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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 15 May 2017
If you suffer from insomnia then I assure you that this may just help. Extremely disappointed with what was clearly an "impulsive purchase" on my part. This is definitely a highly overrated book for an incredibly boring story. Take the word of an economist, as we are the most boring of individuals.
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on 15 July 2013
"IMPULSE" by David Lewis (Random House, 2013)

This is an intriguing book. Basically its aim is to explain why so many of our actions are driven by unconscious impulse, so that we are often completely unaware of the reason for our behaviour. In the past a book with this kind of remit would have merely trotted out some rather tired version of Freudian theory, but David Lewis takes a commendably scientific approach. In fact his book is almost entirely based on research studies, including recent work on mirror neurons, frontal lobe function, and subliminal perception. And all of this is tied together with research findings about impulsive behaviour in real-life, such as impulsive purchases, overeating, and sexual responses.
As I spent my entire career working as an academic psychologist, I was already familiar with many of these research studies. However, because they are drawn from such disparate areas of psychology and neuropsychology, I have never seen them all in one place before. These are areas of study which have never really met up with one another until now, but David Lewis has succeeded in drawing together these apparently separate areas of research and finding the underlying principles and mechanisms which connect them. The result is something greater than the sum of its parts, and I do think that even seasoned academics and researchers can learn something useful from this thoughtful act of integration. But this book is also highly accessible to non-psychologists, who I assume will make up its main audience. Everything is explained in a clear and highly engaging manner, so that any reasonably intelligent person will easily be able to follow the arguments and the evidence. This book is a fascinating read and would be a good choice for reading on the beach this summer. But although it is a fun book I think there is a strong possibility that the reader will end up learning something new about other people and even about themselves.

David Groome
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on 22 May 2013
The rigorous science in this book is expressed in an easy-to-read style, and the real-life examples used to illustrate the points made are fascinating. The writing is interesting and accessible without being in any way patronising. It was amazing and a little scary to find out how much of what we do is actually done without our coscious thought and how much of our sensory input never registers with our conscious mind. I learned a lot from reading this book, yet it was so interesting that I didn't realise that I was learning.
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on 5 June 2013
This book is an excellent, easy to read introduction into cognitive neuroscience and human motivation. From love impulses to overeating behavior, each chapter seems thoroughly researched and provides critical insight into the most important aspects of human behavior. For those who are curious about cognitive neuroscience, or just the human condition in general, this book is an excellent way to gain more knowledge on this important area of science.'
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on 8 July 2013
This is a remarkable book. Dr Lewis has distilled the last 100 years of psychological research into an easily read and understood work. All the impulses that regulated our behaviour, protected us from danger, helped us to find a mate, or to survive without food are still there. They are so much part of us that we do not recognise their silent influence. The instincts that control the lives of animals serve to control us too. Dr Lewis proves this time and again, but you will soon find that you can prove it to yourself; tempting supermarket displays or opportunities to get rich through spread betting are not aimed at your rational mind or your ability to judge value. We all need to understand how our instincts and impulses can be played on.
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on 21 May 2013
This is truly a remarkable book. Anybody who's interested in mind body problems should certainly buy it. It is counter intuitive to think that most of our mental activity actually happens below the level of consciousness. Most, if not all, of the important decisions we make in our life happen backstage. Dr Lewis goes on to explain two types of thinking. The first he calls impulsive thinking and the second reflective thinking.In the book he explains how his long-standing professional interest in the psychology of impulsivity changed his life and how it can change our lives.

Apart from being a scholarly introduction to this very difficult subject, he has the knack of explaining to the reader, in easily understandable language, the unconscious neurological processes which underpins every aspect of our lives.One only has to read the notes, references, and bibliography at the back of the book to see how much care and work he has put in whilst writing this book.

I commend this book unreservedly to both lay and professional readers who wish to further there knowledge in this important field.
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on 21 May 2013
I found this book a facinating read. It was very informative, interesting and makes one think of our own impulses and what they may mean. It also has a touch of humour as well. I think it has been tailored for anyone to enjoy. I particularly enjoyed the questionnaires and visual tests that are included in the book, good fun!
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on 28 December 2014
Great book- clear examples and it really does give you a better insight about impulse. You can use this book to understand your behaviors and you can also use it to understand other people's behaviors. If you have an interest in IMPULSE- then this book is a must have.
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on 28 May 2013
This is really strange I have never written a review before, but after finishing the book I went straight to the review section and started writing!! I found this book fascinating and written in such a way that made it difficult to put down. The self tests are great fun and showed me just how impulsive I am and never knew.
A book everyone should read to understand themselves and their impulses better!
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on 18 October 2016
I find it fascinating to realize how thin is the line between what is and what is not under our control. We can all control our impulses better, once we realize they are not under our control at all.
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