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Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us Paperback – 2 Jan 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (2 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241960541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241960547
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 1.6 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

Mlodinow has written an engaging and insightful ... [he] 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)

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). He also wrote for the television series MacGyver and Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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 breathe, 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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Leonard Mlodinow has the credibility of having worked with Stephen Hawking, and of having written a successful book called The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives. He clearly is able to reference scientific studies in an accessible way and here explores neuroscience - what he calls the 'New Unconscious'. Many of us are aware of the Freudian unconscious, but Mlodinow brings us up to date with what has been learned since then, even though the behaviourist movement and the cognitive and social psychology fields did not address the unconscious as a main field of study. It is neuroscience and the strides made there, partly through brain imaging etc, which has added much to the field in recent years.

He says 'we perceive, we remember our experiences; we make judgements, we act - and in all of those endeavours we are influenced by factors we aren't aware of.' The book presents us with information that is convincing - often we think we are making a rational conscious decision, but it may well be influenced by factors we're not aware of - one example he gives is that whether French or German music is playing in the supermarket was shown to influence people's buying choices, though they were mostly unaware of that.

I thought Mlodinow's chapter headings and subtitles give a good overview of the book, so I've reproduced them here:

1 The New Unconscious
the hidden role of our subliminal selves...what it means when you don't call your mother
2 Senses Plus Mind equals Reality
The two tier system of the brain...how you can see something without knowing it
3 Remembering and Forgetting
How the brain builds memories...
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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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