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169 of 184 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book!!
Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow

"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...
Published on April 28, 2012 by Book Shark

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70 of 91 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit cheesy
I was hoping to learn something new in this book, or at least have something to talk about at a coctail party. I expected a little more from a physicist (author) who had worked with Stephen Hawking. The author used old examples of "subliminal" situations, like the horse who could do math by stomping his hooves. This example has been around for as long as I can remember...
Published on June 16, 2012 by zepolita


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Subliminal - How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior, July 6, 2012
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This review is from: Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior (Hardcover)
I've always suspected that people believe what they want to believe. Suspect no more, here is hard science proof that much of life is a construct and God help those whose conscious mind fails to override unconscious bullying. This is a fascinating read. One tidbit: the mind is hardwired to categorize and it is up to the educated mind to categorize that - obviously, this says quite a lot ... Four stars instead of five because I am afraid to give this book a five for what that might say about me.

theo lee
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For those into behavioral economics, this is a new frontier., June 9, 2012
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Extremely interesting book.
It takes about 30/40 pages to start seeing where it is heading, but once the pieces begin to fit together, it clearly becomes a fascinating introductory text to neoroscience, aimed at non-professionals in the field of psychology.
For those into behavioral economics, this makes a very enlightening reading, expanding the limits and understanding for future reaseach and applications.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, May 10, 2012
By 
Moran Cerf (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior (Hardcover)
I watched Professor Mlodinow give a brilliant public talk about the book recently. Immediately after his talk I purchased the book and started reading it. I read it cover-to-cover in a few hours - couldn't stop reading. A brilliant read and a great topic. Excellent book by a great author. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than the tip of the iceberg, May 22, 2013
As others have commented this offers nothing new regarding the workings of the human mind and features no cutting edge research. But what it does offer is a well written, engaging, instructive and reasonably comprehensive review of where we are now in terms of our understanding the degree to which our actions, feelings and thoughts are influenced beyond our conscious awareness.

Most people, I imagine, are familiar with the idea that our conscious awareness uses only a relatively small amount of our brain's processing power: the majority is taken up by our unconscious, which busies itself with the myriad affairs and processes necessary to keep us up and running while our conscious mind struggles to cope with the 7+/-2 bits of sensory data that supposedly represents the limits of its capacity. However, while this faithful slave is relieving us of the burden of having to remember to breath, filter our blood, maintain our core body temperature and so on as well as filtering out the million bits of sensory stimuli with which we are bombarded every second, it is also picking up little tidbits of information that we do, unwittingly, make use of in our dealings with the world and one another and which influence our behaviour in very surprising ways and, to a large extent, make us the people we are.

For anyone interested in the field of human behaviour, or anyone else who is simply curious to learn what might make them tick, this will be an entertaining and informative read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who's driving this thing?, May 10, 2013
By 
Ever wonder what's going on in your brain while you are busy strolling around saying funny stuff and thinking big, important things? Turns out, a whole lot. There's an entire world of unconscious activity hidden just below the surface. If conscious thought is like a speedboat you pilot across the surface of the ocean(cue the Miami Vice theme), unconscious thought is the teeming, chaotic, beautiful mass of rainbow-colored tropical fish, graceful coral reefs, steely-eyed sharks and even a few grotesque bottom-dwellers hidden beneath. Once you dive in, you realize our subliminal thoughts are more powerful than the speedy, unreliable conscious thoughts we're so proud of, skimming along the top. That's because unconscious thought ultimately shapes our decisions, forges our world views and guides our relationships with others (and with ourselves), all without us even knowing or - equally important - without controlling or consenting.

Subliminal, by Leonard Mlodinow - a theoretical physicist - is a guided tour (blitzkrieg?) through the unconscious mind and shows that we are only loosely in control of our own consciousness, completely unaware of the things our brains take in when we aren't paying attention and at the mercy of filters we didn't even know existed.

Study after study and weird example after weird example bring this to life: Folks who read a recipe in a difficult font rated it harder to prepare than the same recipe presented in an easy font (take note, designers), because our brains get us ready for tasks before we start them. Folks using exactly the same detergent in three differently-colored boxes consistently rated one in particular -- the most colorful -- the best of the three by far. Shoppers who heard French background music bought more French wine, and bought more German wine when German background music was playing even though none of them even remembered music playing. In another classic study, people consistently prefer Pepsi over Coke in a blind taste test, but they prefer Coke when the blindfold comes off.

Can you actually taste "brand?" People with brain damage in a specific location can't. When the VMC area -- thought to be the generator of warm, fuzzy feelings -- was damaged, they didn't experience the "Pepsi paradox." (Please, Pepsi, don't start damaging our brains).

There's so much more: Statistical analysis found investors were more likely to invest in the initial public offerings of companies with easy-to-pronounce names. There are naturally occurring dead spots in our vision that our brain compensates for without us even knowing. Oxytocin, released during sex and even during hugs, affects social bonding, which in turn is shaped by brain size and complexity across species.

When you read this book, you'll realize that it's crazy town up in your brain, and there ain't no mayor. We think we are driving the machine, but we are actually just along for the ride. There's power in knowing that, though. This book is breathless, geeky fun, well written and packed with insights and puzzles and hard science and so many "ah-ha" moments that I eventually had to consign myself to the notion that I would have to read it twice.

An aside: This topic takes on even greater significance when you consider the recent Wired article suggesting consciousness continues -- remains organized -- for up to a few hours AFTER death.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INTERESTING!, May 25, 2013
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This review is from: Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior (Hardcover)
This book is very interesting about how your subconscious mind works as matter of fact unconscious is a much better description. To me it really explains intuition. I haven't finished it yet but you don't have to read from beginning to end you can basically jump in anywhere and be intrigued.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read!, May 3, 2013
By 
Lots of insights about how we think our mind works and how it really does.

The book is well-written, in an easy to understand and often humorous way; the points made by the author are backed by scientific research.

If you want to look deeper into reasons for people's behaviour, this book will help you with "raw data." It's not going to give any solutions though - you'll need to figure them out by yourself! :)

I really liked this book and have already recommended it to my friends.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fully conscious 5-star recommedation, April 22, 2013
By 
Deb (Palo Alto, CA) - See all my reviews
Think you are aware of your thinking? Think again!

Although we may feel like we are conscious drivers of lives, our brains actually have a heavy reliance on the unconscious forces that steer it. The truth is, much of our thinking happens outside of our conscious awareness and control, and our subliminal programming affects all aspects of our lives--from how we perceive the world, self, and others to how we think, feel, behave, and remember.

But, we can't fault our brains for this heavy subliminal reliance. If our brains actually took in all of the data we are bombarded with each moment, we'd be overwhelmed and overloaded. As the author of _Subliminal_ explains:
"To ensure our smooth functioning in both the physical and the social world, nature has dictated that many processes of perception, memory, attention, learning, and judgment are delegated to brain structures outside conscious awareness...The truth is that our unconscious minds are active, purposeful, and independent. Hidden they may be, but their effects are anything but, for they play a critical role in shaping the way our conscious minds experience and respond to the world...Our subliminal minds take incomplete data, use context or other cues to complete the picture, make educated guesses, and produce a result that is sometimes accurate, sometimes not, but always convincing." (pp. 18, 29, 152)

The reality is that much of what we believe to be true, is actually false. (How's that for a brain challenge?) Our brains are not the computers we assume them to be, but instead creative distorters of reality:
"We are not like computers that crunch data in a relatively straightforward manner and calculate results. Instead, our brains are made up of a collection of many modules that work in parallel, with complex interactions, most of which operate outside of our consciousness. As a consequence, the real reasons behind our judgments, feelings, and behaviors can surprise us...Our brains are not simply recording a taste or other experience, they are *creating* it...We believe that when we choose a laptop or a laundry detergent, plan a vacation, pick a stock, take a job, assess a sports car, make a friend, judge a stranger, and even fall in love, we understand the principal factors that influenced us. Very often nothing could be further from the truth. As a result, many of our most basic assumptions about ourselves, and society, are false." (pp. 22, 25-26)

To wrap our brains around the confusing two-tiered brain processes of the conscious and the unconscious, the author presents a great metaphor explaining how subliminal forces result in our brains acting less like truth-seeking scientists and more like conclusion-driven lawyers:
"The human mind is designed to be both a scientist and an attorney, both a conscious seeker of objective truth and an unconscious, impassioned advocate for what we *want* to believe. Together these approaches create our worldview...As it turns out, the brain is a decent scientist but an absolutely *outstanding* lawyer. The result is that in the struggle to fashion a coherent, convincing view of ourselves and the rest of the world, it is the impassioned advocate that usually wins over the truth seeker...The unconscious mind is a master at using limited data to construct a version of the world that appears realistic and complete to its partner, the conscious mind." (pp. 200-201)

Appropriately enough, I found this book to be incredibly mind-blowing. Not only is the content fascinating and engaging, but the author's writing is superb: just like the unconscious mind, he has quite the gift for synthesizing huge amounts of information into accessible and digestible slices. (But, unlike our unconscious minds, he does not distort reality!) Admittedly, I can't quite explain the reasons I chose this book from the many others on the shelf (now I realize there were a slew of subconscious processes that influenced my decision), but I can consciously stand behind my five-star recommendation for reading it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking to branch out, April 7, 2013
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I have not read a lot of this type of book but after reading some of the reviews decided to jump in with this. I've had a lot of interest in this area and being in sales, we do a lot of personal/professional development related to this field.

While the book is terrific for someone relatively new to the field, the beginning was laced with studies that the author went beyond normal interpretation into heavy speculation. Just a bit of a stretch for my thinking at least. After those, however, the book does a good job of trying to stay on topic and provide many thoughtful insights on recent and past studies, connecting physiological phenomenon with sociology.

The book does challenge a lot of our autonomous response system we take for granted and you'll definitely be taking a introspective look at you and your social interactions.

The concepts in this book help me every day to notice the subtle body movements, change in tone, passed judgement, and many others. Noticing these reflexes and cues, helps me intercept that response system (sometimes too late) and put my own conscious thoughts into the mix.

Definitely recommend to all readers except those most versed in this subject.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A psychology textbook saved by an excellent sense of humour, September 11, 2012
This review is from: Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior (Hardcover)
This book got flooded with 5 star reviews the week it got published, so I bought it. I have to admit however, I was expecting a masterpiece; It isn't that, but I enjoyed it all the same.

Most of the information in this book is better suited in a lecture rather than a book and so I recommend you watch the amazing talk Mladinov gave at Google (its on You Tube). If you enjoyed the lecture then this is what the book is about.

Subliminal is basically a undergraduate psychology text book, but saved by Leonard Mladinov's great sense of humour (there is a joke on every other page). I only wish my college text books were this funny. The research is up to date too, which is useful.

I was frustrated that the other reviewers never mentioned that Mladinov just keeps talking about the data and never gets to his own punch-line (college textbooks never have a punch-line).

There is an outstanding book called The User Illusion, which does get to the punch like. Its getting on in years now and should be a few dollars on Amazon.

I'm still giving subliminal one 5 stars :)
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Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior
Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow (Hardcover - April 24, 2012)
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