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Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior
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Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  3,781 ratings  ·  339 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 ou ...more
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Pantheon (first published 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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GodLike
Great book that outlines just how weak human minds are. Or more specifically, how weak the conscious mind really is after all and how overpowering our unconscious is in our everyday lives. We filter the world with our five senses and further reduce that filtered information through evolutionary cognitive biases to construct a mental artificial environment in which we call "reality". Few people ever get to realize this, especially in its entirety. This book is definitely worth reading if you want ...more
John Martindale
Plenty in this book can be found in others, like "Strangers To Ourselves" or "Blink". But yeah, there was some new stuff as well. What he shared on "Blindsight" was fascinating, and yeah, there was other findings in the book that I've found interesting and have been fun to share with others.

Now, Mlodinow was going into our bias, how we won't consider the evidence on the other-side, and how various experiments that have shown practically none of us are objective. For we subconscious throw out wh
...more
Ken Montville
Jul 11, 2012 Ken Montville rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: neuro science, brain function, psychology, subconscious behavior
Usually I love reading books in the genre. I love learning how people make decisions and how our subconscious mind directs our behavior. This book really tries to do a good job of explaining what our subconscious is and how it influences our behavior. Yet, for me it is a little heavy on the science and a little light on the application.

To be fair, the author really tries to intertwine interesting analogies and folksy anecdotes with the science of how life is really a subjective experience. But,
...more
Tony
Marvelous read.
The dynamic of this book, unlike that of ‘Thinking Fast and Slow', is so righteously tuned, keeping the reader thoroughly hooked. I was eating my way through the pages. The author is outright witty and happens to be a theoretical physicist who’s probing a psychological subject – neuroscience to be precise. Basically, a great mash up.

The theory of mind, how it correlates with human behavior and social norms. The impact of our unconscious on everyday life. The biases and judgments w
...more
Carly
**edited 01/27/14
When I first saw this book, I knew I had to read it. Not only is it written by an author I've already had a positive experience with (The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives), but the book had one of the funniest cover designs I've seen all year. In black text on a green background, it says, "Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior." In the spaces in between, in green only slightly lighter than the background, it says, "Psst: Hey There, Yes: You, Se
...more
Clark Hays
Who's driving this thing?

Ever wonder what’s going on in your brain while you are busy strolling around saying funny stuff and thinking big, important things? Turns out, a whole lot. There’s an entire world of unconscious activity hidden just below the surface. If conscious thought is like a speedboat you pilot across the surface of the ocean(cue the Miami Vice theme), unconscious thought is the teeming, chaotic, beautiful mass of rainbow-colored tropical fish, graceful coral reefs, steely-eyed s
...more
Book
Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow

"Subliminal" is the provocative and fascinating look at the unconscious part of our minds. One of my favorite authors and physicists, Leonard Mlodinow, takes the readers on a journey into the science of the unconscious. What a fun and enlightening book this was. Mlodinow is the master of making the difficult accessible and fun for the masses. How are mind works is one of the most interesting subjects and I was thrilled
...more
jeremy
leonard mlodinow's new book, subliminal: how your unconscious mind rules your behavior, is an engaging, stimulating work exploring the relatively young field of social neuroscience. mlodinow, a theoretical physicist (and one time screenwriter for both macgyver and star trek: the next generation), offers an introduction to, and overview of, the current science relating to our understanding of the unconscious and its ever-present role in shaping our daily lives. subliminal considers the two-tier s ...more
Hadrian
Eh. A good overview, especially for the person new to the subject, but I personally was underwhelmed. Don't let it put you off, though. It is a very good introduction to a tricky and mysterious subject.
Jonny99
Maybe you secretly liked or dislike the book more than you think? Mlodinow presents a solid literature review on recent research that all seems to point to the rationale mind holding far less power in the direction of human behavior than we would like to think. This discounting of the power of human thought follows a long series of scientific discoveries taking our self-image from lesser god to higher animal. Galileo demonstrated the sun did not revolve around us. Darwin negated our notions of d ...more
Taede Smedes
Leonard Mlodinow is fysicus en bekend van het boek Het grote ontwerp (Orig: The Grand Design) dat hij samen met Stephen Hawking schreef. Stiekeme signalen gaat niet over natuurkunde, maar over psychologie, of meer bepaald: over sociale psychologie. De Nederlandse titel van het boek is uiterst misleidend, en de ook de waarschuwing op de achterflap (“Waarschuwing: dit boek kan schade toebrengen aan je idee van vrije wil”) is een leuk verkooppraatje, maar verder flauwekul. Want Mlodinow is in dit b ...more
N
Um dos livros mais incríveis que eu já li. Parece que é sempre a mesma história, mas diferente e sempre com alguma novidade interessante nos mostrando como somos mais sugestionáveis do que imaginamos. E ser sugestionável não é exatamente numa relação consciente com outra pessoas, mas justamente inconsciente de ambos.

Esse livro deveria ser uma sabedoria comum de qualquer pessoa, não apenas estar preso a um livro. Portanto, pra qualquer pessoa que entenda que existe e tenha consciência, eu sugiro
...more
Ladiibbug
Non-Fiction

Excellent eye-opening book laying out information discovered by scientists and researchers on our unconscious minds, made possible by the fMRI (Functional magnetic resonance imaging) which emerged in the 1990's.

The fMRI "maps the activity of the brain's different structures by detecting the blood flow that waves and wanes, just slightly, as that activity varies". Scientists can obtain a three dimentional picture of the working brain, inside and out.

The unconscious has been proven not
...more
Linda  Branham Greenwell
This is a great book. I learned a lot - and I loved the examples
The book is an easily understandable look at our unconscious mind and the impact it has on our behaviors and who we are
The science behind the unconscious is a fascinating topic and this book is loaded with a lot of great research on the topic.
I loved his examples of categorical memory and the bear - I will certainly use that example in class to help students understand schema and why our memories are not always accurate :)
I also en
...more
Dave Schey
Mlodinow has a great way of making complex subjects easier to understand and he does it again in this book.
Sarah Clement
I've read quite a few books now about various aspects of our unconscious minds, but this is certainly one of my favourites. Mlodinow really has a way of writing about topics that are at times complex while maintaining levity and clarity. Although many things I had read elsewhere, like in Invisible Gorilla, Mistakes were Made, How We Decide, the Republican Brain, etc. But I still learned quite a bit reading through this book. I certainly enjoyed his discussion of motivated reasoning more than I d ...more
David Dinaburg
“When you come up with an explanation for your feelings and behavior, your brain performs an action that would probably surprise you: it searches your mental database of cultural norms and picks something plausible.”

There is a touch of existential terror when thinking about the brain as physical. When you're not actively engaged in thinking about what is in your head, it feels natural to treat it like a magical repository of all your experiences and leave it at that. Subliminal took me longer
...more
Justin
Another book about brains and neurology and really interesting scientific goodness. At first glance, this book appears to be a pop-science treatise on a hidden subconscious personality driving our decisions; the cover makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to this. However, the book turned out to be a detailed analysis on how our “unconscious mind” really works, and how it fills in the gaps in our conscious thinking and reasoning.

Rather than trying to make a case for a hidden version of ourselves tha
...more
Schmacko
This is one I read for the post-graduate online symposium I am in. Some of the facts are interesting, but I believe I caught the gist of what Mlodinow was saying very early.

Mlodinow shows us how much of our daily operation is not conscious. In fact, by the end of the book, it’s easy to be convinced that almost all of what we say and do is ruled by our unconscious and subconscious minds. We are not logical creatures at all. We are animals whose thin veneer of conscious higher thought masks an ela
...more
Sam Woodward
The last few years have seen numerous books published on the scary extent to which our actions are determined by our subconscious drives, yet few are as charming & accessible as this one. Haidt compares our mind to the relationship between an elephant (the unconscious) & its rider (consciousness) - the rider struggles to steer the elephant but if it decides not to co-operate, there's little he can do except stick around for the ride. Mlodinow emphasises that this contrasts with the Freud ...more
Bo Terkelsen
This book explores the decisions that we make as human beings each day. It's focus is on how the brain works and what makes us act the way we act on a daily basis. Leonard Mlodinow speaks on how your unconscious mind actually has a lot more of an effect on who you are then you think. He explores many different aspects of human behavior such as social interaction and decision making. He gives an insight on what the brain is doing and why in many situations you encounter every day.

As I read the bo
...more
Fausto Betances
Coming in, I was hesitant about this book. It is a grandiose subject and by no means I wanted to invest time reading about this subject to later discover flaws in the research or gaps in the underlying data. I'm glad I conquered those fears.
This book is a serious compilation of respected research done on the inner workings of the mind. While a lot of what it covers is admittedly inconclusive, a common trait in this complex topic, the reader is left with a strong understanding about fundamental o
...more
Toby
Maybe I shouldn't write reviews immediately after putting a book down, but, on the other hand, the fact that this is a book that I feel compelled to share says something for it.

I picked it up on an impulse, laughing at the 'hidden' text on the cover and the not-so-subtle joke. But, of the books I picked up that day, this wasn't the first one I turned my attention to.

What it is, though, is an engaging read and chock-full of anecdotes and experiments that reveal how much our brains automate our ex
...more
Stephanie
First, I want to mention that I won this book from the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway, so thank you.

To be honest, I did not like this book as much as I thought I was going to. It was very difficult to read through it and it took me a lot longer than it usually takes me to read a book. I think it just had to do with my personal preference though. I like to read fiction, and not so much nonfiction books, but I thought that I would have loved this book because I have a very huge interest in psychol
...more
Joel
I guess this book is okay. Many of the studies talked about I had already read about somewhere on the internet, and for whatever reason I was hoping a 200-page pop-psychology book would go deeper. Maybe I was lured in by the subliminal messages on the book cover (I'd say I read this because I enjoyed The Drunkard's Walk, but this book tells me that might just be me trying to reason ex post facto after my subconscious feelings to pick up the book).

The message is that while we don't always conscio
...more
Joyita
Nice book by Mlodinow on the role of the unconscious. The central theme is that our unconscious brain receives and processes a lot of data and selectively passes a small fraction of it to the conscious. This explains our occasional unexplained but often accurate hunches, which our conscious brains find surprising. Lots of interesting scientific anecdotes are scattered through the book. Having read Koch and Sacks, I was familiar with some of the stories. Also I am surprised and mildly shocked tha ...more
Matt
Three and a half stars.

There are a solid seven or eight truly interesting experiments described in this book, and I definitely feel I learned something. But every time the author tried to be funny I wanted to kill him.

Still, Mlodinow presents the material in a straightforward, digestible way that doesn't feel watered down. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in how we make decisions, or why we feel and think what we feel and think, or what's really going on in our heads when we interfa
...more
Kilroy
Bilinçdışımızın aslında hayatımız ve yaptıklarımızı nekadar büyük oranda kontrol ettiğini anlatan ve bilinçdışımız üzerinden kötü niyetli kullanılma ihtimalimizin ürkütücü boyutlarını düşündüren kitap.

Satırbaşları:
Sinemada mısır çalışması: İnsanlar ne kadar yiyeceklerine tat kadar kutunun boyutunu da dikkate alarak "karar verdiler". Kabın büyüklüğünün iki katına çıkarılması halinde, içindeki yiyeceğin tüketiminin yüzde otuz ila kırkbeş oranında arttığı anlaşılmıştır.

Okunması zor karakterlerle ya
...more
Vineeta
The first thing I noticed about Sublimal once I delved into it, was the credentials of the author Leonard Mlodinow. That encouraged me to go on. After all, a theoretical physicist who has co-authored a book with Stephen Hawking could not possibly attempt to lead me astray with holey theories. And I wasn't disappointed. The book talks about a new unconscious, a gentle and intelligent unconscious, quite different from Freud's angry and hallucinatory unconscious. There are tons of case studies that ...more
Arun
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Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist and author.

Mlodinow was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1959, of parents who were both Holocaust survivors. His father, who spent more than a year in the Buchenwald death camp, had been a leader in the Jewish resistance under Nazi rule in his hometown of Częstochowa, Poland. As a child, Mlodinow was interested in both mathematics and chemistry, and while in high schoo
...more
More about Leonard Mlodinow...
The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives Feynman's Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos The Grand Design

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“Research suggests when it comes to understanding our feelings, we humans have an odd mix of low ability and high confidence.” 8 likes
“Says Bargh: „We all hold dear idea that we´re the captain of our own sould, and we´re in charge, and it´s a very scary feeling when we are not. In fact, that´s what psychosis is – the feeling of detachment from reality and that you are not in control, and that´s a very frightening feeling for anyone.” 5 likes
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