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606 of 634 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book
this book is fantastic... i have been a profesional sportsman for 20n years winning 3 world titles..4 uk champs..4 masters titles plus many more titles... my journey has not always been the the best in terms of how i have felt about it.. many times vowing to retire.. it has been that hard.. in this time i have worked with many people to try and help me through the...
Published on 9 Jan 2012 by Ronnie O'Sullivan

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ok
The book essentially is based on the idea of controlling your emotions (i.e. your chimp) and emphasize your rationality (I.e. your human) - this is hardly an enlightening idea, though it is articulated in a basic and simple manner that some may find useful. I believe the idea itself - as presented by the author - underestimates the importance and usefulness of the...
Published 1 month ago by Che 13

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103 of 123 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Emotional Intelligence for Dummies, 25 Feb 2012
It's interesting that "Self Help" books seem to stir up similar emotions to religious texts. The believers can see no fault and react in horror at anyone who dare criticise what the see as "The Truth".

And let's be honest, if the five star reviewers here think the book will give them the answer that will change their life forever who am I to question that? I have no wish to become the Richard Dawkins of self help books.

For me however, I found the tome a little patronising and meandering. Peters takes several ideas from Dan Goleman and reproduces them in a more accessible format. Fair play to him, I found Goleman's book a bit of a slog. SO instead of an "Emotional Hijack" we have the chimp taking control. Still, I suppose Freud got there before Peters or Goleman.

The 'solar system' concept behind the book is somewhat bewildering - a metaphor too far for me. Perhaps Peters didn't want to use a Mind Map and give Tony Buzan more publicity.

I have a broad collection of the "For Dummies" books beside me as I type, so I am not being derogatory when I say this would have made a good addition to that range. But when I am invited to "give your chimp a name" I can't help but feel a little patronised.

There is some useful stuff in here and if it has truly changed people's lives for the better then good luck to them, although I think people need more than a month or two after publciation to decide if that really is the case.

I will be reading it again - and perhaps making notes next time.
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77 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed my life, 4 Jan 2012
I wouldn't normally write a review for anyhting i've bought, no matter how good or bad, however i feel compelled to do so.

After years of suffering from severe depression and cripling self doubt, both professionally and personally, this book has managed to do in one week what years of professional help could not even get close to.

I am not going to sit here and write a review just to make me sound smarter, or wiser, than the author, I am not an expert in psychology. I am merely a Lehman who had the blues - bad!

Thanks to the book, and Dr.Peters, I have very few (if any) worries and am living life to the full.

This is no bull, it's honestly what has happened. I'm sure that other reviewers are more academically qualified to critique than I, but the bottom line is, the book has done for me exactly what it says on the tin - I am happier and more confident than ever. I feel at ease and in control of my own mind.

This review isn't necessarily to promote the book, however, I would hate to think that someone out there is searching for inner peace and answers and didn't at least give this book a go.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 11 May 2013
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This review is from: The Chimp Paradox: The Acclaimed Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness (Kindle Edition)
If you want to know why you react / over react sometimes, or have members of teams / family that do so, then read this book. Gives an interesting insight into the brain and personality which can be related to many scenarios. I found it an easy read.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chimp v Human, 21 April 2012
J. R. Fowler (Greater London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chimp Paradox: The Acclaimed Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness (Kindle Edition)
This book is written in a plain, accessible style. It tells us that our brain can conveniently be divided into three parts HUMAN, CHIMP, COMPUTER. The chimp is first to react - for instance crossing the road without looking properly - and may give a warning which saves your life. However, the chimp can also make a mountain out of a molehill, sowing seeds for future problems. Someone takes your parking space,for example. Instead of shrugging and maybe moaning to friends, you seek out the parking villain and confront him. Result: nobody wins and nothing is gained, just trouble. The human in the parking scenario would just shrug, the chimp wants to confront someone about it. The computer meanwhile takes in chimp and human reactions and melds them together, to make the personality you become.
This books tells us how to contain(not remove) our chimp, making life easier, better and less confrontational. It teaches us to accept situations which cannot be changed - because they've happened - to move on and plan the future.
I found the various sections helpful, and soon became aware when my chimp was pushing himself to the front of my thinking.

The author helped Chris Hoy to power his way to a cycling gold medal, by helping him contain the chimp and plan various goals to reach on the way to his dream of a gold medal. I just want to get through a day without unnecessary anxiety, and with purpose. If you share those simple aims then this book will help you order your life and bring order to ambition. The added bonus is that the book is an easy read.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Simple Mind Map, 27 Jan 2012
As a recreational cyclist of 50 years or so and an amateur racer for the past 30 years and a follower of pro cycling, I had read frequent references to chimps in relation to the elite athletes of British Cycling. I had also read of Dr Steve Peters who works with British Cycling and the Sky Procycling Team. I also knew that his work with the athletes had been extremely successful in helping them win a string of Olympic Gold Medals in Beijing 2008.

I was therefore curious as to what the fuss was about. This book neatly and clearly sums up the concepts applied by the author in his work. His thesis is that we all have 3 parts to our brain, a Chimp who works on emotion and sees things in black and white and a Human who is calm, sensible and logical. Both struggle for control and often the Chimp wins and make us do things in sport and everyday life that we might regret. The Chimp and the Human program the third part of our brain which is the Computer. In other words the part that allows us (amongst other things) to ride a bike, drive a car, and behave in a reasonable manner towards our fellow humans.

Using the concepts and ideas in the book, one can learn how to manage the Chimp to get the best out of sport, work and life. It also teaches us how to recognize and work around other people's Chimps.

I found this book gave me a great insight into the way I used to react to sporting, work and general life situations. It alerted me to the existence of my Chimp and gave me some tools to manage it.

The book is an excellent tool for planning sporting objectives.

Don't expect this book to give you the answers to life's problems but it will certainly give you the tools to help you deal with them.

Highly recommended
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82 of 99 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tried hard to like it, 28 Dec 2011
A. Reader (London, England) - See all my reviews
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2/6/2012 I started listening to the audio version while driving, and my overall conclusion is this: Dr Peters's has a lot of experience in dealing with sports people and prison inmates; what they tend to have in common is youth and elevated testosterone and, arguably, a preference for action over thought. This is a book, presented in simple terms, which focuses on subduing your unhelpful instincts with reason, and so might be a lot of use to people falling into those rough categories. Had Dr Peters worked with geriatric vole-fanciers, he'd probably have written a very different book. So for me, (though not a geriatric vole-fancier), it's not very useful. For you it may be. Have a look at a few of the preview pages and that will probably help you more than any review in making your decision.

18/2/2012 I have decided to re-write this review completely but leave my original review and the update in place.

I wrote the very first review of this book on the Amazon site, having pre-ordered the book before publication and not knowing what to expect. Enough time has passed that I can see this book in context, which I was unable to do before. It is, as it claims to be, a mind management model. The real strength of this system, as I see it, is in real-time emotional management; when an unwanted emotion comes up, you have the opportunity to regard it at the time as an invitation which can be refused, rather than a command which must be obeyed. Most other systems require you to deal with your emotions after the fact.

I would agree with the other reviewers that Dr Peters has done an excellent job in cramming various aspects of human experience and brain functioning into his chimp model. Having read the book once in a few hours and got nothing from it, I have gone over it again with a pen in my hand and did better.

One of the main difficulties for me is in his choice of metaphors. He has taken a chimpanzee to represent our instinctual/emotional side, and a human to represent our rational side, then he turns to mythology to use gremlins for emotional patterns that can be shifted, and goblins for emotional patterns that are apparently immovable. He swings over to astronomy to represent various areas of life as planets, with moons around them to stabilise them, and then perhaps to religion with the Stone of Life (a kind of Ten Commandments containing our values and beliefs), and then to technology and information systems with an Autopilot and a Computer.

For me this is horribly confusing and slows everything down much more than if he'd just stated everything literally. I don't really have any argument with the content, just the presentation of it. Clearly, for other people this may not be an issue at all. Have a look at the sample pages and decide for yourself.

I have also purchased the audio version of the book (even though I dislike Audible and their restricted book formats) and actually find that easier going, and would give it 4 stars. Dr Peters has a good voice and having him reading it makes it impossible to skim over the bits where my eyes would glaze over from reading the words Chimp and Human over and over again.

I would suggest that it's also worth a look at 'Maximum Willpower' by Kelly McGonnigal, which is actually largely to do with the care and feeding of the Human, or else 'Willpower' by Roy Baumeister, who did much of the original research in examining willpower: when we are tired or hungry or otherwise out of balance our rational side tends to disappear.


I have to say I was disappointed by this book. People like Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Dave Brailsford of the extremely successful British cycling team rate the author very highly and the first two go so far as to say that they wouldn't have won their gold medals without him. Brailsford even calls him a genius.

Well and good; however, the book itself is a model of the human condition. A highly qualified psychiatrist takes various aspects of neurology and translates them into a simplified model of human existence, stating that we have a human, chimp and computer inside us, the chimp corresponding to the emotional part of us which is geared towards self-preservation, the human being the rational part, and the computer corresponding to memory and what he calls autopilot. Our problem is to manage the chimp as we cannot defeat it. This is conflated with analogies of planets and moons (have a look at the chapter headings). In a nutshell: we must use reason to outsmart and control passion, in order to achieve our aims and make life bearable.

As I read the over 300 pages, I kept waiting for the punchline, the flash of insight that would make this all fall into place. What I finally realised was that it is just a model with a few simple recommendations as to how to do this. Perhaps with individual attention from the author this translates into an incisive analysis for elite sportspeople which enables them to perform at their very best and control their demons; for me it became irritating having to keep all the stuff about chimps and moons in my head, without being particularly useful. I don't have an inner chimp which is separate from my 'human'. I have emotions and a rational side, and there are strong connections between them (cerebral cortex and limbic system) in the brain. Emotions can be very well managed with techniques like EFT and PSTEC for those who have the determination to do so, and I would recommend either of those techniques over any solutions mentioned in the book, given the choice.

A much more practical guide for most people would be '10 Minute Toughness' by Jason Selk. I've just seen that he's written another book called 'Executive Toughness' for business people and general use rather than sportspeople; no doubt the principles are the same and it's probably well worth reading.

In short, if you've never done any self-development whatsoever, The Chimp Paradox might conceivably be useful, and others might get more out of this book than I did. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt and have awarded it a massive 3 stars, although my disappointed inner chimp would like to give it 1 star. Oops, there I go, maybe I do have an inner chimp after all! And if you're fond of chimps, and seeing the word chimp several times on every chimping page might excite your very own inner chimp, then take your chimp money and buy this chimp book immediately. You'll be chimpingly glad you did.

UPDATE 28/1/2012 I was so annoyed with this book that I left it at a relative's, and then brought it back again a few weeks ago, as I was trying to understand how I got so little out of it. Seeing a comment on my review last night, I came back to this page to find that 5-star reviews had sprung up around it like a troop of baby chimps, some of them written by very big and successful baboons indeed.

This morning, I took another look at the book and realised that perhaps I'd read it too quickly. I had been expecting some explicit techniques and that is not really what the book is about. It is more a set of principles to be applied across a vast swathe of areas of life. One of them jumped out at me, which was about doing your best rather than trying to win. In other words, 'control the controllables', the things you can control, which is a mantra of sports psychology and a useful principle in life in general. The problem for me is that, although Peters has created this parallel chimpiverse in order to simplify human existence into manageable form, I need to translate it back into terms which mean something to me in order to make it useable. Your experience may be different.

A slightly wicked part of me suspected that this book was produced just before the 2012 Olympics in order to mislead foreign cycling teams into passing around bananas and picking fleas off each other in a mistaken attempt to improve their performances. Having said that, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the chimp metaphor had spread like wildfire throughout the cycling world, what with hooting chimp bike horns, furry chimp toestraps and banana-shaped bicycle pumps.

Anyway, I'm going to keep this book at 3 stars, not because of the content, which presumably works, but because of the presentation, which makes reading it a bit like wading through a book in a foreign language which I don't understand very well. As a handbook and clarification for people who have already had the system presented to them and have adopted it wholesale, no doubt it's excellent (possibly the real reason for the publication date). I've decided to try to read it again and see if I can get any more out of it, which is only fair. I would, however, be interested to know whether others have shared my confusion and had the occasional desire to hurl it at the wall.

The new Jason Selk book is indeed superb for the general public, incidentally, and to that I would add The Winners Bible by Kerry Spackman.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple but elegant, 9 May 2012
Dilettante (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is not the most sophisticated of self help books, and I've heard a pretty awful review on Radio 4. However. It is very, very clear about self-sabotage and how to avoid it. The very memorable imagery that Dr Peters uses is strong enough to be accessible even when you're at your most vulnerable to negative emotions and blasts from the past. This is clearly not for everyone, but if you suffer from strong emotional reactions to daily trials and tribulations (and pat phrases like these!) then it's worth a try, promise.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey of enlightenment, 1 Feb 2012
After many years of internet purchases I have a guilty confession of having never posted a product review. Yet here, purely in the hope that others can find as much use from this book as I have, I am compelled to offer this book a 5 star review.

The Chimp Paradox offers an entertaining, practical and telling insight into human functioning. For me, it truly has provided the `light bulb' moment (of which there were many on my journey through the Psychological Universe!) of my life.

Key review points:
- I found the book easy to read (for the Dyslexics amongst us!) and the format lent itself nicely to an impactful flow throughout
- I found the exercises simple yet so powerful!
- I greatly gained from the concept of the Universe by being able to relate to each planet as it represented the different
areas of my life. Further, I believe this will be a great advantage should I wish to revisit these areas in my continued
personal development.

At times I was surprised not to read more anecdotes from Peters' life in sport. Yet on completion I believe that the absence of `reflective glory' in the text is a true reflection of its value in ALL domains of life. This is not a book `only' for elite sportsmen; it is a book for me and you. I truly recommend it as a must read.

With eagerness to digest the whole text again I have now purchased the audiobook as well! Less than 20 pounds total for a book and audio that I have changed the way I will run the rest of my life is - quite undoubtedly - the greatest value purchase(s) of my life.

If all of my future acquisitions are this good then I expect to be spending a lot more time at this keyboard offering equally supportive reviews :)

R. J. Anderson
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing extraordinary, 14 Aug 2012
The book presents no new ideas or facts. Basically, it says we have a rational and an emotional side. The tips to control this second side are well known. Furthermore, it is quite lenghty (unnecessarily). I think there is too much advertisement about this book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Chimp Paradox: A useful tool through which to view yourself and your actions, 18 Jan 2012
As the majority of others have said, this book is very accessible and can have an instant positive impact on the way you view yourself and your life. Dr Peters provides a model through which you can better understand your thoughts, feelings and reactions and those of the people around you. With this improved self awareness you can start to take steps to counteract the "negatives" that prey on your mind and hold you back.

Although Dr Peters has used the concepts to support sports professionals, I would also strongly recommend this model for use by Human Resource / Training Professionals as a means of developing interpersonal skills and personal effectiveness at all management levels in their organisations.
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