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Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior [Hardcover]

Leonard Mlodinow
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 April 2012
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.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books; 1 edition (24 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307378217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307378217
  • ASIN: 0307378217
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 911,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


PRAISE FOR The Drunkard's Walk: Mlodinow writes in a breezy style, interspersing probabilistic mind-benders with portraits of theorists ... The result is a readable crash course in randomness (New York Times)

If you're strong enough to have some of your favorite assumptions challenged, please read The Drunkard's Walk, a history, explanation, and exaltation of probability theory (Fortune magazine)

Delightful...Our lives may be shaped by chance, but they are enriched by awareness-just the sort of awareness that this fascinating book will give you (Guardian)

Leonard Mlodinow never fails to make science both accessible and entertaining (Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time)

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 co-author of The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us)

If you liked The Drunkard's Walk, then you'll love Subliminal. Mlodinow has written an engaging and insightful book that explores the new science of the unconscious. In Subliminal, Mlodinow not only makes neuroscience understandable-he makes it fascinating. After reading this book, you will look at yourself (and those around you) in a new way (Joseph T. Hallinan, author of Why We Make Mistakes)

Think you know the whys and hows of your choices? Think again. Follow Mlodinow on a gorgeous journey into the enormous mental backstage behind the curtain of consciousness (David Eagleman, Author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

LEONARD MLODINOW received his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of California, Berkeley, was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Max Planck Institute, and now teaches at the California Institute of Technology. His previous books include War of the Worldviews (with Deepak Chopra); the two national best sellers The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking) and The Drunkard's Walk (a New York Times Notable Book and short-listed for the Royal Society Prize for Science Books); Feynman's Rainbow; and Euclid's Window. He also wrote for the television series MacGyver and Star Trek: The Next Generation. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 10 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What can i possible say that hasn't already been echoed by other reviewers?

Absolutely nothing.

The book is interesting to read, i certainly learnt a lot. I did find it very boring in places but it is worth persevering until the end.

Is it a 5 star book ?? Not in my opinion, that's reserved for truly outstanding life changing books, but this is definitely a 4 star 7/10.

Liked it but didnt love it..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Oliver
Most of what happens in the human brain is below the level of consciousness. We don't think about how to walk, or how to type or even how to drive home from work. These things all happen automatically, unless we happen to focus our attention on them. And it has to be that way. Imagine if you have to focus your attention on each step of each task. But the subconscious mind is far more important than a servant that manages menial tasks. It also plays an important role in decisions that we think of as conscious and thoughtful. This well-written book provides an excellent guide to how our subconscious minds work, and how important they are in every day life. Everyone can and should benefit from reading books like this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What lies beneath - the tip of the iceberg! 22 May 2013
By still searching TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
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 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For fans of Dan Areily 26 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I must admit I was a little sceptical about the author - on the one hand he has co-written with Stephen Hawking, on the other he has co-authored with Deepak Chopra. However, this is a fascinating, and easy to read overview n recent research on the way subliminal and unconscious influences have a surprisingly large impact on our behaviour and decision making. If you have read and enjoyded the work of Dan Ariely or Daniel Kahneman you shoudl enjoy this (although it should be noted that this book's style is much closer to Ariely than Kahneman).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Primer 22 Nov 2012
By Zipster Zeus VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For those exploring for the first time the intricacies of our conscious and un-conscious selves this will undoubtedly be an exciting book, as a number of other reviews testify. Mlodinow writes clearly and with a lightness of touch that manages to get some pretty profound concepts across in an interesting and intriguing way.

There are of course a number of contemporary books charting the same territory at the moment- Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow comes to mind, which I actually think is a bit over-rated but that's another issue- but it has of course all been said and described in technicolor many years before now, notably by P.D. Ouspensky early in the twentieth century in The Fourth Way: Teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff, a book still in print and worth having a luxurious dive into if any one feels stimulated by the ideas sketched out in this book. Because it is an illusion that we have have only one 'I'- there a number of competing 'I's' in our brain, and our consciousness is far from what it seems...

So Mlodinow has made a fair stab at bringing these ideas to a wider audience although it is more of a primer than anything else, though non the worse for that. Well worth a try.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For everyone... yes everyone. 17 July 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a really interesting book on psychology. You don't need to be an expert (in fact an expert might get less out of this than an interested amateur) to read and understand this book.
An intelligent victim, who observed the criminal carefully is the best person to say who committed the crime, surely? You might be surprised when you read this book, how much we mis-remember.
Then there is the Coke paradox, which do you prefer the taste of Coke or Pepsi? Would it change if you didn't know which one you were drinking?

Can we trust our eyes? Our senses? Our memories?

What is really going on?

This book should be interesting for anyone who wants to learn a little more about themselves.
I'm going to get my daughter who wants to study psychology to read it next.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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Published 3 days ago by C. J. Tyler
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 days ago by trevor sargison
5.0 out of 5 stars Mlodinow is rightly acclaimed
Very enjoyable read, and at the same time very instructive.
If you want to understand how you really make decisions, then this is a good book for you. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Hugo Minney
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable. Accessible, entertaining & true.
The author draws from many areas of cited scientific research in the book so the truth of what he says is unassailable. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Roger Sharp
5.0 out of 5 stars An Informative and Enjoyable Read
This book is about understanding the human mind - examining senses, selves, memories, feelings, social, self and subliminal self. Read more
Published 4 months ago by G. Bright
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable read
Being a psychodynamic psychotherapist I am very interested in the unconscious and our motivations.
This book doesnt present anything at al new - and is very obvious if you... Read more
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Published 5 months ago by Mr. M Errington
4.0 out of 5 stars intriguing subject matter. Not quite sure what I make of it yet
I would like to think I'm a very open minded person and I have enjoyed reading this book. Huge parts of it make sense to me. I couldn't say hand on heart, that it all did though. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jay Rainbow
3.0 out of 5 stars New clothes for Old
I was expecting something far more enlightening from this book. The idea of the “new” unconscious drew me in. Read more
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