Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Physicist, science writer and Hollywood screenwriter Leonard Mlodinow is out to explore how important the unconscious is in shaping the way we process the world." NewScientist.com
"Leonard Mlodinow writes in a breezy style, interspersing probabilistic mind-benders with portraits of theorists....The result is a readable crash course in randomness."The New York Times Book Review
"Think you know the whys and hows of your choices? Follow Mlodinow on a gorgeous journey that will make you think again." David Eagleman, author of Incognito
"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, professor of psychology, University of Illinois, and coauthor of The Invisible Gorilla
"Magnificent....Challenges everything we think we know about how the world works. The probability is high that you will be entertained and enlightened by this intelligent charmer." Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
"A must-read book that is both provocative and hugely entertaining. Mlodinow provides many eye-opening insights into the ways we act in business, finance, politics, and our personal lives." Jerry A. Webman, chief economist, OppenheimerFunds, Inc., and author of MoneyShift
From the best-selling author of The Drunkard's Walk
and coauthor of The Grand Design
(with Stephen Hawking) and War of the Worldviews
(with Deepak Chopra) comes a fascinating, illuminating examination of the profound ways in which the unconscious mind shapes our lives.
Every aspect of our mental lives plays out in two versions: one conscious, which we are constantly aware of, and the other unconscious, which remains hidden from us. Over the past two decades researchers have developed remarkable new tools for probing the unconscious, or subliminal, workings of the mind. This explosion of research has led to a sea change in our understanding of how the mind affects the way we live. As a result, scientists are becoming increasingly convinced that how we experience the world--our perception, behavior, memory, and social judgment — is largely driven by the mind's subliminal processes and not by the conscious ones, as we have long believed. Employing his trademark lucid, accessible explanations of the most obscure scientific subjects, Leonard Mlodinow unravels the complexities of the subliminal mind and reveals its influence on how we act with friends and strangers, spouses and coworkers. Like The Drunkard's Walk, Subliminal will increase our understanding of how the human mind works, and will change our view of ourselves, of the world around us, and of how we interact with that world.
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 three New York Times best sellers: War of the Worldviews (with Deepak Chopra), The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking), and The Drunkard’s Walk (also a New York Times Notable Book), as well as Feynman’s Rainbow and Euclid's Window. He also wrote for the television series MacGyver and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Table of Contents
PART I: The Two-tiered Brain
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 broken heart
Part II: The Social Unconscious
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 categorize things and stereotype people... what Lincoln, Gandhi, 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 large boulders has the same effect as a flirtatious smile and a black silk nightgown
10. Self: How our ego defends its honor... why schedules are overly optimistic and failed CEOs feel they deserve golden parachutes