1. The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog. I've recommended this book to every single one of the nurse practitioners that I've precepted. This book helped shape my perspective on treating and understanding trauma. I've encountered more horrific things than I can begin to tell you in pediatric community mental health settings - but this is something that presents itself everywhere. If you want to better understand humanity as a whole, start here.
2. Lithium: A Doctor, a Drug, and a Breakthrough. This is actually a fairly short read, but fascinating. Lithium has a kind of weird reputation, so it's neat to backtrack and learn the history.
3. Building a Life Worth Living. This book was written by Marsha Linehan, who pioneered DBT. Her perspective and life is a really important read to help us develop a better understanding of people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and who would benefit from DBT.
4. The Body Keeps Score. This one is a classic. You should walk around and assume that every single person you encounter has trauma, and that it certainly affects them. This book will give you a strong understanding of what kind of effect it has.
5. Attached. If you understand attachment theory, you will understand human interaction. You will understand your friends, family, coworkers, romantic partners and YOURSELF.
6. The Mind-Gut Connection. This book was an easy read, fascinating and important to better understanding mental health.
Bonus! For psych NPs or other mental health professionals:
Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness and Humanity. This is by far, the most important book in my opinion. This book helped to shape me into a better practitioner, and helped to remind me of the humanity of my patients at a time I was feeling completely burnt out. It may be worth reading this a few times throughout your career to prevent falling into the system.