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The Sense of Being Stared At: And Other Unexplained Powers of the Human Mind

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  311 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Most of us know it well--the almost physical sensation that we are the object of someone’s attention. Is the feeling all in our heads? What about related phenomena, such as telepathy and premonitions? Are they merely subjective beliefs? In The Sense of Being Stared At, renowned biologist Rupert Sheldrake explores the intricacies of the mind and discovers that our perceptiv ...more
Paperback, 369 pages
Published July 20th 2011 by Random House (first published March 4th 2003)
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Mar 07, 2008 Kathrynn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in human development or training animals
Recommended to Kathrynn by: Schenck-A-Roo
Wonderful book. There are 4 parts:
Part 1: Telepathy
Part 2: The Power of Attention
Part 3: Remote Viewing and Foreshadowings of the Future
Part 4: How does the 7th Sense Work?

The book begins by explaining how the "Sixth Sense" has already been claimed by biologists working on the electrical and magnetic senses of animals. Eels use electrical fields to sense objects around them, sharks and rays use similar fields to hunt, migratory birds and fish have a magnetic senses (biological compass), snakes
Jan 27, 2016 Spencer rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
If you write a book about the afterlife or psychic abilities or anything considered "suspect" by a majority of scientists, you have to walk a narrow line. Either you end up being too scientific and overly dry or you write a nice piece of light reading that's mostly fluff. Sheldrake fails all around. The science is lousy and it's the most boring book you could ever read about telepathy. It's basically "I asked 50 people if they had ever felt like someone was looking at them from behind and 35 of ...more
This was the first time I've read this kind of formatted book and I really enjoyed it. It's all about the sixth sense and some of the stories and theories are really interesting. There were interesting stories about peoples senses and connections with their pets and family members.
The book is split into four parts Telepathy, The Power of Attention, Remote Viewing and Foreshadowings of the Future and How does the 7th Sense Work? Some parts of the stories dragged on a little bit and didn't appeal
Mar 24, 2016 Justin rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
I am plagued by a fear of death. I am also very jaded/skeptical.
As such I read many books like this and very much want to believe what they say, but write off much of it due to cognitive biases of the reporters.

This book is one of the more critical books on this topic.
It is not perfect and sometimes accepts things that I'd write off (like how dreaming about snow in NYC just prior to 911 means that the dreamer predicted the attack).
This also rehashes similar experiences contained in other books.
Dec 10, 2007 Kimberly marked it as i-give-up  ·  review of another edition
Example upon example of people being able to detect and communicate without speaking with brothers, sisters, loved ones far away, dogs, cats, etc. That's great, I know it happens. That's why I picked this book up at the library. But I really wanted to know why it happens, that is, if anyone could figure that out. I gave up on this before I had any answers...
Jan 28, 2017 Katie rated it it was ok
While this book had promising sections, overall it was simply dull and unable to draw me in. Throughout the book the author would introduce interesting themes and then spiral off on a tangent that seemed completely unrelated, repeating earlier facts that made reading through it more of a task than a joy.
Dec 26, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fictrion, 2016
Sep 01, 2010 Bruce rated it really liked it
This Sheldrake book differs from New Science of Life and Presence of the Past in that it is less technical and more accessible. But I did not like it as much.

I am already familiar with the extensive (but poorly publicized) rigorously scientific evidence for extrasensory perception, so the very readable but lengthy description of psychic phenomena was a bit boring for me. In addition, I don’t agree with Sheldrake’s view of consciousness.

One notable new tidbit for me—since the 1970’s the Chinese g
Dec 29, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
This is my 1st exposure to Sheldrake, thoroughly enjoyed it. Really like his attitude that anything is possible until experimentally proven otherwise.

After reading his numerous rigourous studies of the power of the extended mind in both Humans and Animals, you can't help but feel that these extended powers are all real, prevalent and a normal capability of our own existence. I could certainly corroborate many of his cases from my own experiences.

Some theories I am leaning towards after reading
Apr 13, 2014 Anton rated it really liked it

Rupert Sheldrake has a fascinating Website. Just Google Rupert Sheldrake. ...I like his name by the way. Sheldrake is the name of a duck popular with hunters in the Northeast, where I'm from. I also like the subject. Of course, I would take offense at being called a wacko believer in telepathy. I don't believe in it, I just find it possible. I Believe, in another topic covered in the book, precognition. I experience that all the time, in this way. I'll dream about something, like a small dog, or
Sep 20, 2008 Cathy rated it really liked it
I like books that have a lot of stories to go along with their theories and I think that's why I enjoyed this book so much. Stories of mothers who knew when their children were in danger some distance away, dogs who know when their owners are coming home, the psychic parrot, this book kinda covers a lot of phenomona. Since I was already a believer, I didn't have to sit and wonder if any of it was true. I've always meant to pick up more by this author as he writes on similar subjects.
Nov 10, 2011 Brett rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library, kindle
The theories Dr. Sheldrake puts forward are interesting, and carry credibility thanks to the fine line he walks between open-mindedness and skepticism. He does a good job of discussing explanations other than his "seventh sight" as he calls it.

I felt however that the book was a bit too long. Too rambling. It could have done with some editing to tighten it up. Possibly paring down the anecdotes that, while interesting, began to run together after a while.
Sep 10, 2015 Francois rated it really liked it
Lots of statistics at first and obviously can't prove anything scientifically. But does a great job at conducting surveys and reviewing studies (recent and 100+ years old). The second part of the book gets more philosophical, and his perspective (biology) was enlightening for me. So I didn't think I'd get through it at first and skipped many paragraphs, but glad I stuck to it until the end.
Steve Wiggins
Aug 03, 2013 Steve Wiggins rated it it was amazing
It takes a brave scientist to consider the implications of what we feel rather than what we reason. Worth the time and effort, this book really makes you think. See more about it here: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World.
Jan 19, 2016 Stacy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A big dissappointment - it read too much like a textbook - not fun for recreational reading. I found it repetative, especially the way the author kept pitching his other books. It make me wonder why I was bothering with this one, when he so often referred to the others.
Jun 17, 2012 Brandon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, nonfiction, science
Fascinating, plain and simple. His ideas about morphic fields I find sensible and at least worth exploring. The science seems mostly valid, and I even found myself doing some of his experiments with my dog. Seemed to work sometimes, but I wasn't consistent with it, so who knows.
Jan 07, 2008 Jamie rated it liked it
This was a fascinating book and a different portrayal of associations of psychology. The chapters were a little choppy and some were dry but if you are interested in unexplained happenings, it’s a fun one.
Sep 13, 2012 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book didn't get interesting until near the ending. The first three quarters are mostly antedotes. I like Rupert Sheldrake and his research, but the book was easily put-downable, hence the reason it took so long to read.
May 07, 2008 Joelle rated it liked it
I saw this book at the store, bought and read it. It was an interesting read because of the various phenomenons that we all experience.
Apr 14, 2008 Patrick\ rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Sheldrake brings up real phenomena ignored by real science in challenging ways. Not to be ignored, and, because of Sheldrake, is not. Good read.
Mar 25, 2007 elita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not something you can read through from beginning to end, but lots of interesting anecdotes. I liked the sections about the psychic connections between pets and their owners the best.
Nov 10, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it
Sheldrake falls on the Believer side of the divide, but this is a stimulating read. The premise: You can feel eyes on the back of your neck... action at a distance?
Mar 26, 2011 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I remember reading this in high school. Parts of it I found amazing, but later parts seemed downright quackish. It would be interesting to see what I think of it now.
Feb 21, 2008 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
telepathy isn't all that strange. "i was just thinking of you right before you called..."
animals can also read our minds sometimes, especially parrots.
Factual book - interesting but a lot of repetition. About the "extended mind" fields that could explain telepathy etc.
Daniel Noventa
Aug 09, 2011 Daniel Noventa rated it liked it
It was well written, but didn't have a lot of scientific backing. Mostly feeding off of our skepticism. It does make a good attempt at explaining some phenomenons.
Patricia Taylor
Patricia Taylor rated it really liked it
Jul 17, 2014
Chad rated it liked it
Apr 16, 2012
Jeff Neckonoff
Jeff Neckonoff rated it it was amazing
Jul 30, 2014
Rumeysa rated it it was amazing
Oct 01, 2012
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Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than 80 scientific papers and ten books. A former Research Fellow of the Royal Society, he studied natural sciences at Cambridge University, where he was a Scholar of Clare College, took a double first class honours degree and was awarded the University Botany Prize. He then studied philosophy and history of science at Harvard University, where he ...more
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