Like our articles? Looking for deeper dives on these topics? We’ve put together a list of books that influenced us and that speak to the themes we discuss.  If you purchase a book from Amazon after following a link here, we get a small portion of the proceeds.  If you prefer Barnes & Noble, or used books, or even your local library, we’ve got links for those, too.

On Intensity & the Active Mind

Living with Intensity – edited by Susan Daniels and Michael Piechowski

This is the book that inspires a lot of our readers to start the web search that brings them to this site. If you wonder what we mean by “intensity,” it’s all in here.  It’s also a great introduction to Kazimierz Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration.  One of our interviewees, Michael Piechowski, is co-editor of the volume, while one of our most popular interviewees, Sue Jackson, has co-authored a chapter. Check it out!

Wired to Create – by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire

When our editor in chief read this book, it struck her how closely the chapter titles in this book line up with the topics we explore here.  From imaginative play to passion to openness to experience (and overexcitability) and more, if you like this magazine, you’ll probably like Wired to Create.  Jessie’s copy is now marked up and full of marginalia with article ideas.  If you like our work on intensity and creativity, then we bet yours will be, too.

The Orchid and the Dandelion – by W. Thomas Boyce, M.D.

Read our review

If you hate the words “gifted” and “overexcitable,” how about trying on “orchid?” Here’s the idea: while many people are more like robust, cheery dandelions that can bloom anywhere, a few are more like orchids in that they’re capable of astonishing elegance, but only if they get precisely the right conditions to bloom. That’s the idea Dr. Boyce came up with to share his decades of research into why some children bloomed and other withered.  This book gets into both the physiology of high sensitivity as well as the “gardens” in which people are raised.  It’s not always a cheery read if you’re an orchid struggling to boom, but it’s eye-opening.

Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity – by Imi Lo

Read our interview with Imi Lo

For another take on living with intensity that we don’t hear talked about nearly as much as it ought to be, try this book.  Lo offers insights from her counseling practice and her study of the lives of highly sensitive and intense people around the world.  She touches on Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration among many other theories.

Your Rainforest Mind – by Paula Prober

Read our interview with Paula Prober

Prober’s work builds on her popular blog on the subject of giftedness, mental health, and general well-being for people with complex, intense minds—a cohort she’s dubbed “rainforest minds.”  Her book offers case studies that get into more depth than her blog, and have helped many of our readers feel less alone.


Books by Our Contributors

House of Apollo – by Maxwell Olin Massa

Read Massa’s reflection on novel writing as a catharsis for the highly active intellect

“This wonderfully strange, thought-provoking, and hilarious novel defies simple categorization. Is it a study of the soulless mining of personal data for the greediest of ends? Is it a suspenseful tale of a battle of the wills—one Apollonian, the other Dionysian? Is it an artful melding of poetry and prose? Yes and yes and yes. As disparate as these elements may seem, in the end they add up to an entertaining, enlightening whole.” (Small Press Picks)

A Dozen Ways to Kill the Time Until the End – by Boris L. Glebov

Read Glebov’s exploration of his “mind palace” and how it contributes to his creative output—and his emotional life

“I shall give a brief warning. These stories and poems involve death, dying, and the Devil. I do not aim to either lift up or diminish these, but simply look at them in a way that is as human as I can muster. This book is not a meditation on these things, merely an observation that these are some Things That Exist.”