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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful and Enlightening Guide into How Our Minds Work
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...
Published 13 months ago by Oliver

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Primer
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...
Published 20 months ago by Zipster Zeus


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 10 Oct 2013
By 
Beanie Luck Spud (Cotswolds) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us (Hardcover)
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful and Enlightening Guide into How Our Minds Work, 10 Jun 2013
By 
Oliver (Los Angeles) - See all my reviews
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 (MK UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us (Hardcover)
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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
By 
Pardo (Kent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us (Hardcover)
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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 (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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
By 
JoMaynard (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us (Hardcover)
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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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reprogramming fruitflies with false memories, 17 Aug 2012
By 
David Spanswick (Brighton United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us (Hardcover)
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My oh my but this is an entertaining, informative, mind-expanding adventure ride of a book. Never have I been so fascinated, never have I longed to dive back into it, rarely have I been so inspired. I found myself muttering "of course, of course" and my jaw hitting my chest in amazement at the constantly recognisable elements especially the details of experiments on the way the unconscious just takes over as auto pilot at times of crisis, keeping us safe and often in completely inexplicable ways.

Mlodinov's new book really does do the business, not only of looking at the whole unconscious thing ~ I became so aware of so much about myself in devouring this book ~ but his playful interaction with his readers; there are so many actual reading "games" or experiments that you, as reader, can undertake and in doing so contribute to his hypotheses.

For this reviewer, having reached a certain age when memory is both a challenge and an adventure the chapter on Remembering and Forgetting was both encouraging and dispiriting. False memory has become both a personal and a collective reality for us living in the 21st century when we are bombarded with so much information that differentiation becomes a mythical labyrinth. Mr Mlodinov is so supportingly encouraging that I felt my own personal doubts evaporate as he records the various test results on everyday folk and the fabric of their memories both real and imagined.

This is a book to enjoy slowly and leisurely and certainly one I will return to even if it is just tocheck whether what I remember was really said or imagined
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting summary of research, but hardly ground-breaking, 15 Oct 2012
This review is from: Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us (Hardcover)
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I was intrigued by Subliminal as soon as I received it - largely because it has been written by a theoretical physicist, with no background (as far as I can see) in social psychology or the unconscious. As such, I half expected the book to be about the links between quantum theory and the brain (which would be absolutely fascinating!)

Instead, Subliminal was, for me, a rather run-of-the-mill summary of some fascinating research insights in the fields of psychology, social psychology and particularly social neuroscience.

Each piece of research that Mlodinow picked up was intriguing, and he writes them up very well in a flowing, interesting narrative laced with a few anecdotes along the way. But none of these pieces of research were particularly new, and I didn't feel as though Mlodinow brought them together into an overall coherent narrative.

As such, the book reads to me rather like Mlodinow got interested in social neuroscience and this is the result of his initial investigations. The problem is that this sort of information was available five years ago through, for example, the UK Royal Society of Art's Social Brain project. In other words, Subliminal is behind the times.

As an introduction to social neuroscience, you could do far worse than read this. But if it's a field you're already familiar with, you won't find much new here I don't think.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MY UNCONSCIOUS MADE ME DO IT, 14 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us (Hardcover)
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"Subliminal" is easily readable but it follows on the heels of at least two better books ("Thinking Fast And Slow" by Daniel Kahneman, and "Who's In Charge" by Michael Gazzaniga) that cover much the same ground.

"Subliminal" treats of the "new science of the unconscious." Mlodinow lays out the now accepted view of the human brain as being made up of a "collection of many modules that work in parallel, with complex interactions, most of which operate outside of our consciousness." Our conscious mind is therefore only one of several systems at work and our sense that it is "in charge" is simply an illusion. Most of our decisions, judgments and actions happen before our conscious mind has processed the relevant information. While the conscious mind can override our unconscious modules under some circumstances, its principal role is more that of a narrator than a controller.

Mlodinow makes much of the new technologies, especially fMRI, that enable study of the brain. Nonetheless, most of his data is drawn eclectically from the vast canon of psychology experiments of the type that involves student volunteers performing trivial tasks in artificial conditions. Many of these examples, I had come across before.

Mlodinow allocates much of his book to demonstrating how the workings of our unconscious brain modules drive (often to a biased outcome) everyday decisions that we tend to attribute to our conscious minds. Here, he tends to stray into much traveled territory. The role of our unconscious in making product selections and the consequent "hidden persuader" power of marketing is hardly new news having been pioneered by Ernst Dichter in the 1940's. He warns of how unconscious biases sway job interviews - I attended a company seminar warning about that in the nineties. He cites the Nixon-Kennedy Television debate as proof that we are unconsciously influenced by visual and aural perceptions, something which most of us would put in the category of Basil Fawlty's "the bleeding obvious," (and of course, scientific rigor would also require the elimination of other possible explanations such as different demographics among TV and radio audiences). The unreliability of eye witness accounts has been well documented before, and so on....

Subliminal is by no means a dreadful book, but general readers interested in understanding our minds would do better to begin with Kahneman or Gazzaniga. The first is more magisterial and comprehensive and the second more thought provoking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mlodinow is rightly acclaimed, 9 Jun 2014
By 
Hugo Minney "hugie" (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us (Hardcover)
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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. Get back in control of your conscious decisions, don't let your subconscious hijack you. Alternatively (if you like that sort of thing), let your subconscious do the work, and learn which intuitions are correct and which are just plain silly.
There's another aspect to this. If you understand how you are affected, then perhaps you can work out how the things you do will affect others. Perhaps you can even use this to help you communicate more effectively, influence more powerfully, and even develop charisma!
Mlodinow has an easy reading style, and manages to convey complex and powerful information in an easily accessible way. He doesn't dumb down, but the style keeps your brain engaged with touches of quirky humour that don't distract from the message but take your mind off the power of the information and the depth of detail he goes into.
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Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us
Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us by Leonard Mlodinow (Hardcover - 10 May 2012)
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