The Ego Trick: In Search Of The Self
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The Ego Trick: In Search Of The Self

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  222 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Are you still the person who lived fifteen, ten or five years ago? Fifteen, ten or five minutes ago? Can you plan for your retirement if the you of thirty years hence is in some sense a different person? What and who is the real you? Does it remain constant over time and place, or is it something much more fragmented and fluid? Is it known to you, or are you as much a myst...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Granta Books (UK) (first published February 3rd 2011)
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Tulpesh Patel
The Ego Trick* by popular philosopher Juilian Baggini is a highly-readable attempt at describing what makes you, you. Using a blend of anecdote, religious and secular philosophy and smatterings of neuroscience and neurology, he tries to answer questions that have plagued us as soon as we became ‘self’-aware: What is the ‘self’ that we are aware of? Where is it found? What exactly is it made of?

The first half of the book tries to get at what the self is by illuminating what it isn’t. Baggini uses...more
Baggini's defense of the self as an embodied process—the bundle theory—is at once accessible and robust. He builds a compelling case for it utilizing methods that are quite distanced from the pure reasoning and thought experiments often used in academic philosophy. Taking off from "extreme" cases such as major brain trauma, gender dysphoria and social experiments—all which he claims provide more than enough evidence and variety to fill in for any of the classic and all-too-reducible thought expe...more
Aug 02, 2012 David rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone interested in finding out what, if not who, they are.
I read this on my Kindle and when I got to the end unexpectedly early, I actually went "noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" (very quietly, as I was on the tube). I didn't want it to end.

The Ego Trick is absolutely fascinating. Julian has a refreshingly thorough way of presenting ideas and thinking them through, something you don't often get with 'popular science' books.

It might seem like an examination of the true nature of 'self' would be enough for a book, but what delighted me was that Julian the...more
Wow, I really enjoyed this book and was so sorry when it ended. I found myself convinced again by the idea of a bundled fluid self, ever under construction. I loved the way different issues and aspects of the arguments were explored and developed through conversations with real people, as well as a good sample of literature. For me personally, it was exciting to read a book which brought together things I read and explored while I was doing my doctorate - regarding memory, embodiment, multiplici...more
Sep 25, 2012 Kirthi marked it as to-read
Tom Hiddleston recommended this: so I must read it. It sounds very fascinating, and I really do want to read it for more than just that reason!
As I entered my 40s I started thinking seriously about whether I'd figured out yet just who I am and what I really want to do "when I grow up". Am I the same person I was when I was 20? When I was 30? Am I the same person I was yesterday? With a life expectancy of at least another 50 years, is it normal to think about starting a new phase of life?

Wondering if I could possibly be the only person thinking this much on the concept of self in modern society, I saw this book and thought it looked int...more
Slim Khezri
Another great book, interesting topic!!! How “you” are you, really? Character is something we tend to think of as a static, enduring quality, and yet we glorify stories of personal transformation. "The Ego Trick: In Search of the Self" — is an absorbing journey across philosophy, anthropology, sociology, neuroscience, religion and psychology. What are we if not just the body we inhabit? That is the question writer Baggini explores in this fascinating book about the essence of our identity - what...more
Jun 12, 2013 WG rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: brain
Popular philosophy author Baggini provides a short, conversational series of musings on the nature of selfhood and personal identity, drawing on neuroscience, philosophy, and personal interviews to advance his thesis that identity is best understood through a ‘bundle theory,’ according to which there is no ‘pearl’ at the center of the self (Baggini’s favorite image), only a collection of sensations, impressions, and memories subject to constant alteration and revision. While he treads some well-...more
Ellie Harper
I kept having to put this book down to marvel at what Baggini was saying, it was though-provoking on a subject so many brush aside with little interest.

I truly believe this book will help you discover the "you" inside your head (or wherever else you believe you are).
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ben Payne
I found this book interesting but frustrating. It's a great discussion on what makes the "self" and whether there is an intrinsic "me". And the parts that deal directly with this are fascinating reading.

However I found the author also gets distracted a lot and goes off into arguments with other thinkers, religious figures etc, which he can't seem to resist getting bogged down in. I would have prefered a more focussed book about the self without some of the diversions.
Bill Lalonde
Baggini makes an excellent, clear, and comprehensible case for a bundle theory of personhood. Those already devoted to an alternate theory won't find enough to persuade them to change their minds-- too many things are covered to go into that much depth-- but for those still undecided and open-minded, Baggini's case is persuasive indeed.
I was looking for something a bit more abstract and on one specific question I have, and although it came up in a way, this book is more of a whirlwind tour of the available perspectives on 'self' and 'identity'.

Good and emminently readable, just didn't contain anything new to me :P
A really interesting and informative read. However, I agree with the reviewer who said that the author sometimes gets bogged down in theories and details that don't really relate to the topic of identity (a good chunk of the section on Buddhism is an example of this).
Suzie Burrell
This was very readable. Which is a good thing as I will need to re-read more than once in order to fully understand and convey my comprehension.

Well written and very accessible without any academic-speak to hide his own misunderstanding.
Sep 24, 2012 Elise marked it as to-read
Shelves: tom-hiddleston
LOLing at the fact that scores of girls added this to their "to-read" shelf on September 23, the day Tom tweeted about it. Hiddles' army is indeed mighty. :-)

I have just decided to start a "Tom Hiddleston" shelf.
Nov 08, 2012 Subata is currently reading it
"I could imagine myself running ten miles a second, but I could never do it."
Actually, if you think you could never do it, you couldn't possibly imagine it. But moving on.
--Nov' 8th '12
Kelsey Haywood
a very interesting, although sometimes dragging, book about the mind. i found it informative, and the information backed up and expanded my knowledge on psychology.
Jiang Shi
He gave us a lot of examples, which make we have to think by themselves. But the theoretical system of this book is indeed subdue.
Mithu Lucraft
Not sure I would have described this as pop psych, didn't really appeal to a general interest reader
Frank Spencer
This book about self and consciousness, free will, etc. Leaves you with a bit more than most.
Rachel Gerhardt
If you like psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience, you will love this book. It makes you think!
Mohamed Halim El-Gendy
Deconstructing self, soul, memory and matter.
A clear look at the bundle theory of self.
Anthony Pruden
Sep 16, 2011 Anthony Pruden marked it as to-read
New books on my 'to-read' List.
Jun 27, 2013 Steve added it
Amazing and so thought provoking.
Sushmita Rao
One word: Awesome!!
Thao Minh
A fun to read.
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Julian Baggini is a British philosopher and the author of several books about philosophy written for a general audience. He is the author of The Pig that Wants to be Eaten and 99 other thought experiments (2005) and is co-founder and editor of The Philosophers' Magazine. He was awarded his Ph.D. in 1996 from University College London for a thesis on the philosophy of personal identity. In addition...more
More about Julian Baggini...
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