Anger management is a vital life skill that takes effort and time to develop. Part of developing the skill is understanding anger, its role in your life, how it impacts your life, and healthy ways of expressing or channeling it. It is also understanding anger in other people and equipping yourself with the strategies for helping them deal with it or handling them at the height of the emotion.
Books on anger management are a good source of information to help you understand the emotion. The top ones provide you with theoretical information and break down steps, strategies, and skills for dealing with it.
Below is a look at the top 10 must-read anger management books. While some contain useful information for everyone, others are specially written for men, women, or children. Also, some are written for specific settings such as marriage and the workplace.
10 Best Anger Management Books
The Cow in the Parking Lot. Interesting title, right?
If you were circling a crowded parking lot and noticed a parking spot near you. But just as you are about to drive in, another driver races past you and packs there. What would you do?
Chances are, you will respond with anger.
Now, consider for a moment that instead of a person, a cow has lumbered into the parking spot and sat there. Instead of anger, you would be amused.
So, what is the difference between the two scenarios? It is mainly a change of perspective.
In this book, the authors Leonard Scheff and Susan Edmiston offer simple and understandable Buddhist principles that you can employ to replace anger with happiness. It covers the following:
- The four most common types of anger
- How to identify your real unmet needs
- Understanding the real cost of anger
- How to laugh at ourselves
- Dealing with other people’s anger
- Shifting the emotional balance
- How to transform anger into compassion
- Understanding that we have a choice when our buttons are pushed
- Realizing that others do not make you angry, rather it is your responsibility
In the book Anger, Taming a Powerful Emotion, Gary Chapman acknowledges that anger is a cruel master. Anger can be challenging to manage, and you may find yourself lashing out at people you love. If you know that anger is hurting your life and looking for ways to fix it, this book has some useful tips.
The author, a professional counselor, helps you understand why you get angry and what to do about it. He offers surprising insights about anger, its effects, and how to overcome it. You will learn how to handle anger in healthy ways. The book will also help you in the following ways:
- Get a better understanding of yourself
- Understand where anger comes from
- Overcome bitterness, denial, and shame that has lasted for years
- Understand when anger is good versus when it is bad
- Discern between bad and good anger
- Learn how to handle bad anger
- Make positive life changes
- Let go of resentment and grudges
- Help other people and children deal with anger
- Learn how to confront or respond to an angry person
- Learn how to forgive when you have been wronged
- What to do when you are angry at God
Rage: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Explosive Anger is specially written to serve as a step-by-step guide for people who experience explosive anger. According to the author, 7% of Americans unknowingly experience a condition known as Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), characterized by reoccurring outbursts of anger.
While the outbursts may be far between, when they happen, they can be extremely detrimental to your relationships, property, jobs, etc. With effective tools and a plan, you can stay calm and controlled even in triggering circumstances.
The book’s author, Ronald Potter Efron, is a renowned anger management expert. He breaks down anger into four main types – survival, abandonment, impotence, and shame range. He discusses how the brain operates when one is angry and then provides steps to take control of the emotion.
He places the responsibility of control squarely on the individual. In his no-nonsense approach, you have no room for whys or excuses, no matter how angry you are. But if you follow the steps and insights he provides in the book, you will be in control.
Society often conditioned women to deny anger and remain silent when angry. While this approach may seem noble, it can leave you feeling hopeless and powerless. It can also cause shame, bitterness, and resentment to build up, making you more susceptible to anger outbursts.
Therefore, the author, Harriet Lerner, argues that anger deserves attention and respect by identifying your true sources of anger and redirecting its energy to create positive change. It helps the reader redirect their energy from unproductive anger to positive results.
Although The Dance of Anger is positioned as a woman’s guide to dealing with anger, it is equally helpful for men, especially those seeking to better understand the women in their lives. It will teach you the following:
- The challenges of anger
- How to handle anger as a couple
- How to use anger as a road map to understanding yourself better
- How to deal with anger towards your mother and other people close to you
- How to navigate boundaries and your emotions
- Emotional cycles
If you are looking to teach your kids anger management, this book is an excellent choice. The Anger Management Workbook for Kids is specially designed to visually appeal to kids and teach them vital life lessons regarding staying calm and making better choices when angry.
Through a series of activities, images, and well-presented information, the author will help your child understand or learn the following:
- What is anger
- How anger feels
- What happens to the body and mind when one is angry
- How to tell if you are angry
- Where anger goes
- How else anger can show up
- What can cause you to be angry
- Appropriate ways of expressing anger
- How to stay in control of your actions when you are angry
- Techniques for calming down
- How to deal with someone else when they are angry
It consists of 50 fun activities suitable for kids aged 6 to 11 years. Some of the activities included doodling, journaling, meditating, crafts, etc.
In the Anger Trap, Dr. Les Carter will help acknowledge how easy it can be to notice anger in other people and not yourself. While some people may have outbursts, anger can manifest subtly, such as being impatient or overly critical. Also, for most people, anger stems from unrecognized and unresolved emotional pain, which can be resolved.
The author draws insight from timeless wisdom, real-life examples, and cutting-edge research to offer valuable information on anger management. The book covers the following:
- Myths and misconceptions about anger
- How to identify and distinguish healthy and unhealthy anger
- Root causes of anger
- Patterns and destructive cycles of anger and how to break them
- Healthy ways of handling anger
- How to help other people deal with anger
- Techniques for freeing yourself from hidden fears and insecurities
- How to improve your relationship with other people, may it be at home, work, or other social settings
In Mindfulness for Anger Management, Stephen Dansiger helps you to turn your attention inwards to help you identify and understand your anger triggers. He also helps you identify and process accompanying body sensations, thoughts and feelings. The book also focuses on empowering you with skills to handle anger in real-life settings, e.g., work, family, and relationships.
The author emphasizes that mindfulness for anger management is not a philosophy to be understood. Rather it is a daily practice. He equips you with mindfulness strategies and exercises to overcome anger, control your emotions, and live more harmoniously.
Research shows that men express their anger differently from women. They tend to be violent, and learning to manage their anger can be more challenging as they are less willing to confront their emotions.
Beyond Anger is written to specifically equip men with skills to manage their anger. The author, Thomas J. Harbin, has decades of experience treating male rage. He borrows from his wealth of experience, knowledge, and research to help men improve their relationship with anger. His approach is tough and real.
The book helps men understand anger and identify symptoms of chronic anger. It then shows them how their actions negatively affect their coworkers, family, and friends. The author then offers simple exercises specially designed for men to help them identify when their anger arises, how it shows up, how to control it when it arises, and new habits to prevent it.
This book can also be valuable for women looking to understand and empower the men in their lives around anger management.
The latest version of the book is updated to address contemporary issues that affect men’s anger management, e.g., internet and social media, PTSD, aging, and politics. It depicts how these issues could fuel anger among men, how you can protect yourself from potential pitfalls, and how to manage anger if it arises.
Although Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence book does not talk about anger exclusively, it talks about how to master your emotional mind. If you can master your emotions, you will definitely be able to control your anger.
The insights in the self-help book are drawn from the groundbreaking brain and behavioral research that shows that people with even modest emotional intelligence do much better than those with high intellectual intelligence.
The author discusses aspects such as self-awareness, empathy, and self-discipline. He argues that although emotional intelligence is shaped by childhood, it is not fixed and can be nurtured and strengthened in adulthood.
The book offers you tools and strategies to reach their full potential by raising their emotional intelligence quotient.
10. Healing the Angry Brain: How Understanding the Way Your Brain Works Can Help You Control Anger and Aggression
Healing of the Angry Brain explores the neurobiology of anger. The author explores the biological and psychological functions of anger in detail and offers lots of practical advice on regulating an anger issue for a full and healthy emotional well-being.
According to the author, Ronald T. Potter Efron, if you become so angry that you act impulsively or feel out of control of your emotions, your brain might be hard-wired for anger. If the anger pathways are too established, it can be detrimental to your relationships, work, and health.
In this anger workbook, he answers the question that psychotherapists always ask neuroscientists, “How does the brain help me help my clients?”. The book reveals that you can short circuit the anger cycle, enabling you to handle stressful situations calmly. This approach will yield long-term and sustainable results in anger management.
The book also covers the following:
- The basics of the brain
- The emotional brain
- The angry brain and its causes
- How to change your brain
- How to recognize unconscious anger activation
- Medications that may help with anger
- How to develop empathy
Anger is a natural human emotion. While it is often labeled as bad, it is not in itself. However, if it is not controlled, it can lead to destructive action or behavior. Pick up one or more of the 10 books reviewed above to equip yourself with anger management skills to prevent incidences of outbursts or destructive behavior.