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Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior Hardcover – April 24, 2012
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Guest Reviewer: V.S. Ramachandran on Subliminal
V.S. Ramachandran is a neuroscientist known for his work in the fields of behavioral neurology and visual psychophysics. The author of The Tell-Tale Brain, He is the Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Neurosciences Graduate Program at the University of California, San Diego.
This delightfully accessible yet intellectually rigorous book transcends traditional boundaries between neuroscience, psychology and philosophy, to tackle the riddle of the unconscious mind. Freud bashing is a popular intellectual pastime these days (I myself have been guilty on occasion) but Mlodinow shows that by emphasizing the unconscious he was on the right track: we are completely unaware of the vast majority of events going on inside our brains. The book presents compelling evidence gleaned from a variety of sources to show that much of our behavior is governed not so much by our conscious mind – which is prone to claim credit – but by a cauldron of motives, drives and unconscious propensities of which we are largely oblivious. Indeed, most of our actions are carried out by the unconscious mind (or minds ) which exists in peaceful harmony with the conscious person "inside" your body. The question of why we are conscious of the tip of the iceberg of neural activity continues to remain elusive but, perhaps, the answer can be found by asking what you can do without being conscious; What’s the IQ of the unconscious mind? Here Mlodinow offers dazzling new insights into what the unconscious can and does do, to influence our lives.
“Clever, engaging. . . . A popular-science beach book, the sort of tome from which cocktail party anecdotes can be mined by the dozen. . . . Subliminal makes its main point well and concisely.”
“An assault against the idea that we control our decisions and our beliefs in the way that we think we do . . . A useful addition to the growing body of work arguing convincingly against the idea of the rational human brain.”
—The Daily Beast
“Mlodinow, a theoretical physicist who has been developing a nice sideline in popular science writing, shows how the idea of the unconscious has become respectable again . . . Fascinating.”
“This very enlightening book explores the two sides of our mental lives, with a focus on the subconscious or subliminal element. Drawing on clinical research conducted over a period of several decades and containing a number of rather startling revelations . . . the book appeals to readers with an interest in the workings of the human mind.”
“One of the ten books to watch out for in 2012 . . . Physicist, science writer and Hollywood screenwriter Leonard Mlodinow is out to explore how important the unconscious is in shaping the way we process the world.”
“Mlodinow never fails to make science both accessible and entertaining.”
—Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time
“Think you know the whys and hows of your choices? Follow Mlodinow on a gorgeous journey that will make you think again.”
—David Eagleman, author of Incognito
“With the same deft touch he showed in The Drunkard’s Walk, Mlodinow probes the subtle, automatic, and often unnoticed influences on our behavior.”
—Daniel J. Simons, professor of psychology, University of Illinois, and coauthor of The Invisible Gorilla
“If you liked The Drunkard’s Walk, you’ll love Subliminal. This engaging and insightful book not only makes neuroscience understandable, it also makes it fascinating. You will look at yourself (and those around you) in a new way.”
—Joseph T. Hallinan, author of Why We Make Mistakes
“A must-read book that is both provocative and hugely entertaining. Mlodinow provides many eye-opening insights into the ways we act in business, finance, politics, and our personal lives.”
—Jerry A. Webman, chief economist, OppenheimerFunds, Inc., and author of MoneyShift
“A highly readable, funny, and thought-provoking travelogue by Mlodinow, a trusted traveler in this treacherous region, who leads us on a tour of the little-known country that is our unconscious mind.”
—Christof Koch, professor of cognitive and behavioral biology, California Institute of Technology
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Top Customer Reviews
"Subliminal" is the provocative and fascinating look at the unconscious part of our minds. One of my favorite authors and physicists, Leonard Mlodinow, takes the readers on a journey into the science of the unconscious. What a fun and enlightening book this was. Mlodinow is the master of making the difficult accessible and fun for the masses. How are mind works is one of the most interesting subjects and I was thrilled to see that the coauthor of both the Grand Design and the equally interesting book War of the Worldviews makes his latest venture into this intriguing science. This excellent 272-page book is composed of the following ten chapters: 1. The New Unconscious, 2. Senses Plus Mind Equals Reality, 3. Remembering and Forgetting, 4. The Importance of Being Social, 5. Reading People, 6. Judging People by Their Covers, 7. Sorting People and Things, 8. In-Groups and Out-Groups, 9. Feelings, and 10. Self.
1. A fascinating topic (science of the unconscious) in the hands of a master.
2. Elegant, conversational tone that makes this book a treat to read.
3. Mlodinow consistently produces great books and this one lived up to my expectations.
4. As accessible a book as you will find. A difficult topic made easy and fun to read.
5. The book is loaded with great and I mean great examples to help the reader grasp the latest in the science. One of the books strengths.
6. Great use of science history.
7. The pioneers of the science of the unconscious.
8. Great use the latest scientific research in this fascinating topic to support well-stated positions.
9. You will end up with a better grasp at how our brains work.
10.Read more ›
Mlodinow looks at our decisions from the perspective of the new field of social neuroscience, and finds what Freud and Jung theorized about almost a hundred years ago: that beneath every action and experience that is apparently rational, a set of unconscious processes actually dominates the decision-making process.
But these process are far from the "blood, lust and rage" of the Freudian unconscious, or the universal Platonic conceptions of Jung. Instead, these are adaptive mechanisms that protect us and help us to find a way through the rigors and dangers of life.
For research into these mechanisms, Instead of the "psychologist's couch" approach to self -understanding taken by classical psychoanalysis, Mlodinow champions an empirically verifiable line of research that is far from the "psychiatrist's couch" of classical psychoanalysis. Namely, social neuroscience, with the fMRI as the key experimental tool. This is a device that allows scientists to see exactly what processes are occurring in the brain during any given activity or experience.
In an experiment that gives breathtaking evidence of the possibilities presented by social neuroscience, a computer was able to select an image that closely matched one being viewed by an experimental subject, from over six million possible choices, on the basis of analyzing fMRI data alone.Read more ›
This is a good book and an enjoyable read. It will be extremely informative and surprising to those new to the subject and still has lessons for those of us who are not so new to the topic.
This book has Amazon's "Search Inside" feature and I strongly recommend you use it to become more familiar with its content. Easily recommended.
This is a wonderful book for those concerned with the function and potential of the mind. The author is a famous and respected theoretical physicist. He apparently has a lot of free time and intense interest that he has parlayed into doctoral-level knowledge of how the mind functions. You will find a great amount of surprising information here. One example is the phenomenon of "blind-sight," which he discusses thoroughly.
The title is a bit deceiving. It is not about manipulating people through advertising. Rather it is about the importance of the unconscious mind in everything we do and perceive. The word "unconscious" with its Freudian connotations is inaccurate. Perhaps "nonconscious" is better. The author shows that the nonconscious mind accounts for more of our ideas, perceptions, and actions than we normally believe.
The author pulls out all the stops in surveying what we know, from the early history of Psychology to the newest functional MRI studies. It is a wonderfully organized and extensive survey.Yet, this is no dull treatise. The author has a great sense of organization, a lucid writing style, and an ability to relate sophisticated concepts to everyday experience. Moreover, he is very witty. It is virtually impossible to read this book without laughing out loud here and there.
As a lawyer I have to say that I think every judge and jury in the country should be required to read this book. It would be as worthwhile for teachers, legislators and many others.
Despite its "non-academic" style, this book supplies copious notes and extensive bibliography. On balance, this is a great addition to any thoughtful person's library.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If Leonard Mlodinow wrote a million books I'd spend every day and night of my life reading them. He is amazing! Read morePublished 10 days ago by R. Russell
Ordered several of Leonard Mlodinow's books by chance by browsing what Amazon's computer brain in the sky "thinks" I might like to browse. Read morePublished 14 days ago by ET
Very fun book both my daughter and I loved it. I will look for other books by Leonard Miodinow.Published 16 days ago by JennyRae
Didn't realize how much we don't know about our brains. Check out this book for some keen information about something we rarely understand, but use daily, our unconscious mind.Published 17 days ago by erick g. pryor
A very interesting look at research on the unconscious which ends on a very positive and optimistic note. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Paul Wangerin
I always read the worst reviews of the books I liked. Sometimes they make me think. Often I'm baffled. I was this time. No idea how they came to their conclusions. Read morePublished 27 days ago by David H. Eisenberg
You can learn so much by empirical study of how to make a box that will make people like laundry detergent that the nation of shoppers might seem like Plato's demography during 400... Read morePublished 29 days ago by Bruce P. Barten
This work is entertaining and illuminating. In an accessible and friendly manner it invites us to review how we see the world, think the way we do, and make our life decisions. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Amazon Customer
I've had so many 'aha!' moments while reading this book. So interesting and it all just undeniably makes sense. I recommend to anyone who loves to learn! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alyssa