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The Psychology Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) Hardcover – January 16, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"[The Big Ideas Simply Explained books] are beautifully illustrated with shadow-like cartoons that break down even the most difficult concepts so they are easier to grasp. These step-by-step diagrams are an incredibly clever learning device to include, especially for visual learners." – Examiner.com

"This large, stylish book takes the reader on a quick tour through the history and discipline of psychology, with tiny bits of information and loads of design. The title gets it right: these are indeed big ideas (and also plenty of small ones), and the explanations are simplified and presented in a number of ways." – PsychCentral.com

"The Psychology Book is packed with everything you'd ever study in a Psych 101 class, and, as the subtitle suggests, it's all explained in a clear, simple way." – Wink Books, from the co-founders of Boing Boing


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Product Details

  • Series: Big Ideas Simply Explained
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: DK (January 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756689708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756689704
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Somewhere between a textbook and a coffee table book, The Psychology Book is a surprisingly valuable. Initially drawn to the fun cover and positive reviews of The Philosophy Book, I decided to give this a shot and ordered a copy. My initial reaction was disappointment, it seemed a too textbooky. But as I read and skimmed further (it's a book that I suspect few will read cover to cover), I started to appreciate the helpful effectiveness of what the DK editors have done, allowing one to get important, core ideas quickly.

After presenting the philosophical roots of psychology (think the intersection of philosophy and phsyiology), the book is organized according to different psychological approaches or schools of thought such as behaviorism, psychotherapy, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. There is a timeline and brief history for each school followed by an encapsulated entries of key thinkers in that discipline. Here is where the design and editorial approach shines, as you can peruse the pages and find psychological thinkers who you may know little or nothing about and get the essence of what they focused on quickly. Each heading has a "capture the essence" quote which makes it easy to know whether you want to explore further. My one complaint is the book, just glancingly mention Irv Yalom, who is both a great writer and highly respected psychotherapist. If you haven't read or listened (I loved the audio version, which includes an interview with Yalom) to his master work, Love's Executioner: & Other Tales of Psychotherapy, I strongly recommend it and have given it as a gift many times. Definitely a must for anyone with a literary bent and an interest in psychology.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I absolutely love this book! If you are a psychology major or just interested in human behavior, this book is for you. Its explanations, pictures, and diagrams are so easy to read and follow! It includes the history of concepts as well as current findings and thinking on the subjects. I love how the book is divided up - philosophical roots, behaviorism, psychotherapy, cognitive psych, social psych, developmental philosophy, and psych of difference (personality & intelligence). I have learned so many interesting facts from this book. For example, one of the concepts on the cover of the book is - A Man with Conviction is a Hard Man to Change. Read about cognitive dissonance and why it is so hard to change someone's opinion and thought processes when they really believe in it, no matter how insane or impractical it may be. You won't be sorry with the amount of information, ease of reading, and layout of the book.
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Format: Hardcover
I was so happy when I spotted this book at our local public library. I had seen it at a book store a week or two before and was hesitant about spending $25 for a book filled with subject matter that I was already pretty knowledgeable about. What else was there to learn after teaching psychology for 35 years? The answer: A LOT! In fact, I'm enjoying the book so much that I'm going to reluctantly return it to the library tomorrow and order my own copy.

The bright red book contains a wealth of information presented in an unusual, yet inviting format. The Psychology Book is organized according to major fields (like social and developmental psychology) and perspectives (including behaviorism and cognitive psychology). Within each chapter are the founding fathers (no founding mothers here), an overview of their theories, brief biography of their lives, and some of their famous findings and quotes. I especially like the latter. For instance, "Anything that grows has a ground plan" says Erik Erikson, developer of the well-known eight psychosocial stages of life. Then there's this one by Albert Ellis, "The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You realize that you control your destiny."

Even leafing through the book is fun. It's colorful, has dozens of designs and drawings, contains "text blocks" of information (usually in the margins), has attention-getting section titles such as "Insight Might Cause Blindness" and "Only Good People Get Depressed," and several diagrams that are actually easy to read and understand.

Just when I wondered if it could be any better, I noticed a glossary AND a directory. If you want to learn more about the science of human behavior and mental processes, read this book. Almost like a textbook except that it's fun and inviting, you'll come away feeling enlightened.
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Format: Hardcover
The Psychology Book is a very enjoyable textbook-style overview of the history of psychology that runs over 350 pages. The major sections are: Philosophical Roots, Behaviorism, Psychotherapy, Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology, Developmental Philosophy and Psychology of Difference. It covers all the major thinkers and their theories from the philosophical roots of psychology all the way to the present. DK Publishing did an extremely good job in making this book interesting and readable for those not familiar with the subject. Unlike the other books in the "Big Ideas" series it is organized by theme not chronologically and it works well. I would say this is the best book in the series. It provides a good overview of almost all psychological theories and practices with brief biographies of major contributors and full-color pictures. It has enough information without being too wordy or dry. All the major psychologists seem to get their due here (Jung, Freud, Adler and many others) so the authors don't pull any punches. I love the textbook approach as the information is well organized, well written and concise. This is Psychology 101 and could almost function as an entry level book for students in high school or adults looking for an introduction.

Buy this book. It is recommended for those interested in an introduction to psychology.
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