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The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Program to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence, and Happine ss Paperback – May 30, 2013
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“Thank you, Steve Peters, for opening my eyes on how to approach my worries and fears…”
—Bradley Wiggins, Winner of Tour de France 2012
“[The Chimp Paradox is] the mind program that helped me win my Olympic Golds.”
—Sir Chris Hoy, six-time Olympic champion
“Steve Peters is the most important person in my career.”
—Victoria Pendleton, Olympic Gold Medal-winning cyclist
“Dr. Steve Peters uses quite a bit of creative license in The Chimp Paradox to create layman-friendly applications for cutting-edge neuroscience—with spectacular results! Customers will welcome this exciting new approach to managing overeating, uncontrolled rage, and obsessive thinking, and the book’s scientific foundation, though simplified, is solid.”
About the Author
Dr. Steve Peters is a Consultant Psychiatrist who specializes in optimizing the functioning of the mind. He is Undergraduate Dean at Sheffield University Medical School and the resident psychiatrist with the British Cycling and Sky ProCycling teams.
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Top customer reviews
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Peters introduces 3 parts of our brain: the emotional Chimp, the sensible and mature Human, and the Computer. The Chimp and Human often oppose each other and the Chimp can be dangerous and embarrassing. The book purports to provide tools to manage the Chimp - basically distractions or rewards. The author is a Dean at a provincial medical school in England. As he is also resident psychiatrist with professional cycling teams, presumably he has been experimenting on their cyclists with this theory. I note reviews here from cyclists who claim success, which I simply cannot believe, based on my extensive reading on emotions, motivation, success and happiness.
Some of the reviews claim this book can change your life. I disagree, based on hundreds of self-help books I have read over three decades and more; most bad, a few good (only those solidly based on research, like Kahneman's books). I cannot see how it would be possible for any advice in this book to work in the long term. There's no mention whatsoever of the reptilian part of our brain which hijacks most fight/flight/freeze situations whereas this book claims the Chimp brain is responsible. There's hardly any credit given to the vital contributions of the limbic ("Chimp") brain which is actually the seat of desire (aka motivation) and decision-making, neither of which is even hinted at in this book.
There's very short shrift given to the proven most helpful processes, which include changing how you think about the kinds of situations that repeatedly upset the Chimp and allowing your emotions to move freely (in private, of course) so that they can give you important information and achieve a resolution. Suppression and denial of thoughts and beliefs have been proven not to work - not only that, but things get worse when you try. According to (for example) "White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts: Suppression, Obsession, and the Psychology of Mental Control" by Daniel M. Wegner which is based on research, unlike the dangerous pop psychology in this Chimp book, deliberately trying to suppress unwanted thoughts will just ensure those thoughts will systematically persist.
Far better is "Bounce" by Matthew Syed, an English table tennis champion. Whilst Syed provides no new information, he has drawn together many relevant research threads on the psychology of success in an interesting and easy read. I also suggest McGonigal's "Maximum Willpower" (or "the Willpower Instinct" as it appears to have originally been called).
Later note: "Beyond Willpower" by Loyd, sharing amazingly quick processes for emotional clearing and success is even more powerful than his previous book "The Healing Code" for which there are over a thousand reviews on US Amazon, including many success stories and even physical healings.
Other reviewers have explained the premise of this book adequately - the Human Mind, the Chimp Mind and the Computer Mind (is there even enough room in my head for all of them to be living with me?!) and how it is the Chimp mind - operating on survival and 'baser' needs that gets in the way of our goals and being the person we want to be and causes most of our problems. The trick is to recognise when the Chimp mind is operating and to reinstate the Human mind in order to get control again. And that's about it. Feeling angry? Recognise it's the Chimp mind, and decide not to react. Want to binge? Notice it's the Chimp mind, and ignore it, or placate it. Pretty much anything that you are thinking or feeling or doing that you don't want to be thinking or feeling or doing is the Chimp mind in power. Deal with it ( you can't reason with it), and your problem is solved.
This is the notion of the reptilian brain re-hashed as a Chimp - presumably so that we can better relate to the metaphor of mischief, mayhem, and - ego centric as we are - a primate instead of a lizard. Somehow the concept of Lizard Brain wouldn't sell as many books, even though the theory may stem from the same origins.
The taming your inner Chimp (whatever happened to shrews?) idea might work for some, but I find the self-talk a little too simplistic, and for many people, possibly not useful in emotionally demanding or intense situations when they find they continuously lack control (eg temper outbursts or addictive cravings). Personally I think that RET/CBT a more nuanced approach. Plus, there's no Monkeys involved. Except if you want to try mindfulness and Buddhism...
And so my inner Human is making the rational, conscious desicion that I have the basic idea, and I've heard all I need to, and to not put myself through the whole droning on, repetitive thing.
Most recent customer reviews
Very informative read.