Looking for some helpful, motivating books on stroke recovery? This list contains inspiration for both survivors and caregivers alike. We update this list yearly to add the latest while keeping the past greatest stroke recovery books in the roundup.
The Best Stroke Recovery Books
Every stroke is different, and every recovery is different. This means that recovery goals also fluctuate among survivors. Some may desire help with physical effects like walking, while others desire help with staying motivated. This is where books on stroke recovery can help; they leave no stone unturned.
The following books can help educate you and your loved ones through evidence and advice from brain scientists, therapists, and other stroke survivors. We included both technical guides and memoirs to provide you with a robust reading experience.
Here are some of the best books on stroke recovery:
1. “My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor
Year after year, My Stroke of Insight takes the #1 spot on our list of the best stroke recovery books. The author, Jill Bolte Taylor, delivered one of the most-watched TedTalks of all time about her life-changing experience surviving a massive stroke — as a brain scientist no less!
It was My Stroke of Insight that inspired our post called 13 things every stroke survivor wished you knew. This stroke recovery book is full of compassion, and we hope it helps survivors and caregivers alike find grace on the road to recovery.
2. “Stronger After Stroke” by Peter Levine
Stronger After Stroke is arguably one of the best technical guides on stroke recovery. It’s a dense and heavy read, but every survivor and caregiver should have a copy. It will answer questions that you didn’t even know you had about stroke rehabilitation.
3. “Healing & Happiness After Stroke” by Kari Dahlgren
While the previous book focuses on the technical side of stroke recovery, Healing & Happiness After Stroke focuses on the emotional side of recovery, which is just as important.
If you feel stuck or struggle to find motivation, this stroke recovery book will help you rewire your brain for happiness. It focuses on rarely-talked-about topics like shame and loss of self-esteem to help you find healing and happiness, just like the title suggests.
4. “The Brain that Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge
Neuroplasticity after stroke is arguably the most important mechanism for recovery. It’s the process that the brain uses to rewire itself and bounce back from injury through repetition.
Recovering physical effects, such as weakness on one side of the body, requires rehabilitative therapy — which is designed to optimize neuroplasticity. In fact, almost all therapies available for stroke recovery are designed to activate neuroplasticity, so it’s helpful for survivors to have a deep understanding of how it works.
This is why we chose The Brain That Changes Itself as one of the best books for stroke recovery. Not only will you learn about neuroplasticity in depth, but you’ll also be inspired by real life examples, such as the woman who was born with half a brain and how it rewired itself to work as a whole!
5. “Whole Brain Living” by Jill Bolte Taylor
Last year, Jill published another book called Whole Brain Living. It challenges the traditional school of thought that labels the left brain as logical and the right brain as emotional.
Although this book is less stroke-specific than her first book, it contains tools that can help improve your thoughts and feelings. This can be a powerful journey during stroke recovery, where daily motivation is a critical resource for recovery.
6. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” by Jean-Dominique Bauby
What would life be like if you had locked-in syndrome, a rare condition (most often caused by a brain stem stroke) where the entire body becomes paralyzed except for the eyes? This captivating memoir answers that question.
Stroke survivor Jean-Dominique Bauby wrote this memoir through his ability to blink just his left eye to select each letter as the alphabet was recited to him slowly, over and over again. That in itself is inspiring, and the content in his memoir is even more so.
In these pages, Bauby will astonish you with his appreciation for life, even as he lives with locked-in syndrome, fully paralyzed and fed only intravenously. This book easily remains in our roundup year after year because Bauby is an inspiration to us all.
7. “Healing the Broken Brain” by Dr. Mike Dow and David Dow
This stroke recovery book was co-authored by a psychotherapist and a stroke survivor, and it also contains contributions from a Speech-Language Pathologist. Needless to say, it’s a robust, holistic approach to recovery.
Healing the Broken Brain contains a powerful intersection between hope and science. This stroke recovery book is a great read for survivors and caregivers alike; but if you struggle with language difficulties after stroke, this book is an even better fit.
8. “Identity Theft: Rediscovering Ourselves After Stroke” by Debra Meyerson
As previously mentioned, a stroke can challenge a survivor’s sense of identity, especially if it causes a sudden shift in career, relationships, and hobbies. For example, if a talented musician loses her fine motor skills after a stroke, causing her to stop making music altogether, it can challenge her sense of identity.
Identity Theft is a stroke recovery book that dives deep into the process of rediscovering yourself after stroke. The author, Debra, provides personal wisdom from her own journey after transitioning from a Stanford professor deeply identified with her career to completely unable to speak after her stroke.
9. “Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember” by Christine Lee
At the age of 33, Christine suffered a left thalamic stroke which severely damaged her memory. Doctors told her to notate everything she did with timestamps in her journal, which would soon become Christine’s working memory.
Christine struggled with true invisible illness. Because she did not show any physical effects of her stroke, many of her friends made unkind comments (without realizing they were unkind) such as, “but you look normal!” or “I wish I had a stroke as an excuse for my short-term memory issues!”
Only other stroke survivors can truly relate to the sting of these comments, which is just one of many reasons why Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember easily makes our list of the best stroke recovery books.
10. “Hope After Stroke” by Tsgoyna Tanzman
Written by a Speech-Language Pathologist and life coach with more than 25 years of experience working with stroke survivors, Hope After Stroke provides a holistic overview of the entire stroke recovery process. It covers everything from speech recovery to nutrition to candid answers on awkward topics, such as sexual issues post-stroke. If you’re interested in a holistic approach to recovery, give this one a read.
11. “Yoga Therapy for Stroke” by Arlene Schmid and Marieke Puymbroeck
Yoga can be a helpful stroke recovery treatment that improves balance and posture and helps manage stress. As a stroke survivor, it’s important to practice with a yoga teacher that has experience working with other stroke survivors, because modifications are essential based on your ability level.
This book is intended to assist other yoga teachers and therapists, but it can also be a great read for survivors that want to learn how to adapt their own yoga practice to meet their needs. It covers everything from adaptations to breath work to meditation. Always check with your therapist before beginning any new at-home regimen to reduce the risk of injury.
12. “The PTSD Workbook” by Mary Williams
Did you know that survivors can experience PTSD after stroke? Some of the hallmark symptoms of a stroke include facial drooping and loss of control over one side of the body. Losing control over your body can be a traumatic experience, especially knowing that a stroke is a potentially life-threatening condition if treatment is not administered swiftly.
PTSD can interfere with motivation to consistently participate in rehabilitation. If you have any of the symptoms of PTSD, such as extreme anxiety about having another stroke, it is highly recommended to attend psychotherapy to work through the trauma. This workbook, which was written by two psychologists and trauma experts, can be a great first step if you’re hesitant about attending therapy.
13. “Stroke Recovery Activity Book” by Guara Press
Sometimes a stroke can cause cognitive difficulties, such as poor memory and difficulty with problem solving. Just like the brain can regain movement through physical therapy exercises, it can also improve cognitive skills through cognitive rehab exercises.
Stroke Recovery Activity Book is chock-full of anagrams, word searches, visual discrimination activities, mazes, and much more to help stimulate the brain and encourage improved cognitive function. It’s user-friendly with extra large print, too.
14. “Brain Maker” by David Perlmutter
Nutrition is a hot topic, and the quest for the best diet for stroke recovery is no different. What foods are the best for stroke recovery? Which vitamins should I be taking? These are just two of the dozens of questions both survivors and caregivers are asking.
Brain Maker holds some of the answers. In this book, Dr. Perlmutter explores the intimate connection between gut health and brain health, and how improving the microbiome (the beneficial bacteria in our gut) can have a positive effect on overall health.
Perlmutter also offers simple dietary recommendations that you can try, such as eating more fermented foods. Be sure to check with your doctor before making any significant dietary changes to make sure it does not exacerbate any preexisting medical conditions.
15. “Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks” by Seth Gillihan
Aside from PTSD, other potential emotional complications of a stroke can include anxiety and depression, which can both be addressed through cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of psychotherapy.
In this book, Seth outlines a 7 week program to help you apply the proven principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. It leans upon the power of neuroplasticity to rewire the brain and improve thought patterns.
Bonus: “To Roots & To Rise” by Carole J. Starr
This book is specific to brain injury, but much of it can apply to stroke recovery as well. Many of the effects of a brain injury overlap with the effects of a stroke, and we think you’ll resonate with Carole’s story. It’s a hybrid book/workbook combination where Carole aims to help you navigate the grief and loss that can occur after an injury to the brain.
Building Your Library with Stroke Recovery Books
On the road to recovery, it helps to empower yourself with as much information as possible, because recovery is in your hands. Memoirs offer powerful ways to feel understood by other survivors, and there are many stroke recovery books that touch on the emotional side of recovery too.
We hope you get a chance to explore these stroke recovery books and gain better insight into what you can do to empower your own recovery.
If you’re wondering where to start, check out the free ebook below. It contains our best stroke recovery tips in a beautifully illustrated PDF. Enjoy!