I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Review: Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior
by Leonard Mlodinow
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

Leonard Mlodinow, the best-selling author of The Drunkard’s Walk and coauthor of The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking), gives us a startling and eye-opening examination of how the unconscious mind shapes our experience of the world and how, for instance, we often misperceive our relationships with family, friends, and business associates, misunderstand the reasons for our investment decisions, and misremember important events.

Your preference in politicians, the amount you tip your waiter—all judgments and perceptions reflect the workings of our mind on two levels: the conscious, of which we are aware, and the unconscious, which is hidden from us. The latter has long been the subject of speculation, but over the past two decades researchers have developed remarkable new tools for probing the hidden, or subliminal, workings of the mind. The result of this explosion of research is a new science of the unconscious and a sea change in our understanding of how the subliminal mind affects the way we live.

Employing his trademark wit and lucid, accessible explanations of the most obscure scientific subjects, Leonard Mlodinow takes us on a tour of this research, unraveling the complexities of the subliminal self and increasing our understanding of how the human mind works and how we interact with friends, strangers, spouses, and coworkers. In the process he changes our view of ourselves and the world around us.


The workings of the human mind is fascinating to me, so when I heard about this book, I had to pick it up right away.  And not just because of the words that are hidden in the book cover, haha.  For a book that promises a lot of science and facts, I found this to be such a readable and entertaining book.  The author presents the information, with facts and anecdotes very clearly and with just the right balance.  And I learned so much reading this.

It is truly fascinating how our mind works, and how many errors and shortcuts that occur in the way we think.  The author goes through those different aspects, and how susceptible we are to how we perceive the world, until it's hard to know what we can even trust.  But I like that there is the idea that if we know our failings, we can avoid them (also this has been shown in experiments as mentioned in the book), so for that I feel like this is an important read.  People should be aware of how and why they can make mistakes in how they think.

The fact that this book delves into an aspect of psychology that is relatively new, was eye-opening as well. It presents some history on how we used to think the mind, our memory, our hopes and fears came to be, and then shows how it makes more sense that so much of our mind operates on an unconscious level and what that means.  And also how we know that it happens.  This book does go more into the science as opposed to mind tricks (although there are some cool examples of how are minds are not reliable that you can show to your friends!), and I really appreciated how much research went into this book.

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, and when I do, it usually takes me some time to read, but this was a breeze to get through.  The writing is engaging and it's almost effortless to take in all the information.  This was a wonderful book!

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