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on 15 September 2014
There's something of a catch-22 going on here, as if I say this book is rubbish and wrong, I am proving it right!
Fortunately, I didn't think that, and instead found the whole thing to be eminently enlightening, approachable and understandable, and with a nice touch of wry humour throughout.
After reading it I'm not sure whether to give up totally, do everything I want to do and then blame how my brain functions, or to try and understand the nature of my brain and work with it. Perhaps the real answer will be a bit of each.
A great book, interesting and entertaining, and everyone should read it. Particularly those who don't agree with me!
3 people found this helpful
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 8 September 2007
This is an excellent book. Cordelia Fine gathers together the results of a wide variety of psychology experiments and uses them to gather together a convincing explanation of how our subconsciouses are the real masters of our mind, no matter what we think.

The book starts off a little too 'chatty' but as well as more jokey considerations such as the problems many of us have trying to tell our brains to switch off when our bodies want to go to sleep, there is some serious cause for thought here- such as the research about how our own mood has been proven to affect which moods we perceive on other people's faces, and then particularly in the chapter "The Bigoted Brain" that gives examples of how subtly influenced and 'primed' we may be by images we see of the opposite sex, or people of other skin colours to our own. It is a thought-provoking book, you should read it and feel a little bit ashamed for having a brain at all...

The book is extremely readable, thanks to a very balanced writing style and also by the way in which the more dry scientific information is all relegated into the Notes And References section at the back of the book- meaning that you can read the main text without being troubled by too many obscure names of scientists or processes, or you can read every reference to get a more information-heavy read-through.

Highly recommended.
21 people found this helpful
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on 17 January 2014
as I said Education and amusement in one session is hard to achieve but Cordelia FIne has achieved it. There is some heavyweight factual and technical stuff in this book but it is very well balanced with a 'sensible, light hearted approach' . If you are wanting a mega- scientific book then look elsewhere but if you want a casual observance of science that can still relate to your own real life hum-drum then this is for you. Cleverly, Ms Fine keeps all the heavy science stuff as appendices to each chapter so if you want to look further you can. A very nice format that is easy to read and informative and not patronising to the everyday reader. Well done!
One person found this helpful
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on 8 December 2017
She's an excellent writer and funny too. Intelligent. I was surprised to find out how little control we had over ourselves. And read her other books too.
2 people found this helpful
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on 26 January 2014
I enjoyed reading this book and was surprised by the results of the experiments that were tried on students, fascinating findings. The only problem I found was that as a layman I had to read some of the pages over again as I lost track of what I was reading, I have now started to read a different book and I will go back to this one later. I think ideally the book should be reread in order to appreciate it properly, having said that, I enjoyed the book.
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on 1 June 2014
Cordelia Fine does a fine job of giving an overview of how perceptions and pre-conceptions shape the way we understand the world and therefore our own behaviour. I would have liked a little more in-depth discussion of various research she quotes as she tends to skim over methodology, results and conclusions (although each chapter has a fine and detailed bibliography) but this is a decent overview and well worth a read.
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on 17 December 2017
I found that I could really relate to many of the anecdotes in the book and found myself reflecting on the way I think.
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on 5 November 2014
Really easy read book, and keeps you wanting to read more.

Explains a lot in this book, and I found myself thinking back to times when I've noticed someone do something, and then thought "aaahhh that's why they were doing that".

Would definitely recommend this book to anyone that's slightly interested in psychology.
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on 15 May 2018
Cordelia Fine writes about complex things in a highly readable fashion and if you're at all interested in the brain and how it works this is worthwhile.
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on 23 December 2014
Absolutely fascinating and an easy read. It really makes one think of the function and marvel of the brain. It can be picked up and put down without losing track which makes it a good book to read whilst waiting for appointments.
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