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7 Best Books to Understand People

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We work hard to gain degrees, find jobs, go on dates with dozens of people but we do not work on what is most essential─ understanding people. Because we do not spend much effort in understanding people and human behavior, we continue to struggle a lot at work, in dating, and marriage.

Below is the list of books that have helped me tremendously in understanding people both at work and with family. I recommend reading all of these books. Because each book is unique in teaching different aspects of human personality and behavior.


1.How to win friends and influence people

by Dale Carnegie

This is the classic at understanding people. The advice in the book has stood the test of time. This alone shows that this book is a must when it comes to understanding people. It is written in a clear, easy-to-understand way. The author seems very socially adept. He cares deeply about morals and ethics and teaches you how to create win-win situations. I particularly enjoyed the author's use of smart quotes from philosophers and great people to support his beliefs. He further elucidates his point with examples from the lives of successful people thus making it easy for readers to apply his recommendations in daily life. Every piece of advice in this book is useful, no matter how ordinary it may seem. This book fosters healthy and strong relationships by encouraging effective communication, kindness, and social skills.

2.Reading People: How to Understand People and Predict Their Behavior-Anytime, Anyplace

by Jo-Ellan Dimitrius

This book is very detailed and explains the subject matter very well. The author Ms. Jo-Ellan Dimitrius is a top jury consultant. In this book, she shares her extensive knowledge gained in the court, to help us learn to read people in everyday life. Grooming, Hairstyle, clothing, the neatness of the living room or office, behavior around subordinates, hand gestures, the steadiness of gaze, etc., are clues to a person’s personality and character. Using interesting anecdotes and tried and true methods, Dimitrius shows us how to interpret these indicators with precision and accuracy. She also explains how other people read our behavior.

Reading People equips you with the tools you need to make sound judgments in social situations and reap the rewards of a lifetime of razor-sharp insight, whether your goal is marriage or friendship, job or family, professional achievement, or romance.

3.The Myth of the Out of Character Crime

by Stanton E. Samenow

The author is an American psychologist and has decades of experience as an investigator of criminal behavior. He reads people accused of a crime to find out the context for the crime. In this book he teaches his method of investigation and study of behavior which is quite interesting. The author says that there’s no such thing as an out-of-character crime, but it is the outward sign of something hidden beneath the veneer that a person presents to the world. He teaches us that the hidden aspects of personality or character can be explored by paying close attention to seemingly mundane aspects of daily life like sexual history, marital conflicts, job history, hobbies and interests, goals and ambitions, reading preferences, consumption of alcohol, handling money, and most importantly reaction to frustrations. This method that he chooses to read the criminal behavior can be used to read ordinary people with great accuracy. This book is brilliant. You will become an expert at identifying good and bad people.

4.How to psychoanalyze someone

by Scarlett Kennedy

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This book has been written by Scarlet Kennedy who is often called as female Robert Greene. She has a keen insight into people's behavior, likes, and dislikes and she teaches you how you too can gain this deep understanding. How to psychoanalyze someone is a short and dense book. A lot of good information is packed in just a few pages so it will not take you hours to read.


by H G Tudor

In this book, H G Tudor teaches you how to take revenge on a narcissist. He goes into detail and explains different ways a narcissistic injury can be inflicted. This book can not only teach you how to hurt a narcissist, but you will gain a deep insight into the mind and personality of a narcissist. You will become able to identify a narcissist when you see one and you will have some tools about how to interact with them. It’s one of the best books to understand narcissists who form a significant portion of society. If you have ever been abused, you will also gain an understanding of your personality. I enjoyed reading Revenge and I read it to understand the inner workings of the mind and personality of a narcissist.

6.I Know What You're Thinking: Using the Four Codes of Reading People to Improve Your Life

Lillian Glass

This is a good book about reading people. It teaches you to read a person while paying attention to words, speech, and body language. Lillian Glass's I Know What You're Thinking is a must-read for everyone, whether they're in business or not. It is a gift to be able to read another person's face, words, and body language and determine whether they are being honest or not. This book is a smart and practical guide to figuring out what others are really thinking. The author talks in a bit condescending way but the information she delivers can be very useful in reading people.

7.Laws of human nature

by Robert Greene

Robert Greene has a keen insight into human psychology. Laws of human natureis an exhaustive work on human behavior and psychology.

People are essential to our entire existence. When it comes to understanding human behavior, knowing why individuals do what they do is the most essential tool we have. The author explains the motivation most of the people have behind their actions and helps the reader see behind people's masks. Once you know the hidden intention or motivation a person has, you are in a much better position to handle them. This book should be used to understand people’s behavior though the author does not care about morality or ethics. It’s the readers' responsibility not to use knowledge in a way that harms people.

This book is very long(624 pages) and the author sometimes repeats himself. You get the impression that the book might have been cut down in length without sacrificing important information, but it has nuggets of wisdom and is worth reading.


Priya Barua on September 05, 2021:

Ah, I love these kinds of books. You could also add Leil Lowndes to the list :)

manatita44 from london on September 04, 2021:

Sweet. I was there once. Useful for many!

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