How your Unconscious Mind Rules your Behavior

Book - 2012
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Leonard Mlodinow, the best-selling author of The Drunkard's Walk and coauthor of The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking), gives us a startling and eye-opening examination of how the unconscious mind shapes our experience of the world and how, for instance, we often misperceive our relationships with family, friends, and business associates, misunderstand the reasons for our investment decisions, and misremember important events.

Your preference in politicians, the amount you tip your waiter--all judgments and perceptions reflect the workings of our mind on two levels: the conscious, of which we are aware, and the unconscious, which is hidden from us. The latter has long been the subject of speculation, but over the past two decades researchers have developed remarkable new tools for probing the hidden, or subliminal, workings of the mind. The result of this explosion of research is a new science of the unconscious and a sea change in our understanding of how the subliminal mind affects the way we live.

Employing his trademark wit and lucid, accessible explanations of the most obscure scientific subjects, Leonard Mlodinow takes us on a tour of this research, unraveling the complexities of the subliminal self and increasing our understanding of how the human mind works and how we interact with friends, strangers, spouses, and coworkers. In the process he changes our view of ourselves and the world around us.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2012.
ISBN: 9780307378217
Characteristics: viii, 260 p. :,ill. ;,25 cm.


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Mar 12, 2018

An insightful, engaging, very edifying, and even humorous book (its well written and researched too!).

May 22, 2014

This is a non-fiction book that reads like fiction. With the help of tests with remarkable outcomes Mlodinow shows us how our minds are much more than our conscious minds. Even when concrete examples prove that we are not as unbiased as we believe we are, we refuse to believe it. Mlodinow gives us examples from laboratory and real life tests as well as his own life to prove his points. For example he could show that his 88 year old mother who was hard of hearing and half bind could detect changes in his mood! The author asserts, after proving it, that "our unconscious is at its best when it helps us create a fond sense of self, a feeling of power and control in a world full of powers far greater than merely human." All in all a really worthwhile read.

Oct 25, 2013

I'm usually not much of a nonfiction reader, but this was wonderfully well-written. Mlodinow makes complex neuroscience understandable and fun to read and the content and things you'll learn in this book will blow your mind!

Dec 09, 2012

The mind is the most complex entity that we know of in the know universe, it would be bit hubris to overestimate our understanding of its full functionality. Leonard Mlodinow provides many interesting examples of the faults in our conscious thinking that directly relates to the unconscious decision making process that blind us to the facts of reality. An interesting sideline to this book is that Leonard Mlodinow co-authored books with both Deepak Chopra as well as Stephan Hawking. I'm going to go out on a thin limb of a very small branch and say that Deepak Chopra work is predisposed to subconscious science, where as Stephan Hawking work is more focused on conscious realms of science.

Aug 07, 2012

One of the best science books I've read. Mlodinow gives an outstanding recap of neuroscience and how we've come to know what we know about the unconscious mind. The author has an engaging writing style that makes something that could be dry very exciting. The book is full of experiments for readers to do that illustrate the topics being discussed. Mlodinow is a gifted writer who can bridge academia and the general public very successfully.

roaddogg09 Jun 03, 2012

First, I'd just like to say how well written this book is. Mlodinow has done a wonderful job explaining these concepts in fun and informative ways. I found myself drawn into the book; I just wanted to keep on reading!

Now to the content: it's good. Mlodinow explores how conscious thought is the tip of the iceberg, and how unconscious processes within the brain actually effect the decisions we make. Citing research and experiments, Mlodinow makes the case that what we thought was the reason we made a decision is, in fact, merely an illusion conjured up by our minds. He's not saying all our decisions are due to unconscious processes, but our biases and intuitive reasoning gets the best of us, even though we aren't aware of it.

One particular favorite of mine was given in Chapter 2, "Senses Plus Mind Equals Reality." In this chapter, Mlodinow describes a patient, named TN, that had severe damage to the visual center of his brain. He was completely blind. TN had no conscious vision and could not see objects. What was fascinating was that researchers discovered that he could maneuver through a room full of obstacles without any help. Why? He'd been able to walk across a room without bumping into anything. What was the deal? Even though his conscious experience of sight was completely gone, his eyes still registered objects and sent that information to many parts of the brain. Even though TN's visual center was completely damaged, there were other centers in his brain that we registering what his eyes were seeing and making decisions based on that!

Whether your new to the developments of neuroscience or an expert, you'll gain a thing or two from "Subliminal." Not only will you look at yourself differently, you'll be able to make better decisions and actually get an understanding of how other people make decisions.

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