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This book got flooded with 5 star reviews the week it got published, so I bought it. I have to admit however, I was expecting a masterpiece; It isn't that, but I enjoyed it all the same.

Most of the information in this book is better suited in a lecture rather than a book and so I recommend you watch the amazing talk Mladinov gave at Google (its on You Tube). If you enjoyed the lecture then this is what the book is about.

Subliminal is basically a undergraduate psychology text book, but saved by Leonard Mladinov's great sense of humour (there is a joke on every other page). I only wish my college text books were this funny. The research is up to date too, which is useful.

I was frustrated that the other reviewers never mentioned that Mladinov just keeps talking about the data and never gets to his own punch-line (college textbooks never have a punch-line).

There is an outstanding book called The User Illusion, which does get to the punch like. Its getting on in years now and should be a few dollars on Amazon.

I'm still giving subliminal one 5 stars :)
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on 8 July 2017
Good
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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...why we sometimes remember what never happened
4. The Importance of being Social
the fundamental role of human social character..why Tylenol can mend a broke hear
5 Reading People
How we communicate without speaking...how to know who's the boss by watching her eyes
6 Judging People by Their Covers
What we read into looks, voice, and touch...how to win voters, attract a date, or beguile a female cowbird
7 Sorting People and Things
Why we categorise things and stereotype people..what Lincoln, Ghandi and Che Guevara had in common
8 In-groups and Out-Groups
the dynamics of us and them...the science behind Lord of the Flies
9 Feelings
the nature of emotions...why the prospect of falling hundreds of feet onto boulders has the same effect as a flirtatious smile and a black nightgown
10 Self
How our self defends its honour...why schedules are overly optimistic and failed CEOs feel they deserve golden parachutes

The evidence that Mlodinow presents is compelling and in the final chapter, Self, it is clear how we kid ourselves that the dats support the beliefs and instincts we hold. I think it's important of us all of to be aware of this, so that we don't delude ourselves though Mlodinow argues that positivity is a good reason for some self delusion - 'Our unconscious is at it best when it helps us create a positive and fond sense of self, a feeling of power and control in a world full of powers far greater than the merely human.'
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on 10 June 2013
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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VINE VOICEon 23 January 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When the "unconscious" or "subconscious" mind is mentioned, we tend to think of psychiatrists' couches and the theories of Freud and Jung. This book deals not so much with all that, as the way our brain works to generate much of what we perceive as objective fact - from what we believe we are seeing and hearing, to what we remember - or think we remember. The truth si that our five senses overwhelm our brain with millions of bits of available data from moment to moment, and our brain has to be selective. It fills the gaps (rather like a compressed digital image or music file) with what it expects to be there, based on past experience.

This accounts for phenomena such as Chinese whispers and false memory syndrome, explains much of the unreliability of witness reports and helps tell us why we often have issues navigating our way through vey unfamilar evironments or new siuations, where we have little precedent on which to base our moment-to-moment mental predictions.

The book also looks at the way in which experiences are filed and categorised by our brains; our experience of physical pain, for example, is handled by the brain in much the same way as emotional pain, and responds to the same kinds of chemical remedies - so yes, it is possible that two aspirins might help a little to mend your broken heart.

The above is just an indication of the content of what is a very wide-ranging, but always readable work of popular psychology.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I thought this book would help with my coursework on subliminal messaging. Unfortunately there was very little on this in the book and it is more generally about subliminal phenomena. Therefore it was not very useful to me, but still interesting. For instance I never realised how poor memory really is and that you actually make things up. You'd think people would be able to recall important events such as where you were when the Challenger space shuttle exploded. After three years a quarter of people recalled where there were totally incorrectly. So when people ask where you were when Michael Jackson died perhaps you are fooling yourself!

Mlodinow writes very well and I especially liked the addition of anecdotes from his own life amongst the psychological studies. This made it feel more relatable and not as dry as some other popular psychology books. I think I will be reading more books by him in the future.
Review by Nichola B
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VINE VOICEon 16 September 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Frequently science books can get a little dry, but this little beauty is fascinating from start to finish. Brain scans have given scientists a deep inner view to the working of our brain. For example, did you know that computers can create an image of what you are looking at from studying activity in your brain? The book even gives images of what subjects were looking at, and what computers selected as a representation of what they were looking at!

So these new abilities to view deeply into the workings of the brain has brought up much information The topics about how much we are driven by unconscious urges is sobering - especially when we are so proud of our mental capacities to see, remember and act according to what we think is right. The book shows just how much it's our unconscious processes that act this way and our rational brain has little input at all!

Peppered with pictures to demonstrate what the author is describing and full of mind expanding facts I found this a gripping read and heartily recommend.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am a serial entrepreneur, a University lecturer in Russia, Italy and the USA in Business Economics and International Law and am an international business and peak performance consultant. As such, I have read a plethora of business, motivational, peak performance, coaching, team building psychology type of books over 22 years. In fact I have enough books at home, on these subjects, to sink several ships.

One of the keys to change is to develop "new thinking" patterns, which in turn creates new behaviors and habits...so says Maxwell Maltz in his brilliant book Psycho Cybernetics. This book takes the Maltz theory and looks at how the mind works and suggests how much the mind and thoughts create our world reality. There is a book whose title is perfect for why you should take the content of this book seriously, its called..."What got you here, won't get you there". Old thinking patterns only create more of what you had yesterday. If you want to change the future, then change your thoughts today and your future will be different is the theory behind this book.

Mlodinow puts forward potentially controversial arguments which you may disagree with in terms of mind dynamics and how the sub conscious works. If you are "stuck" in areas of your life and want change, thinking the old way and doing the old things, won't change your life. Personally I agree with a lot of what is written in this book and if the strategy is followed, it should develop a new way of thinking which should break the old conscious and sub conscious habits that got you to where you may not want to be.

The book is clearly written and uses good examples to highlight the authors treatise. I like the book and its content. I have read a lot of books on mind dynamics and I think this is one of the best books I have read on this subject.

Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a part-time hypnotherapist and someone with a fascination with the mind and mind/body connection, I found this book accessible, well argued and very entertaining.

Whilst the book isn't a 'water-shed' in and of itself, it is a worthwhile addition to the library of anyone interested in adding to their understanding of what subconscious programmings are constantly playing their part in our decision-making, life-style choices and consumption.

The interactivity aspect brings you to a point of acknowledgement of how easily we can be influenced!

As I have already said - very entertaining and therefore recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 27 November 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is scientific stuff but very accessible and written in a nice readable way for those of us who aren't that sciency :) a lot of it makes perfect sense when you read it and explains your thought processes and why you react in a certain way to different situations. Also very helpful in a self- improvement way as well, helping you to understand yourself. I thoroughly recommend this book.
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