Adult Books for Young Adults: Psychology & Sociology

As teens become more self-aware and motivated to learn for job training or college preparations, there are some intelligently-researched self-help/psychology books designed to get readers thinking. So while many are targeted to adults, they’re absolutely useful for the inquiring teen.

nonfiction on psychology and sociology for teens

The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Duhigg shares the mechanisms through which humans form habits and by using examples of every day habits such as smoking or exercising and he automatically gets the readers attention. The book is useful to any teen looking to make a change, little or big, by understanding routine. Not brushing twice a day? It might change after this.

How We Decide by Jonah LehrerHowWeDecide

Making a decision is a blend of both feeling and reason. This goes for everyone from airplane pilots to serial killers and investors to poker players. Lehrer then blends science and story to share with readers how rational and emotional elements combine to allow us to decide, though we can use recommendations to trick our brains too. This mix is as much entertainment as education.

Your Playlist Can Change Your Life: 10 Proven Ways Your Favorite Music Can Revolutionize Your Health, Memory, Organization, Alertness, and More by Galina Mindlin, Don DuRousseau, and Joseph Cardillo

Knowing that music plays a significant role in teen lives through radio, downloads on the Play Store and iTunes, in movies and video games is motivation enough to read this book with a catchy premise. The repetition and basic idea is that remembering noises and sounds as well as identifying the music you listen to and tweaking it when necessary is akin to having a Rocky Balboa moment with “Eye of the Tiger”. So, similar to Amy Cuddy’s proposals in body posing to prepare for an interview or how someone reacts to defeat, Midlin, DuRousseau, and Cardillo advocate creating playlists for when you’re learning, when you need to de-stress, and when you need to feel happy– mixed tape anyone?

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Appreciate the introverts, that is Cain’s premise. On top of that, be sure to appreciate your introverted qualities since the world tends to value extroverts when the power of introverts can be more useful and valuable. With stories of successful introverts, introverts will be empowered and calmed by the psychology and neuroscience that Cain relays in real-world stories that celebrate the quiet people.

And we couldn’t finalize a piece on psychology books suitable for teens without talking about the most accessible: MalcoDavidandGoliathlm Gladwell. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Outliers: The Story of Success, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, and Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Each of them offer a different angle on topics that can inspire readers. Easy to read and succinct enough to sustain anyone’s attention, they should be the first offered when wanting to delve into psychology or sociology.


— Alicia Abdul, currently reading Sunny Side Up by Jennifer and Matthew Holm