I heard of the book from LessWrong. I was reading the series about the science of winning at life by Lukeprog and he recommended this book if one had to read a single book on applied psychology. And so i did.

Some preliminary things: The book is stupidly expensive (~130 USD), so if ur going to read it, u shud download an ebook version (i.e. for free), or read it in its entirety in the library (i read an ebook of it, im sure one can find it on the web again even tho got shut down). Its also very long (550ish pages with 2 colums), so unless ur a speed reader, u wont get it done in the 30 or so days that libraries usually give people to finish reading a book.

As for the actual content. The book is okay, it gives a decent introduction to various psychological theories and has a lot of sections about how to use that information in one’s own life. Each chapter also has a 10 question test so that one can test oneself and see how good one’s memory is or how much one paid attention.

The worst thing about the book is that the authors are clearly social psychologists of the bad kind which means that even tho they try to take a pluralistic approach to the topics, they go on time and time again about how men and women are socialized for this or that, when the truth is that it is evolutionary psychology they shud be writing about. I recommend not paying too much attention to the chapter on gender (chapter 11) and reading an introduction to evolutionary psychology instead (e.g. Buss’s Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind).

The book does contain a huge amount of references some of which are worth looking up. It also contains some useful recommended readings for more information about a particular subject. I have added a few of these books to my to-read list.

The book has alot of illustrations, perhaps too many. Some of these are nice, but others are just badly made.

All in all, it was worth reading. I have not read any other general introduction to psychology. But i have read alot of other textbooks. This is not the best textbook ive read, but neither is it the worst.


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