Top 5: Books about Human Psychology

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July 22, 2022

Human psychology – the study of mind and behavior. We are human, and we all behave in certain ways in situations. How can we grow in communicating with others? How well do we navigate conflict? Or how can we grow in spiritual formation with tools related to psychology? Enjoy these top five book recommendations that may add some clarity to understanding yourself and others.

  1. 1. The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt — written by a secular social psychologist, Haidt explores human moral intuitions to learn “why good people are divided by politics and religion.” It is one of the most important books I’ve read in the last five years.
  2. 2. When God Talks Back by Tanya Luhrmann — a riveting exploration by a psychological anthropologist who is trying to understand what people mean when they  say  that God speaks to them. She embeds herself in a charismatic evangelical community, runs studies, participates in their practices, and ruminates on the results. See also her follow up, How God Becomes Real.
  3. 3. Relational Spirituality by Todd and Elizabeth Hall — written by a husband-wife team (both are professors of psychology at Biola University), this book draws discerningly from psychological science to construct a new paradigm for spiritual formation. For a similar treatment, see also Curt Thompson’s Anatomy of the Soul.
  4. 4. TheoPsych by Justin Barrett — written by a leading cognitive scientist of religion, this is a very accessible primer for theologians—among  others—who tend to make psychological claims.
  5. 5. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman — this book is probably too long, marshaling a small mountain of empirical evidence. However, its central genius is to explore the way we integrate two modes of thought: system one (impulsive and intuitive) and system two (deliberate and calculating).  

This summer In All Things is light-heartedly including recommendations, tips, and joys that we would love to share with you, readers, in the format of Top Five Fridays, switching up our themes each week.

About the Author
  • Justin Ariel Bailey works at the intersection of Christian theology, culture, and ministry. Having served as a pastor in a number of diverse settings, his research seeks to bridge gaps between church and academy, and the formational spaces where they overlap. He is the author of the book Reimagining Apologetics (IVP Academic, 2020) and the forthcoming volume Interpreting Your World (Baker Academic, 2022). He serves as associate professor of Theology at Dordt University and is the host of the In All Things podcast. 

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