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A Curated List of the Best Books related to Brain Injury

Constant Therapy | Traumatic brain injury

Whether you’re looking for a great read for an upcoming trip, to add to your book club’s list, or to recommend to a family member, our list of the best books related to speech-language pathology is sure to inspire you.

We’ve done the legwork for you

We’ve curated a book list that you’ll want to keep close by. Looking for insight about what’s it’s like to live with brain injury? Or to put yourself into the shoes of a caregiver? Maybe you want to catch-up on the latest developments in neuroscience and broaden your clinical knowledge? This list has it all… including a list of functional guides for living with brain injury or stroke.

What it’s Like to Live with Brain Injury, Stroke or Dementia

Read these survivor perspectives.

1. My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.

My-Stroke-of-Insight-A-Brain-Scientists-Personal-JourneyA Harvard-trained brain scientist, who experienced a massive stroke that severely damaged the left hemisphere of her brain, provides scientific insight into her own recovery, and recommendations for others living with brain injury.

2. The Diving Bell And The Butterfly: A Memoir of Life In Death by Jean-Dominique Bauby

The-Diving-Bell-and-the-Butterfly-A-Memoir-of-Life-in-DeathA classic read, about the editor-in-chief of French Elle magazine and how he learned to live with the effects of massive stroke which left him paralyzed and speechless, but entirely conscious.

3. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova 

Left-NeglectedAuthor and neuroscientist, Lisa Genova, tells the true story of Sarah Nickerson, who experienced brain injury in a car crash which steals her awareness of everything on her left side, and how she subsequently retrained her mind to perceive the world as a whole again. Does an excellent job describing how injuries on the left or right side of our brains impact the opposite side.

4. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still-AliceAnother excellent read by neuroscientist Lisa Genova which was made into an Academy Award-winning movie of the same name. This book sensitively and insightfully describes the descent into early-onset Alzheimer’s disease by a 50 year-old Harvard professor, and how she and her family cope with the increasing levels of deterioration in her brain.

5. Over My Head: A Doctor’s Own Story of Head Injury from the Inside Looking Out by Claudia Osborn

Over-My-Head-A-Doctors-Own-Story-of-Head-Injury-from-the-Inside-Looking-OutPhysician Claudia Osborn suffered a TBI when hit by a car while riding her bike one night. Her book describes her rehabilitation process using a mix of her memories, passages taken from her personal notebook, as well as her friends’ journals. Her medical background allows her to combine objective medical knowledge with her own emotions in an enlightening tale of recovery.


Understanding What It’s Like to Be a Caregiver

Put yourself in a caregiver’s shoes with these reads.

6. Where is the Mango Princess? A Journey Back from Brain Injury by Cathy Crimmins

 Where-Is-the-Mango-Princess-A-Journey-Back-From-Brain-InjuryThis is a personal, heartbreaking, and sometimes humorous account of the effects of traumatic brain injury (as a result of a boating accident) on the author’s husband Alan, on herself as his caregiver learning to accept the “new” Alan, and on their family.

7. The Man Who Lost his Language: A Case of Aphasia by Sheila Hale

 The-Man-Who-Lost-his-Language-A-Case-of-AphasiaWhen Sir John Hale suffered a stroke that left him unable to walk, write or speak, his wife Sheila researched everything about his condition that she could get her hands on, in an attempt to restore his old life. Her book tells the story of Hale’s stroke and their experience the UK’s National Health Service, as well as what Sheila learned about current aphasia treatment.

8. In an Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing by Lee Woodruff

 In-an-Instant-A-Familys-Journey-of-Love-and-HealingA reporter and co-anchor for ABC, Bob Woodruff was embedded with the military in Iraq, when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near the tank in which he was riding. He and his cameraman were hit, and Bob suffered a TBI that nearly killed him. His wife Lee writes about their journey toward recovery. Explores issues of care within the VA system for the hundreds of thousands of vets diagnosed with TBI since 2001.


Learning More About How Our Brains Work

Expand your knowledge with these erudite but accessible books.

9. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge

 The-Brain-That-Changes-Itself-Stories-of-Personal-Triumph-from-the-Frontiers-of-Brain-SciencePsychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge provides an excellent overview of the science of neuroplasticity and the people whose lives have been transformed by our present understanding of the ways in which our brain “rewires” itself after injury.

10. Reading in The Brain: The New Science Of How We Read by Stanislas Dehaene

 Reading-in-the-Brain-The-New-Science-of-How-We-ReadCognitive neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene diagrams the neural processes that translate “marks on paper” into language, sound and meaning, including an in-depth exploration of dyslexia.

11. Concussion by Jeanne Marie Laskas

 ConcussionThe riveting story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who first identified CTE in professional football players – a disease caused by blows to the head that can affect everyone playing the game. It became the controversial truth the NFL wanted to ignore. Made into a 2015 movie of the same name.

12. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language by Steven Pinker

 The-Language-Instinct-How-the-Mind-Creates-LanguageThis award-winning book by a well-known author and cognitive psychologist describes the biology and evolution of human language, in a comprehensive yet highly accessible way.


Guide Books with Tips for Daily Living After Stroke or TBI

13. Mindstorms: The Complete Guide for Families Living with Traumatic Brain Injury by John W. Cassidy

 Mindstorms-Living-with-Traumatic-Brain-InjuryComprehensive guide to navigating the medical system, and the different types of brain injury, common myths surrounding it, ways in which TBI may affect memory, behavior, and social interaction, and the newest options in treatment and rehabilitation.

14. Stronger After Stroke: Your Roadmap to Recovery by Peter G. Levine

 Stronger-After-Stroke-Your-Roadmap-to-RecoveryHighly rated book for stroke survivors and families to learn the ways that stroke impacts our brains, and how to approach rehabilitation. Provides perspectives of reality that can allow survivors to feel more in control and empowered.

15. Beyond the Horizon: Redefining Potential After Brain Injury by Ben Luskin

 Beyond-the-Horizon-Redefining-Potential-After-Brain-InjuryA user’s guide for individuals living with challenges resulting from brain injury. The author takes the lessons from his own recovery from TBI and constructs a framework for people with disabilities to excel and thrive.

16. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries: 101 Stories of Hope, Healing, and Hard Work by Amy Newmark & Carolyn Roy-Bornstein

 Chicken-Soup-for-the-Soul-Recovering-from-Traumatic-Brain-Injuries-101-Stories-of-Hope-Healing-and-Hard-WorkA highly-regarded, inspiring, and easy-to-understand book for families who want to better understand what it’s like to live with brain injury. On the list for most brain injury support groups.


Help Us Grow Our Bookshelf

Are you a bookworm? Comment below and let us know which books are your favorites, and any you’d add to the list. And share this article with your SLP colleagues. Meanwhile, we’ll keep reading and curating the most valuable books in the field.

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  1. Mark C

    A Stitch in Time, by Lauren Marks is an excellent read for the list. A memoir of her experience and recovery from stroke.

    • Constant Therapy

      Hi Mark — we couldn’t agree more! Last year we wrote a full review of Lauren Marks’ A Stitch of Time, which you can read here. We’ll be sure to add it to this list also. Thanks for sharing your suggestion!


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