I recently discovered that Charles Darwin dropped out of his first university course (in medicine) and found fame following his childhood hobby of collecting things and that the great painter Thomas Gainsborough didn’t enjoy school half as much as the countryside so forged his father’s signature so he could head off to paint instead. Perhaps the message is that doing what we enjoy is important.
So if reading about psychology, but not reading textbooks about psychology is what you had in mind this summer, then ‘Musicophilia’ by Oliver Sacks is a fascinating insight into how music is processed by more places in our brains than language to produce astounding effects – including the capacity to bring back memories for those with dementia (see Nordoff-Robbins website for therapeutic examples). For those who are enjoying this summer of sport – or if you are simply seeking motivation for your next challenge – then the psychiatrist Steve Peters’ ‘Chimp Paradox’ is heralded as a must-read.
However for those who are looking for a meaty book to test those little grey cells – or to carry around something which will look good – then ‘The War Inside’ by Michal Shapira examines how psychoanalysis in Britain after the Second World War has helped to shape our society. Its historical approach brings together the concepts of rebuilding society after conflict with a positive contribution from psychology – themes likely to be uppermost in our minds in 2014.
Whatever you choose it’s important to read something you enjoy – have a great summer!