Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety

We truly are in an “age of anxiety.” In the United States alone, about 40 million people suffer from anxiety disorders. In Anxious, leading neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux takes a serious scientific look at anxiety and fear. He explains what gives rise to anxiety and what mechanisms in the brain express it, then goes on to discuss current and future treatments. Some lay readers may find the book too dense, but it’s a fantastic, in-depth discussion of this widespread condition.

The Mind Club: Who Thinks, What Feels, and Why It Matters

In this intriguing book, Daniel Wegner and Kurt Gray explore how we ascribe thoughts—a mind—to others. This exploration doesn’t just address how we think about the minds of other people (though it does that, too). It also includes animals, robots, God, and much more. The authors argue that how we think about the minds of others can affect our treatment of them. It’s what makes it seem reasonable to eat some animals and keep others as pets, what drives us to protect some people and harm others, and what determines many other “moral” decisions we make as we interact with the world.

Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain

In this fascinating book, neurobiologist Douglas Fields traces “snapping” (outbreaks of rage) to a small cluster of neurons in the “hypothalamic attack region” of the brain. Throughout human history, this region has played an important role in responding to threats—and at times, it still leads to heroic actions in the face of danger. But our modern world often triggers the “snapping” reaction inappropriately. The good news is that if you can identify the triggers, you can help prevent snapping—in yourself or others.

Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body

In Cure, Jo Marchant takes a scientific perspective to explore the mind’s ability to heal the body. She follows the latest research from serious scientists to shed light on how our minds can be helpful in the healing process, as well as what the limitations likely are. In the end, she advocates an approach to medical healing that incorporates the best of our current technology (drugs, surgeries, and so on) while giving greater support to the potential role of the mind.

What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite

Why do we do things in the moment that we regret later? Why are we unable to plan for our futures in favor of doing things that only make us happy for a few moments? And why do we think we’re right in the face of overwhelming evidence we’re wrong? David Di Salvo explores this topic in his new book to shed light on the brain’s paradoxical nature. He incorporates interviews with neuroscientists and anecdotes from a variety of fields to illustrate his points. While the book is scientifically based, it still manages to be an engaging and entertaining read!

A Calm Brain: How to Relax into a Stress-Free, High-Powered Life

In this high-stress, fast-moving, 24/7 world, it can be hard to get the brain to be quiet even for a minute. In A Calm Brain, Gayatri Devi unravels the neurology of stress and discusses how we can teach our brains to relax and calm down. Devi, a neurologist and professor, combines scientific knowledge with stories and practical, useful tips for seeking more calm in your life.

Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are

10% of Americans over the age of six regularly use an anti-depressant like Zoloft or Prozac. As one of those people, Katherine Sharpe wanted to know how it was affecting her identity, her relationships, and her generation as a whole. Using personal self-reflection, interviews, culture, and history, she paints a clear and complex picture of “the antidepressant generation” with thoughtfulness and depth.