25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2000
David Weiner has put together a truly entertaining book which answers the question,"What place in a person's mind allows generally reasonable people to do generally universally agreed upon unreasonable things?"
Well researched, this book looks at real world examples, knowing the reader applies them to themselves and to the people, they know.
Great chapters outline the base "limbic drives" present in all people. This mix of limbic drives is what powers our personalities and our actions, and this book offers explanations and a scorecard to see where the reader falls with regard to "average" behaviors. In the end, you have a better understanding of personality and actions, and a solid knowledge of the Inner Dummy in all of us.
GREAT READING !
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2000
A friend and I were discussing President Clinton's foibles when I asked, "What was he thinking?" My friend said, "Funny you should say that" and recommended Dave Weiner's book. Psychoanalysis is not my thing, however, I found "Battling the Inner Dummy" to be an enjoyable and stimulating read that provides an interesting perspective as to why seemingly intelligent and rational people do stupid things. I really liked the book.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2001
This book is horrible. Mr. Weiner's writing style is hackneyed at best. He drives each point home relentlessly with an astounding number of examples. He uses a couple of gimmicks I found unbearable: First, his painfully detailed recreations of conversations he had with various individuals under the guise of collecting data for his book, but actually serve to showcase the breadth of Mr. Weiner's knowledge, and ability to annoy. Second, the ridiculous chapters in which makes Dr. Freud a character in this madness. This book had about three to ten pages worth of useful information - the rest of the book is all padding and nonsense.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2000
David Weiner has put together an altogether entertaining book defining what makes up our minds and our personalities. And what drives people to do the things they do.
In today's age where someone goes on national television, and says, "I want to Marry a Millionaire," this book offers incredible insight into what shapes extraordinary events in the mind.
Weiner's book is well researched,and offers many opportunities for self-analysis. It is a fun book to read and to pass. The analysis of the limbid drives will well illustrate personality traits in the reader and in people the reader knows. It asks the question, "What is Normal, Am I Normal, Are my Friends Normal?"
Just a blast to read!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2000
Throughout our lives we have seen people doing things that we thought were senseless. Whether they were people in our workplace, people in government or close friends. After reading David Weiner's book, you realize that their "Inner Dummy" made them do it. They really can't control the senseless things they do because they don't know they are doing them. After reading "Battling the Inner Dummy" you are more tolerant of these "Dummy" captured people...and you try to control your own "Inner Dummy."
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 1999
I cannot recommend Battling the Inner Dummy by David Weiner enough. This is an absolutely terrific book. Enormously inventive, erudite and playful at the same time, it brings some much needed analysis to a subject that has lain in the hinterland for far too long. I also have to say that he does a much better job than I have done in How To Manage Your Dimensionally Interactive Cyber Kinetics of portraying the peneteration of our intellectual and emotional lives by our most irrational components. I give this book five stars.
The most astonishing thing about this book is that the conclusions implicit in Freud have never been fully and constructively exploited by social thinkers. This book puts some elements of the libidinally infested academic community to shame. Sean O'Reilly Editor at-Large Travelers' Tales
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2001
This book does an amazing job in telling us how our minds really work. I have found most books on this subject to be tedious and difficult to read. But because Weiner keeps the writing lively and entertaining as well as informative, and intersperses his text with an imaginary and imaginative sub-plot involving Sigmund Freud, the book makes for a great read.
22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2003
Did you know that the human brain has been analyzed as having three compartments? According to this analysis, the innermost brain, inherited from our reptilian ancestors, houses the most basic instincts. The next layer, inherited from our earliest mammalian ancestors, is called the limbic system. This section houses the emotions. The outermost layer, developed still later, is called the neocortex. This section houses our higher thinking skills.
If you didn't know that before, do you understand it now? If so, then you have just read pages 38 and 39 of "Battling the Inner Dummy." So you know all the author has to say about the triune brain.
Throughout the rest of the book, the author talks about everything under the sun. One chapter is an introductory course on Abnormal Psychology. Another chapter introduces us to the Theory of Relativity. In three more chapters, we get an overview of psychotherapy techniques. For reasons known only to himself, the author devises 10-point scales for various personality traits. There is also an extended scenario in which Freud comes back as a consultant for an advertising campaign. You might find it entertaining, you might think it's kyootsee-kyoot.
Here are some important questions which Weiner gives only a cursory glance:
Why are male heterosexuality and female heterosexuality so different? Men patronize prostitutes and porno magazines, whereas women patronize drugstore novels. A look at our primeval past can answer this question.
Why are people attracted to illegal drugs? Why are people attracted to foods which overdose on sugar, salt, and fat? Probably because such stimuli did not make their appearance soon enough in the history of the human brain.
The remaining questions Weiner does not discuss at all:
Why is there so much misunderstanding between women and men? Women exhort men to be honest about their feelings, but to no avail. Men refuse to ask for directions when they are lost, much to women's distress. These questions, too, can be answered in terms of the triune brain.
Why does a schoolteacher see the classroom as a battleground and see the students as enemies? Probably because the schoolteacher is clicking on the wrong section of the brain.
Why is one person so often proud of another person's accomplishment? When a citizen from your hometown wins a big competition, the whole town celebrates. Why should anyone else be proud when it was only that one person's accomplishment?
Likely because the citizens unconsciously think they are at war with everybody else.
Why are we so undiplomatic in expressing our opinions to a person who disagrees with us? After all, we want to influence the other person. Insulting and threatening that person will certainly not do the trick! Here again, our battle instincts come to the surface.
Why does prejudice rear its ugly head so often? Most likely because foreign language textbooks are a recent invention. If someone who looked and acted differently from you came up to you and said "Buenos dias," you wouldn't know WHAT that meant! The safest assumption is that it means "I'm going to eat you alive!"
What poses, gestures, and physical features make children cute, make women sexy, and make men manly? Lorenz (0674846303 and 0452011752), Tinbergen (1558210490), and Eibl-Eibesfeldt (0670167096 and 0416074804) have interesting answers to these questions, but Weiner apparently hasn't read about them.
If Weiner is so interested in psychological abnormalities, he could consider the effects of living in nuclear families while our inner brains are programmed for living in extended families. Many of our psychological problems--such as pedophilia--involve treating a person of one age or gender as we could more appropriately treat a person of another age or gender. It is reasonable to suggest that an upbringing in the presence of people of all ages and both genders could preclude such problems.
Why do liberals and conservatives fight an ongoing battle in many countries? Some animals are interdependent because they hunt in packs. Some animals are independent because they hunt alone. Some animals are half and half because they hunt both ways. That's why all dogs are Democrats, all cats are Republicans, and humans are half and half.
There is much to be said about evolutionary psychology. So why does Weiner say so little?
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2002
How absolutely brilliant to describe the "id" as the Inner Dummy." If after reading this book you can't admit to yourself that you have an "inner dummy" then you are not being honest to the most important person in your life...yourself. If we would recognize the "inner dummy" ... our lives and those of others around us may be just a little bit better. Weiner has certainly made me aware of the crazy things I do and think nothing of doing them. Now I think of some of those things and say "what was I thinking of!" Thank you David for opening my eyes and I hope you've opened them up for everyone who has read your book.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2001
Weiner's theory that much of our so-called 'irrational' behavior has its roots in the limbic system is interesting. However, the weakness of his theory, as well as this book, is his insistence on applying it willy-nilly to every example of irrationality he comes across, while failing to acknowledge the countless examples of people who don't display irrational behavior. One of the 'proofs' he gives is several examples of his valiant efforts to drone on about his theory at parties or on airplanes, only to find that people either leave or stare at him and then change the subject. Weiner interprets this as proof that people can't comprehend the mind-boggling implications of what he's saying. A more likely explanation is this: staring and changing the subject is one of the only ways to deal with someone who's trying his darndest to hijack the conversation. Frankly, this entire book read like a conversation with someone who only has one idea and who can't let go of it or see that there are serious flaws with his theory. I also agree with the other reviewers who suggest skipping the Freud segments. Everything else aside, they're tedious, poorly written and illustrate nothing that wasn't repeated several times in the text proper.