problems in Butler, G., Managing Your Mind. The novel MASH, by Richard Hooker, shows, in a highly entertaining way, each of the four factors, discussed in this area, at work.


Managing yourself and your time in Butler’s Managing Your Mind; Planning and Programming in Assagioli’s The Act of Will; Assertiveness and change in Assertiveness at Work by Kate and Ken Back; and Kearns, H. and Gardiner, M., Is it time well spent? The relationship between time management behaviours, perceived effectiveness and work-related morale and distress in a university context in Higher Education Research & Development Vol.26, No2, 2007, are suggested. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion gives a very entertaining account of the advantages and disadvantages of trying to plan everything well.


Spence, J. T. and Helmreich, R. L. Achievement-Related Motives and Behaviours in Spence, J. (ed.) Achievement and Achievement Motives; Goodhart, D., The effects of positive and negative thinking on performance in an achievement situation in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol.51, No.1, 1986; Scott Kaufman’s Practice alone doesn’t make it perfect in Scientific American online, 2014 (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/‌beautiful-minds/practice-alone-does-not-make-perfect-studies-find/); Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow, and The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch, are suggested. The Tao of the Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, makes the case for an effortless, rather than forceful, attitude when doing something. Robert M. Pirsig’s novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance can also be inspiring.


Believing mirrors in Johnstone’s Find Your Power; Loneliness in Schiffman’s Gestalt Self Therapy, How to Turn Loneliness into Sweet Solitude by Toni Bernhart in Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201105/‌how-turn-loneliness-sweet-solitude?‌collection=107816) are recommended. Solitude: Knowing yourself in Stephanie Dowrick’s Intimacy & Solitude highlights the importance of social independence even in intimate relationships. Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe may be outdated in some ways, but it still has something valuable to say about dealing with loneliness.


Individuality seems to be a popular theme for non-fiction and fiction writers alike. Some examples include: Stephen Joseph’s Authentic: How to Be Yourself and Why it Matters; Harter, S. Authenticity in C.R. Snyder & S.J. Lopez (eds) Handbook of Positive Psychology (http://ldysinger.stjohnsem.edu/@books1/‌Snyder_Hndbk_Positive_Psych/Snyder_Lopez_Handbook_of_Positive_Psychology.pdf) and Ellis, A. Let’s not ignore individuality in American Psychologist, Vol.45, No.6, 1990. In fiction, Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull can be inspiring.


Cialdini, R. Influence; How others influence you in Assertiveness at Work by Kate and Ken Back, and the updated edition of one of the first (modern) self-help books, How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, are suggested. The following can be useful for giving and receiving feedback: Baron, R. A. Negative effects of destructive criticism: impact on conflict, self-efficacy, and task performance in Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol.73, No.2, 1988; and How to take Feedback by Karen Wright in Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com/articles/‌201103/how-take-feedback?collection=94182). A fictional recommendation is the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion.


Baumeister, R. & Leary, M. The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation in Psychology Bulletin, Vol.117, No.3, 1995; DeWall, N. C. & Bushman, J. B. Social Acceptance and Rejection: The Sweet and the Bitter, in Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol.20, No.4, 2011 (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/‌110812213032.htm?utm_ontent+my+Yahoo) and Citizenship in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues are worthwhile reading. For those who would like to really get into depth on this subject, the comprehensive Group Dynamics by Donelson Forsyth is suggested. The novel The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx is a literary exploration of this topic.

Moral Sense

Fairness in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues; Schulman, M. How We Become Moral: The Sources of Moral Motivation in Snyder & Lopez;s Handbook of Positive Psychology (http://ldysinger.stjohnsem.edu/@books1/‌Snyder_Hndbk_Positive_Psych/Snyder_Lopez_Handbook_of_Positive_Psychology.pdf) and Luchies, L.B., Finkel, E.J., McNulty, J.K. & Kamashiro, M. The Doormat Effect: When forgiving erodes self-respect and self-concept clarity in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 98, No.5, 2010, are recommended. Dostoyevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment can stimulate further thoughts in this respect.


Your Perfect Right by Michael Emmons & Robert Alberti, and Gael Lindenfield’s Assert Yourself are suggested. Some may also find the following useful: Tigers of Wrath in Ferrucci’s What We May Be; Assertion Skills in Bolton’s People Skills; and Ames, D. R. Assertiveness expectancies: How hard people push depends on the consequences they predict in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol.95, No.6, 2008. Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House is also an interesting exploration of this subject.

Relating to others

The First Key to Good Relationships: Be Fair to Yourself and Others in Butler’s Managing Your Mind, is suggested. The psychologist Alfred Adler was a pioneer in studying the feelings of inferiority and superiority, so the chapter Feelings of superiority and inferiority, in his book What Life Could Mean to You, may also be a worthwhile read. Duguid, M. M. & Goncalo J. A., Living Large: The Powerful Overestimate Their Own Height, in Psychological Science, Vol.23, No.1, 2011, is an interesting study that is linked to one of the exercises in this area. Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird offers a still relevant analysis of how people form their attitudes towards others

Conflict resolution

Conflict Management Skills in Bolton’s People Skills; Thompson, L., Nadler, J. & Lount, R., Judgement biases in conflict resolution and how to overcome them, in Deutsch, M., Coleman, P., & Marcus, E. (eds) The Handbook of Conflict Resolution, and Forgiveness and Mercy in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues, are recommended. In fiction, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott depicts some good ways and some not-so-good ways of dealing with interpersonal conflicts.


Self-image and Self-presentation in Michael Argyle’s The Psychology of Interpersonal Behaviour; and 10 Ways to Feel Better About How You Look by Susan Krauss Whitbourne in Psychology Today, (www.‌‌psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/‌fulfillment-any-age/201407/10-ways-feel-better-about-how-you-look) are recommended. In fiction, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is an obvious choice for this topic.

Awareness of others

Face, Gaze and Other Non-verbal Communication and Perception of Others in Argyle’s The Psychology of Interpersonal Behaviour; Listening Skills in Bolton’s People Skills; The Roots of Empathy in Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence; and Social intelligence in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues are suggested. A more detailed account of empathy can be found in Empathy: What It Is and Why It Matters by David Howe. Sophisticated observations of people found in good fiction, such as Tolstoy’s War and Peace (particularly Volume One), for example, can be even more illuminating.


Verbal Communication and Conversation in Argyle’s The Psychology of Interpersonal Behaviour; and Skills for bridging the interpersonal gap and Barriers to communication in Bolton’s People Skills, are recommended. More expansive coverage of this topic with a lot of practical advice can be found in Mike Bechtle‘s How to Communicate with Confidence and Thats Not What I Meant by Deborah Tannen. In fiction, Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley contrasts a variety of communication styles.


You’re in Charge of Your Personal Relationships: Getting Along with Other People in Rainwater’s You’re in Charge; The Social Arts in Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence; and Integrity, in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues, can contribute to further exploration of this area. Vanity Fair, a novel by William Thackeray, is also recommended.

Relationship dynamics

A comprehensive overview of this area can be found in Relating to Others by Steve Duck. Fast Forces of Attraction, compiled by the Psychology Today team (https://www.psychologytoday.com/‌articles/200712/fast-forces-attraction?collection=97411) is more specifically about initiating a relationship, and Everyone can Win by Helena Cornelius & Shoshana Faire, is a self-help classic on the win-win strategy. Attraction, Conflict, and The Dissolution and Loss of Relationship in Rowland Miller’s Intimate Relationships, addresses all the topics covered in this area. Nick Hornby’s novel About a Boy is describes several ways of dealing with relationship mismatches and disagreements.

Intrinsic relationship

Friendship in Miller’s Intimate Relationships; Choosing love and trust in Jeffers’s Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, and Kindness in Peterson & Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues, are suggested. Julian Barnes’s novel Metroland can also be inspiring and thought provoking.

Instrumental relationships

Managing with Heart, in Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence; The Third Key to Good Relationships: Relationships as Systems, in Butler’s Managing Your Mind; Negotiating assertively and Saying ‘No’ assertively, in Kate and Ken Back’s Assertiveness at Work, as well as Fisher & Ury’s classic Getting to Yes are suggested. In fiction, The Buddha of Subarbia by Hanif Kureishi ilustrates all three types of instrumental relationships described in this area.

Intimate relationship

Love and Sexuality in Miller’s Intimate Relationships; Hendrick S. & Hendrick C. Love, in C.R. Snyder & S.J. Lopez (eds) Handbook of Positive Psychology (http://ldysinger.stjohnsem.edu/@books1/‌Snyder_Hndbk_Positive_Psych/Snyder_Lopez_Handbook_of_Positive_Psychology.pdf) Intimate Enemies in Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence; Fromm’s Art of Loving; and What we live by in Ferrucci’s What We May Be, are recommended. In fiction, Tolstoy’s classic Anna Karenina explores side by side both compassionate and passionate love.


PWBC (Personal Well Being Centre)
United Kingdom


PWBC (Personal Well Being Centre)
United Kingdom