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Last Updated on March 31, 2024 by Jella Erhard

Explore the best and most useful classic and modern fiction and non-fiction books about overthinking that’ll take you around the world and even back in time while providing you with great tips on how to calm your mind when needed with ease and why you should appreciate more your overthinking mind.

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Most Useful Books About Overthinking

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Dive deep into the labyrinth of the overthinker’s mind, a universe where introspection meets its literary match in books that shine a spotlight on our most intricate musings. Thanks to these classic and modern books on overthinking, navigating through the complex alleys of our thoughts has never been this riveting.

These handpicked non-fiction and fiction books fit into the “overthinking” genre, seamlessly blending the nuances of our internal monologues with gripping narratives. It’s not your usual self-help spiel; it’s a thrilling journey into the intricate web of the mind.

RELATED: Best New Self-Help Books To Read

Our selection will introduce you to timeless books that anchor the “overthinking” theme, artfully twirling thought processes into compelling stories, and crafting atmospheres.

Venture into the corridors of romantic overthinking, where love and introspection make for page-turning reads. Similarly, embark on a journey with protagonists grappling with existential overthinking, where every revelation is a twist in its own right.

You’ll also find here non-fiction books about overthinking, that delve deep into the subject of overthinking and provide actionable guides and tools that will help you from day one.

NON-FICTION BOOKS ABOUT OVERTHINKING

Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross

Chatter by Ethan Kross - books on overthinking

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Published 2021

Synopsis:

Welcome to the ultimate masterclass on that tiny, noisy tenant living rent-free in your brain – overthinking. Ethan Kross dives deep into the rabbit hole of our inner chatter, pulling apart its good, bad, and ugly sides.

Chatter is like taking a backstage tour of your mind’s never-ending chat show. What makes it special? Kross doesn’t just diagnose the ailment; he offers a buffet of science-backed strategies to silence that nagging inner critic.

Reading this book feels like having a candid coffee chat with a brilliant friend, who casually blows your mind with insights while passing the sugar. It’s that blend of brilliance and relatability.

Dive into the science of self-talk with Chatter, because it’s high time we understood the guest that never stops talking in our heads and figured out how to, occasionally, give it the shush.


The Book of Overthinking: How to Stop the Cycle of Worry by Gwendoline Smith

The Book of Overthinking by Gwendoline Smith 2020

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Published: 2020

Synopsis:

Gwendoline Smith, known as the brain whisperer, dives headfirst into the maelstrom of our minds, fishing out those pesky thoughts that go ’round and ’round like a broken record.

Why is this book on overthinking a game-changer? Smith doesn’t just go “Hey, you’re overthinking”, she’s like a mental detective, tracing back to why we spiral into these cycles of worry.

Reading this book feels a bit like having a heart-to-heart with that brutally honest friend – the one that gives you a reality check but wraps it in a hug.

Learn how to navigate the maze of your mind with Gwendoline Smith’s The Book of Overthinking because if our brains had theme songs, they’d probably be ’80s rock anthems, and it’s time to turn down the volume


Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson interview (Small)

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Published: 2015

Synopsis:

Buckle up, because Jenny Lawson is about to take you on a roller-coaster ride through the ups, downs, loop-de-loops, and hilarious freefalls of the human psyche.

Furiously Happy isn’t your typical solemn self-help guide. Oh no. It’s like combining a TED talk with a stand-up comedy routine—where the central theme is the beautiful messiness of life. Lawson’s genius lies in her unabashed candidness about mental illness, making you chuckle one minute and well up the next.

Why is this a must-read? Because in a world that often takes itself too seriously, Lawson is our flag-bearer of embracing imperfections, overthinking included, with a hearty laugh. Reading this feels like dancing in the rain with rubber boots—unexpected, liberating, and oh-so-refreshing.

Dive into Furiously Happy, a literary cocktail of humor and raw honesty, reminding us that sometimes, the best way to confront our demons is to laugh in their faces.


Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig - books about overthinking

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Published: 2018

Synopsis:

Ever felt like Earth had turned into one giant, frenzied espresso machine, spitting out caffeinated humans left and right? Enter Matt Haig’s Notes on a Nervous Planet, your handy guide to navigating this modern whirlwind of anxieties.

Haig channels his inner cosmic explorer, scrutinizing the planet’s nervous ticks from social media obsessions to the relentless pace of modern life.

Why’s this book such a big deal? Because Matt isn’t just stating the obvious—he’s weaving a tapestry of personal tales, clever observations, and those ‘Ah-ha!’ moments that make you rethink your relationship with your smartphone.

Reading this feels like being in a cozy cafe, sipping a calming tea, while the world outside frantically rushes by.

Grab Notes on a Nervous Planet and let Matt Haig be your zen guru for the digital age, teaching you to find pockets of peace amidst the buzzing chaos.


Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh - books on overthinking

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Published: 2013

Synopsis:

If you’ve ever thought life’s absurdities could use a comic strip makeover, then Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half is your technicolor dream come true.

Merging her childlike drawings with a wit sharp enough to cut glass, Brosh dives into tales of everyday madness, overthinking, and those oh-so-awkward moments we’d rather forget but she hilariously immortalizes. Why should you crack this one open? Because it’s real life, dialed up to 11.

Brosh isn’t just serving you a few chuckles; she’s laying bare her own battles with depression, making you cackle and tear up almost simultaneously.

Reading this feels like flipping through the funnies section of a newspaper, only if they were injected with an extra dose of relatable humanity and a sprinkle of chaos.

Delve into Hyperbole and a Half for a comic-laden, emotional roller coaster, where Brosh proves that sometimes, the best way to tackle life’s quirks is to sketch them out with a laugh.

RELATED: Best Books on Mindfulness & Creativity That Will Change Your Life

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz

The Paradox of Choice - overthinking books

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Published: 2004

Synopsis:

Alright, picture this: You’re at your favorite ice cream parlor, ready to dive into a creamy delight, only to be hit by a whopping 100 flavors to pick from. Suddenly, the joy of ice cream becomes a brain-twisting saga of indecision.

Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice is like the magnifying glass on that conundrum, only applied to, well, life. Schwartz makes a daring argument: While choice is good, an overload can lead to paralysis and dissatisfaction.

You might think more choices mean more freedom, but sometimes, it just translates to a whole lot of overthinking and second-guessing. Why’s this book making waves? It turns conventional wisdom on its head and dares to say that maybe, just maybe, less is more.

The Paradox of Choice will help you understand why in a world bursting with options, the key to happiness might just be a little simplification.

FICTION BOOKS ABOUT OVERTHINKING

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante - books about overthinking

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Published: 2011

Synopsis:

Hold onto your literary hats, because Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend isn’t just a book; it’s a ticket to Naples, a time machine to mid-20th century Italy, and a front-row seat to the intricate dance of friendship.

The novel unravels the bond between two girls, Lila and Elena, as they grow up in a poor neighborhood fraught with rivalries, romance, and, yes, a whole lot of overthinking. While it’s a fiction piece, the introspection, self-doubt, and intellectual wanderings of the protagonists will strike a chord with anyone who’s ever lived inside their own head a bit too much.

What makes this book a masterpiece? Ferrante paints emotions with words like Van Gogh did with paint. The narrative is so vivid that you can almost taste the Neapolitan pizza and feel the cobblestones under your feet.

Reading this feels like getting lost in a European art film, where every frame is poetry and every dialogue, is philosophy.

My Brilliant Friend is a heartfelt waltz through the maze of friendship and self-discovery. In Ferrante’s world, overthinking isn’t a flaw; it’s an art.


The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery - overthinking books

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Published: 2006

Synopsis:

Ever felt like you were a secret genius hiding in a world that just doesn’t get you? Meet Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, a tale of undercover brilliance in the heart of Paris.

At the core are two leading ladies: Renée, a concierge with a penchant for philosophy and the arts, and Paloma, a young girl with observations wiser than her years. Both are master overthinkers, cleverly masquerading their true selves from a snooty, upper-class world.

But why’s this book a must-have on your shelf? Barbery crafts a narrative that’s like fine wine—complex, rich, and deeply satisfying. It’s a philosophical feast, touching upon art, class, and the intricacies of human nature.

This novel feels like finding an old diary in a vintage bookstore; it’s introspective, poetic, and beautifully mysterious. If you love surreal and weird books then you should pick this one up.

In The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Barbery invites us into a world where appearances deceive and intellect sparkles in the unlikeliest corners. It’s a cerebral dance, a waltz of wit, set in the rhythm of overthinking.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon 2003

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon - overthinking books

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Published: 2023

Synopsis:

Ever wondered what goes on in the unique brain of a 15-year-old math prodigy with a detective’s ambition? Say no more! Dive into Mark Haddon’s enchanting world where Christopher, our young Sherlock, embarks on a quest to solve the murder of a neighborhood dog.

Now, this isn’t just a mystery. It’s a riveting voyage into the mind of someone who sees the world a tad differently. Christopher, with his autistic perspective, interprets and overthinks situations in a way that’s both enlightening and profoundly touching.

Haddon’s genius lies not just in crafting a whodunit, but in letting us glimpse a world where every detail is magnified, every pattern is a puzzle, and every social interaction is a tightrope walk.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is more than a mystery; it’s a vibrant mosaic of human emotion, logic, and the fascinating corridors of an overthinking mind.


Turtles All the Way Down by John Green October 2017

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green - books about overthinking

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Published: 2017

Synopsis:

Dive headfirst into the whirlpool of a mind plagued by spirals—literally. John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down invites readers into the introspective world of Aza Holmes, a teen detective with more on her mind than just the mystery at hand.

You see, Aza’s daily battles aren’t just against the external world; they’re against the tightening spirals of her own thoughts, brought on by her obsessive-compulsive disorder. What sets this book apart?

Green doesn’t just tell a story; he weaves an intimate tapestry of mental health, love, and the messy reality of adolescence. And while there’s mystery and romance, the true journey is Aza’s struggle with overthinking every microbe, every decision, every heartbeat.

Turtles All the Way Down is a cosmic dive into the chaos and cosmos of an overthinking mind, reminding us that sometimes the greatest mysteries are those within ourselves.


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - funny books about overthinking

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Published: 2017

Synopsis:

Enter the intriguing world of Eleanor Oliphant, where routine is religion and social interactions are… well, let’s just say they’re not her forte.

Gail Honeyman gifts readers with an unforgettable character: Eleanor is quirky, blunt, hilariously out-of-touch with social norms, and, beneath it all, profoundly lonely. As we follow her journey, it becomes clear that Eleanor doesn’t just overthink—she’s built a fortress of routines and rigid thoughts to shield herself from a traumatic past.

But here’s the twist: Honeyman wraps this poignant narrative in wit sharper than a blade and humor as sparkling as champagne. The beauty of the book lies in its delicate dance between heartbreak and hilarity.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine serves a cocktail of laughter, tears, and profound introspection, proving that beneath layers of overthinking, there’s always a story yearning to be told.


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion January

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - overthinking books

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Published: 2013

Synopsis:

Cue the cinematic rom-com soundtrack! Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project is the delectably delightful tale of Don Tillman, a genetics professor with, let’s say, a more “logical” approach to love. Think of him as a mix between Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Darcy, but with a sprinkle of Sheldon Cooper.

Don’s on a quest—the Wife Project. It’s a scientifically rigorous, perfectly logical survey to find the ideal partner. Flawless, right? Enter Rosie—wild, fiery, and as unpredictable as a software update right before a presentation. She’s the antithesis to Don’s overthought criteria.

As they embark on the Father Project (an entirely different mission to identify Rosie’s biological dad), readers are treated to a dance of missteps, misunderstandings, and unexpected emotions. Reading this feels like binge-watching your favorite feel-good series—heartwarming, hilariously awkward, and hard to put down.

The Rosie Project is a charming reminder that love doesn’t fit into checkboxes, and the best-laid plans can wonderfully go astray when the heart joins the overthinking game.


Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder - books about overthinking

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Published: 1991

Synopsis:

Sophie’s World is not just a book; it’s a transcendent journey through the annals of philosophy, woven into the fabric of a teenage girl’s life. Sophie Amundsen starts receiving mysterious letters that plunge her into a world of Socratic dialogues, Kantian questions, and Hellenistic wonders.

But this isn’t just Philosophy 101 with a fictional twist. Gaarder masterfully marries the realms of fiction and philosophical exploration, making readers question existence, reality, and the nature of thoughts themselves.

Overthinking? Sophie’s World celebrates it, making it the canvas upon which life’s greatest questions are painted.

Embark on Sophie’s World, a kaleidoscopic ride through philosophy and fiction, revealing that overthinking is not just a trait, but a doorway to the universe’s grandest puzzles.

RELATED: Thought-Provoking Books About Good & Evil


Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami - books on overthinking

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Published: 1987

Synopsis:

Step into the dreamlike realm of Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, a tale drenched in nostalgia, love, and the often tortuous paths of self-discovery.

We’re taken on a journey with Toru Watanabe, who, upon hearing the titular Beatles song, is catapulted back to his university days in Tokyo—a period marked by passion, loss, and the lingering shadows of the past.

Murakami, in his inimitable style, crafts a narrative that is both achingly real and ethereally poetic. Toru’s introspection, his deep dives into the pool of memory, and his frequent overthinking resonate with that quiet voice inside all of us—the one that ponders, ‘What if?’

If you love thought-provoking books about Japan then check out Norwegian Wood.

With Norwegian Wood, Murakami weaves a tapestry of youth, longing, and the bittersweet taste of love, all while showcasing the art and ache of overthinking.


The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera - classic books about overthinking

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Published: 1984

Synopsis:

Welcome to Kundera’s realm, where philosophy meets passion and every choice carries weight. The Unbearable Lightness of Being introduces us to Tomas, Tereza, Sabina, and Franz, characters tangled in a web of love, politics, and existential riddles in 1960s Czechoslovakia.

But don’t mistake this for just another love story. Oh no, Kundera’s magnum opus delves deep, questioning the very nature of existence: Is each of our actions unique, making life unbearably light, or do they carry weight, forever etched in the universe?

Overthinking? Kundera might as well have coined the term, taking readers on a cerebral ballet through concepts of fidelity, freedom, and fate.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is an intoxicating blend of romance and reflection, painting overthinking not as a quirk, but as the pulse of human existence.


The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger - classic books about overthinking

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Published: 1951

Synopsis:

Strap on your red hunting hat and dive into the chaotic, captivating mind of Holden Caulfield, the poster boy for teenage angst and, of course, overthinking. The Catcher in the Rye isn’t just a novel; it’s a rite of passage.

Through the streets of New York City, Holden, in all his cynical glory, grapples with themes of innocence, adulthood, and the superficiality of society. Salinger doesn’t just give us a character; he hands over a mirror, reflecting the tumultuous sea of adolescence, where every glance, every phrase, and every “phony” is dissected and deliberated upon.

It’s raw, real, and, at times, achingly relatable. Reading this feels like riding a roller coaster of emotions: the highs, the lows, and the dizzying loops of introspection in between.

In The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger crafts a masterclass in overthinking, reminding us of that tumultuous time when every thought was a storm and every emotion, an odyssey.


The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka - unique monster books

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Published: 1915

Synopsis:

Imagine waking up as a giant insect. The jarring reality for Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s surreal masterpiece, The Metamorphosis is also one of the most exciting monster books of all time. This isn’t just a bizarre ‘man-becomes-bug’ narrative.

Oh no, dive deeper, and you’re swimming in a sea of symbolism, societal critique, and, you guessed it, introspection (or should we say insect-spection?). Kafka, with his unique brand of existential horror, explores themes of alienation, identity, and the human condition.

Through Gregor’s multi-legged trials and tribulations, the narrative brilliantly delves into the anguish of being misunderstood, the weight of family expectations, and the gnawing pang of overthinking every twitch, turn, and tragic moment.

The Metamorphosis is Kafka’s enthralling dance with the absurd, shining a lantern on the labyrinth of overthinking that traps the human (and insect) psyche.


Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Published: 1866

Synopsis:

Prepare for a deep dive into the murky waters of the human psyche with Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. It’s less of a who-dun-it and more of a why-dun-it, as readers follow Raskolnikov, a penniless student, in the aftermath of committing a heinous crime.

But this isn’t just about a man on the run. Dostoevsky, in his classic style, paints a vivid tapestry of guilt, morality, and the mental gymnastics of justification.

Overthinking? Raskolnikov might just be the grandmaster, as he spirals into a world of internal torment, grappling with the moral weight of his actions. Through the crowded streets of St. Petersburg, we’re taken on a roller coaster of existential dread, ethical dilemmas, and the haunting specter of consequence.

In Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky crafts a searing exploration of the mind, proving that the real prison bars are often those of our own making and overthinking.

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