Did you know reading a book can help reduce stress faster than walking or listening to music?
According to this research by Neuropsychologist David Lewis, reading a newspaper or book for as little as 6 minutes reduces stress levels by up to 68%.
And this surpasses other relaxation methods like walking (42%), drinking a cup of coffee or tea (54%), and listening to music (61%).
In this intensive guide about HSP books, find some of the best books for the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) to help you reduce stress and learn more about your trait of High Sensitivity.
And also provide you with coping strategies for this not-so-sensitive world.
So, are you ready for the list? Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
A Quick Recap About Highly Sensitive People
Before diving into our list of HSP books, it’s essential to grasp the meaning of a Highly Sensitive Person.
We discuss it here at HSP Tools, but it doesn’t hurt to cover it again. After all, you might be visiting us for the first time.
Being an HSP means you have a trait known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS) or simply High Sensitivity. It’s an inborn trait in 20-30% of the population.
And as an HSP, you are highly sensitive to internal and external stimuli, such as noise, bright lights, intense emotions, hunger, etc.
The HSP trait can be both a blessing and a challenge, as it offers a deeper level of empathy and perceptiveness, as well as overstimulation and overwhelm.
Read this guide to learn more about being a Highly Sensitive Person.
The Best HSP Books by Category
As the trait of High Sensitivity continues to gain attention and more sensitive people discover their sensitivity is an inborn trait, more HSP resources are emerging.
And among those resources are the HSP books we are discussing today. So in this section, find some of the best books for Highly Sensitive People.
We have put them in categories to ease your selection process.
HSP Books by Elaine N. Aron, PhD.
The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) term emerged from research by Elaine N. Aron and Arthur Aron. It’s the simpler version of Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS) – the scientific name for the HSP trait.
And it is through books, articles, and scientific papers by Elaine Aron that we now talk about HSPs with so much ease. So it goes without saying that books by Dr. Aron should go first on this list.
Read this post to learn more about Dr. Elaine N. Aron.
Here are 7 HSP books by Elaine N. Aron:
In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Elaine N. Aron explores the concept of High Sensitivity, provides valuable insights, and shares initial research about Highly Sensitive People (HSPs).
And through practical advice and real-life examples, she encourages readers to embrace their sensitivity and thrive in a world that may sometimes feel overwhelming.
This book offers practical advice on managing and understanding relationships when the world overwhelms you. It explores the fact that 50% of the time, genetic temperament is the reason people get a divorce.
And being that High Sensitivity is an inborn trait, Dr. Elaine wants you to learn how to navigate a relationship without the influence of your sensitivity.
So if you fall in love hard, struggle to respect a not-so-sensitive partner, are sick of being called too sensitive and have (or almost) given up on love, this book will change your life.
As the name suggests, this book is for parents who score high on the HSP scale. For parents raising Highly Sensitive Children (HSCs), see the HSC-specific book below.
So if you are a parent who goes through intense emotions because of your parenting responsibilities and, as a result, suffers enigmatic stress, this book is for you.
It offers help in the following ways:
- A self-examination test to help parents identify their level of sensitivity
- Tools to cope with overstimulation
- Advice on dealing with the negative feelings that can surround parenting
- Ways to manage the increased social stimulation and interaction that comes with having a child
- Techniques to deal with shyness around other parents
- Insight into the five big problems that face HS parents in relationships – and how to work through them
Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) are a highly misunderstood lot. And when it comes to seeking therapy services, this misunderstanding can often lead to more damage; because many HSPs tend to get a misdiagnosis.
In Psychotherapy and the Highly Sensitive Person: Improving Outcomes for That Minority of People Who Are the Majority of Clients, Elaine Aron provides information to help therapists differentiate the HSP trait from related (but different) temperaments such as introversion and inhibition.
She also teaches them how to:
- assess for the trait,
- distinguish the HSP trait from clinical diagnoses such as panic disorder or avoidant personality disorder,
- understand how sensitivity may change the presentation of a problem such as depression or shyness,
- generally inform, validate, and improve the quality of life for HSPs.
If you are the parent of a Highly Sensitive Child (HSC), this book by Elaine Aron is an invaluable resource.
It draws from extensive research and personal anecdotes to guide parents to understand, support, and nurture their Highly Sensitive Children (HSCs).
The book will help you create an environment where your children can thrive and develop their unique strengths.
With a collection of exercises and activities for individuals and groups, this workbook will help you notice the HSP trait in yourself, nurture the new, positive self-image you deserve, and create a fuller rich life.
In this book, Dr. Aron explains that self-esteem results from having a healthy balance of love and power in our lives. She will teach you how to incorporate love into situations that seem to require power and deal with power struggles that mask themselves as issues of love.
Best Books for the Highly Sensitive Man
This section is for Highly Sensitive Men (HSM) or parents of sensitive boys.
Tom Falkenstein is a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and a Highly Sensitive Man. And his training includes time with HSP pioneer Dr. Elaine N. Aron.
In this book, Falkenstein incorporates the most up-to-date research on high sensitivity and explores its relation to male identity. He also provides one-of-a-kind advice and practical tools for sensitive men.
Please note; this book is not just for boys. It’s also for Highly Sensitive Men.
In The Strong Sensitive Boy, the late psychologist Ted Zeff explores the unique challenges of sensitive boys, showing parents, educators, and mentors how to help them grow into strong, happy, and confident men.
The book features practical advice on how to help your son increase his self-esteem and thrive in the family, at school, with friends, and in sports.
Want to learn how to use your personality trait in ways that empower yourself and others?
This book by Tracy Cooper, PhD, draws on his original research and others and years of working with Highly Sensitive Men as a consultant on many crucial areas of life.
It covers various HSP struggles, including Anger, Perception, and Misophonia.
This book by William Allen is for every man or boy that has ever been called too emotional or too sensitive. Because how much you feel, sense or experience emotions should not define masculinity.
And with 20% of the male population being Highly Sensitive, this book is a starting point for Highly Sensitive Men (HSMs) to become self-validated.
This book is also by William Allen and is a follow-up companion to Confessions of a Sensitive Man. It encourages Highly Sensitive Males to stand up for their sensitivity and the gifts associated with the trait. And it provides strategies and tools to help sensitive men navigate life easily.
Some of the topics in the book include mindset, how to expand the comfort zone, dealing with change and strong emotions, the right livelihood, how to calm the mind, and moving towards self-acceptance.
6. The Highly Sensitive Man by Dan MacLeod
If you are looking for a book for the Highly Sensitive Man that is purely relatable and makes you feel like you are reading your story, this is it.
The book shares the story of Dan as a Highly Sensitive male. It covers what has kept him engaged with life and how he has managed and sometimes mismanaged his High Sensitivity.
Join Dan on his courageous journey to explore his HSP trait while giving other Highly Sensitive Men hope and one clear message: You are not alone.
Best Books for Highly Sensitive People
This category includes the more HSP books that are not specific to an author, gender, or topic. The primary audience is the Highly Sensitive Person, so you can browse here if you identify as an HSP.
We really hope this intro is clear.
Sensitive: The Hidden Power of the Highly Sensitive Person in a Loud, Fast, Too-Much World is one of the newest books for the Highly Sensitive Person.
It launched in February 2023 and continues to grow in popularity as the number 1 new release on Amazon.
Sensitive is a book by Jenn Granneman & Andre Sólo – the co-founders of Highly Sensitive Refuge. And it teaches HSPs how to identify and leverage the strengths of the HSP trait across crucial areas of their life.
Read this post to learn more about Jenn Granneman.
With an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon, this is another recent release in this list of books for the Highly Sensitive Person.
Diana Jacobs is a Psychologist, Author and Empath specializing in HSPs, Empaths and Social Disorders.
And in this book, The Highly Sensitive Person: A Survival Guide to Stop Absorbing Negative Energy and Avoid Emotional Overload, Diana shares everyday strategies to help you set boundaries and blossom in calmness and positivity.
The book comes with a free self-care workbook to guide you as you work towards a better life as a Highly Sensitive Person.
Are you a Highly Sensitive Leader? Maybe at your workplace or in your own business? Released in September 2022, Different: The Highly Sensitive Leadership Revolution is written for you.
You see, Heather Dominick is a Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur helping HSP leaders and entrepreneurs thrive in their businesses and jobs.
She is the creator of Business Miracles, and in this new book for the Highly Sensitive Person, Heather will teach you how to be of service without drowning in overwhelm and overload.
Anita Moorjani is the bestselling author of Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer to Near Death and True Healing. And in 2021, she released this book for sensitive empaths.
In Sensitive is the New Strong, Anita argues that it’s possible to turn the emotional burden empaths face into a powerful tool. She wants to help you, as an HSP empath, navigate obstacles you may face and identify what makes you unique.
And she wants you to learn how to claim your true powers as an empath and to be your most authentic self.
Julie Bjelland is a psychotherapist specializing in High Sensitivity. Being an HSP herself, Julie writes The Empowered Highly Sensitive Person to help you learn how to harness your sensitive trait into a strength for navigating a chaotic world.
The book promises to: Explore strategies that will empower you to reach your goals, live your best life, and help you access your gifts and strengths.
Dandelions are said to be hardy and resilient, while orchids are said to be fragile and sensitive. In The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and Why All Can Thrive, Dr. Thomas Boyce uses the term Orchid to refer to Highly Sensitive People and Dandelion to refer to those who score low on the HSP scale.
He explores what it means to be an introvert, extrovert, and Highly Sensitive Person. And he goes on to show that a combination of environmental and genetic factors contribute to what makes us who we are.
Grab the book to understand why Highly Sensitive People struggle and how they can learn to thrive.
Dr. Judith Orloff is a renowned psychiatrist and empath. In this best-selling book, Judith offers a comprehensive guide for sensitive individuals who often find themselves absorbing the emotions of others.
She also provides essential tools and strategies to protect oneself from emotional exhaustion, set healthy boundaries, and harness the power of empathy.
And if you prefer courses to books, The Empath’s Survival Guide is also available as an online course.
Read this post to learn more about Dr. Judith Orloff.
While not specific to HSPs, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking is a book sharing research-based information, advice and tools for Introverts.
And because 70% of HSPs are introverts, this book is a vital resource for many HSPs wanting to embrace and leverage their introversion.
Get the book to discover practical insights, receive validation, and learn how to tap into the power that all introverts possess.
In this book, Dr. Ted Zeff shares 44 success stories by Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) thriving in a non-sensitive world.
These HSPs are from 10 different countries and they share how they manage living fully with their trait of high sensitivity.
And after each uplifting story, Dr. Zeff shares additional advice on each vignette’s theme, which frequently includes specific information on how to integrate that story’s success into your life.
This book by Esther Bergsma is one of the science-focused HSP books in this list.
It presents the latest scientific insights into the functioning of the ‘Highly Sensitive brain’, which has proven to function differently in many areas compared to the non-highly sensitive brain.
Based on these scientific insights, she shares a model that offers tools to professionals in healthcare and education and to therapists and coaches who want to learn more about high sensitivity.
With a goal that everyone – and especially the highly sensitive person – will have a better understanding and appreciation for this quality.
If you’re a highly sensitive person or identify as an “empath,” you may feel easily overwhelmed by the world around you.
In this book for HSPs, Shahida Arabi shares evidence-based skills grounded in cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) to help you recognize and shut down the common manipulation tactics used by toxic people.
Such tactics include gaslighting, stonewalling, projection, covert put-downs, and love bombing.
And you’ll also discover targeted tips to protect yourself from the five main types of toxic people:
- Garden-variety boundary-steppers
- Crazymakers and attention-seekers
- Emotional vampires
- Sociopaths and psychopaths
Julie Bjelland is a Psychotherapist specializing in the trait of high sensitivity. In this thoughtful and well-researched book, Julie shares an 8-week program to help HSPs trait their brain to reduce anxiety and overwhelming emotions.
That’s right. This book isn’t technically a book, it’s a guide to help highly sensitive people (HSPs) around the world learn the techniques needed to thrive as highly sensitive individuals. See the online course version of this book.
And as the late Dr. Ted Zeff says about this HSP book,
Even if the student implements only a portion of the many practical and innovative methods that are presented in the book for calming the sensitive nervous system, the HSP will live a happier, more tranquil and productive life.Ted Zeff, PhD
Books for the Highly Sensitive Child
This category is for parents of Highly Sensitive Children (HSCs). It lists our top books for sensitive children and links to similar books.
Please refer to HSP books by Elaine N. Aron for The Highly Sensitive Child book.
With a foreword from Dr. Elaine Aron, Understanding the Highly Sensitive Child helps readers experience the world from the view of a sensitive child.
James Williams, the author, is a mindful dad and Integrative Counsellor spreading awareness on what it means to be Highly Sensitive.
So if you want to understand your Highly Sensitive Child by seeing the world through their eyes, this book is for you.
Do you love learning through stories? And does your Highly Sensitive Child (HSC) enjoy stories they can relate to?
If yes, Annie’s World: There is a Rainbow in the Sand is the best choice for your HSC. The book focuses on Annie, a Highly Sensitive Child who sees the world as every rainbow colour – not black and white.
And while this means she experiences the world a little differently and finds her feelings overwhelming, Annie also discovers that being different can be very beautiful too.
In the End
As a Highly Sensitive Person, you possess incredible strengths and abilities.
And by using the help of HSP books, you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself, learn effective coping strategies, and embrace your sensitivity as a gift.
So whether you’re seeking personal growth, parenting advice, or validation, the recommended books in this guide will provide you with the knowledge and support you need on your HSP journey.
And if the recommendations aren’t enough, we have added links to more books for your perusal.
Use these HSP books to educate yourself and finally thrive despite your High Sensitivity challenges.