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Chimp Paradox: How Our Impulses and Emotions Can Determine Success and Happiness and How We Can Control Them

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Leading consultant psychiatrist Steve Peters knows more than anyone how impulsive behaviour or nagging self-doubt can impact negatively on our professional and personal lives. In this, his first book, Steve shares his phenomenally successful mind-management programme that has been used to help elite athletes and senior managers alike to conquer their fears and operate with greater control, focus and confidence.

346 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2012

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About the author

Steve Peters

8 books140 followers
Professor Steve Peters is a consultant psychiatrist and has worked in the clinical field of psychiatry for over 20 years. He specialises in optimising the functioning of the mind and also holds degrees in mathematics and medicine. Prof Peters is Undergraduate Dean at Sheffield University Medical School and resident psychiatrist with Sky ProCycling. He is also the consultant psychiatrist for Liverpool FC and, from May 2014, for the England football team. Steven Gerrard, Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Victoria Pendleton and Craig Bellamy have all spoken publicly about how Prof Peters' unique model has helped them improve their performance.

Outside of elite sport, Prof Peters works with CEOs, senior executives, students, hospital staff and patients, helping them to understand why they think and act as they do and how to manage their minds to optimise their performance at work and in their personal lives.

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5 stars
7,020 (37%)
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3 stars
3,535 (18%)
2 stars
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503 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,109 reviews
Profile Image for Bernard O'Leary.
306 reviews60 followers
March 3, 2014
This is a great book for those who have never engaged in any kind of self-appraisal whatsoever, especially if you are also unfamiliar with even the most basic elements of psychology. And I mean really, really basic. In The Chimp Paradox, Steve Peters presents his radical theory that there are two parts to the mind: a rational part and a emotional part. Wow. And that the emotional part sometimes interferes with the decision-making ability of the rational part. Hey, slow down brainiac!

And slow down he does. Because this idea is too taxing, he explains it thusly: there is a chimpanzee in your brain that tries to get you to act stupid. "You" being the rational part, because of course the over-emotional chimpanzee is a separate entity that needs to be placated. Oh, and also there's a giant computer in your brain and you and the chimp are constantly fighting for control over it (I assume that the computer is meant to represent the superego, but who even cares at this stage). The computer has gremlins in it which you must remove while trying to battle the chimp. All of this is taking place in space by the way, because you and the chimp and the computer with the gremlins are rocketing through the Psychological Universe (which is actually a solar system with 8 planets).

This would make a fantastic 8-bit platform game, and indeed it is all illustrated with the most bizarrely lousy hand-drawn graphics, which look like the result of 15 minutes work in MS Paint. Sadly it's not an awesome computer game, but is actually a pretty lousy self-help/psychology book. Also, by using the chimp in his metaphor rather than a monkey, his section on impulse control is called "Boxing The Chimp" rather than "Spanking The Monkey". A wasted opportunity, Steve Peters.

Apparently this book formed the basis of a programme that helped Chris Hoy win all of those gold medals. So there you are. Chris Hoy cycles so fast because he's scared that if he doesn't then an evil space-chimp will seize control of his brain-computer. Makes perfect sense.
Profile Image for Khurram.
1,662 reviews6,660 followers
April 28, 2023
Great great book. I am well aware in martial arts and in sport the mental game is paramount. So why would it be any different in life? I had read a number of elite lever athletes who swore by Professor Steve Peters' Chimp model. Which was my main inspiration in getting this book. After waiting ages and finally reading it I truly understand why.

The metaphorical Chimp in the book represents our emotional side, and the areas of brain these emotions are stored. The science is based in facts, but having it explained in this way make it much easier to understand, for non-sicentists or non-doctors, but for people how really want to fully understand the model and actual science behind it keep reading right till the acknowledgments.

The truly great thing about this book is anyone reading it will have experienced all the scenarios in the book at some point on their lives. I know I definitely did. The book even gave me some invaluable advice in dealing with current issues while I was reading it.

All I can day this is a great book, that is easy to understand, relatable, and a fountain of wisdom that can by used to understand myself better. Thus allowing my to make better decisions in life, best career, relationship, work or social and sports. I would recommend this book to everyone.
Profile Image for Will Once.
Author 8 books109 followers
May 3, 2014
This is a Jennifer Lopez of a book - fabulous in many ways but with a big "but".

It's yet another self-help book (groan). Yes, but this one is actually pretty helpful. It is based on some solid science and the author does know what he is talking about.

The main thesis of the book is that our minds are made up of two separate parts - the human and the chimp. The human is rational and intelligent, the chimp is emotional and instinctive. Our problems come when the chimp dominates the human, because the chimp is much more powerful than we are.

This bit of the book is very good. Worth the price of admission all but itself. I read it at a difficult time in my life and it was beyond helpful. It was tantamount to being a life saver. It was almost like that Harry meets Sally moment - yes, yes, yes. And it is not just made up pseudo-science. I have a friend who works as a neuroscience specialist who has confirmed that this is your actual, genuine, pukka, science. Based on research by blokes with big brains, shiny foreheads wearing white coats with pens in their top pockets.

You want to hear about the but, don't you?

After the good stuff about the chimp, the rest of the book didn't work so well for me. It all started to get a bit confusing with "moons of something or other" and "planets of this and that" and a computer. There might have been some useful information in there, but I had trouble keeping track of it all. My eyes glazed over, like that part of the Matrix where the architect is "explaining" everything with words like "ergo" but instead of enlightening me it all made it more confusing.

Maybe it's not you, it's me. It happens sometimes with us older men. The second half of the book didn't do it for me.

It's four stars for the chimp - it would have been five if the book had stopped about half way in. Maybe we should look at this as a five star book with a free two or three star book thrown in as a bonus?
Profile Image for Dragos Pătraru.
51 reviews2,731 followers
May 17, 2020
De asemenea, o carte foarte bună de citit la început de an. Pentru că ne poate organiza mult mai bine. Dar dincolo de asta, cartea lui Peters îți spune despre tine de ce te porți de multe ori ca un idiot. Și o face demonstrându-ți că e normal să pierzi toate bătăliile cu partea emoțională a creierului tău. Pe aceasta o numește Peters cimpanzeu. Ea nu e bună, nu e rea, e un cimpanzeu. Și ne face probleme pentru că este de cinci ori mai puternică decât mintea umană. Așadar, nu îți poți controla cimpanzeul impunându-i reguli, pentru că pur și simplu ești mai slab decât el. Dar îl poți asculta și poți lucra cu el, poți negocia, până când veți ajunge la o înțelegere. Peters te învață cum poți face asta, cum poți păcăli cimpanzeul, de la ieșirile nervoase din trafic, până la renunțarea la fumat sau la alcool. Cimpanzeul poate fi limitat în trei feluri, spune Peters: prin exprimare, prin limitare sau prin recompensă. În funcție de situație, oricare dintre modalitățile de control poate fi folosită cu succes. A treia parte a creierului este computerul, unde veți vrea să stocați cât mai multe informații (educație). Îmi plac și exemplele din sport pe care le oferă autorul, computerul fiind partea minții care acționează automat folosind gânduri și comportamente programate. Iată de ce exercițiul metodic (despre care vorbește Ericsson în Peak) potrivit ne poate face excepționali.
Profile Image for Dean.
256 reviews4 followers
February 2, 2017
Someone at work recommended this to me. They will be making their own tea and coffee in future.

I got to the end of disc 2 before my inner Chimp tried to make me drive me off the road in a vain attempt to end it all. Luckily he failed but once I got home he did make me repeatedly stick a sharp stick in my eye, which to be fair, was more fun than listening to the author babbling on.

Profile Image for Andrea James.
339 reviews37 followers
January 10, 2014
Most of the criticisms of the book seem to be that it is overly simplistic. It definitely pares down neuroscience and psychology concepts to a very simplistic model. However, I think be keeping it simple it might achieve its aims of getting people to change their behaviour. So maybe it's debatable whether it is "overly" simplistic or not.

I know a lot of people - I used to be (still sometimes am) one of those people - who would amass a ton of information and because the world is complex and understanding our minds is a difficult task, and then not take any action at all because there is conflicting information and its better to get a deeper grasp before jumping into shallow conclusions.

This is terribly noble but also means that we are stuck in a rut while other people worry less about the simplicity of a model, apply the lessons and win gold medals. Of course, I'm aware that statement is in itself ridiculously simplistic. But life has been better since I've tested and implemented ideas instead of just criticizing books for being lightweight. That said, I also do believe there is value is finding the book/person that connects with you as that tends to bring about more change.

So all in all, I would say, given that this is a really easy book to read and doesn't take much time at all, it's worth the small investment of time in the off chance that it inspires some positive change in behaviour.
Profile Image for MihaElla .
227 reviews359 followers
August 17, 2023
Fun read! To tears. I don't remember when I have been laughing out so loud while reading a book. And beware, it's not a jokes book!

Well, if we are truthful to ourselves it comes to a basic conclusion: human mind is nothing but a monkey or a Chimp, as very nicely described in this book. And sadly, humans have not changed much. Even our famous-fellow Charles Darwin says that man has evolved only on the surface, deep down man is as restless as other monkeys. It might be a big piece of truth.

Anyways, and this is thanks to my Chimp taking a very short break, I acknowledge I am unable to write a review. I guess I will be able to do it once my inner Chimp utterly disappears. According to this book I will never reach that perfect stage of my human mind unless I get to tame my Chimp! Oh, nonetheless a fun read :)
Profile Image for Conor.
74 reviews30 followers
January 11, 2016
Having had this book recommended to me by multiple people, I went in with high expectations. Even taking this into consideration, I found myself underwhelmed. The science behind it seemed basic, the writing style was pretty painful, and I was not impressed with the applicable lessons.

To summarise the premise: Peters proposes the model that the average person's actions are a result of the struggle between the Chimp and the Human portions of the brain, representing base and considered actions respectively. This notion will not be ground-breaking to anyone who has reacted poorly when their pride has been hurt, or when they have felt threatened or embarrassed. So far, so simple. Peters then continues to explain how to neutralise the input of the Chimp, to allow the Human to make better decisions. Much of his advice is the same as you might give to an angry child: take a deep breath, and think before you act.

His brain model then becomes increasingly complicated, expanding on topics such as the importance of your Troop (friends & family), Environment and Connection (how to communicate effectively). Nothing particularly novel arises from this. The reader is offered some rudimentary guidelines, for instance, in how approaching a difficult conversation, or advised against relying on the one person for emotional support.

Ultimately, Peters doesn't cover anything that anyone couldn't discover themselves with some self-reflection. Perhaps the model and guidelines could be of use to someone who allows their inner Chimp to take control too often - the fact that Ronnie O'Sullivan is quoted on the cover is instructive in this regard.

Although I don't have enough knowledge of the genre to give a specific title, I would be confident there are far more useful books in this area.
33 reviews
April 2, 2019
I found this 'acclaimed mind management programme' quite patronising and VASTLY generalised. It made me worried that people with mental health issues such as anxiety or PTSD related symptoms would read this book as some sort of way of coping rather than seeking actual medical support. This book seemed to promote unhealthy ideas of confidence and completely ignored the contexts which shape our relationships with ourselves and the outside world, for example 'it's healthy to have a strong sex drive'.... well its also healthy to not have a 'strong' sex drive. Totally overrated and over simplified.
2 reviews
November 12, 2012
This book is an amazing map to know and understand how we function, how we get programmed by life and the people we get across, but sometimes the programming can work against us by leaving certain "gremlins" or "goblins" or making us act under certain belief systems that simply take us away from the life we want to live.
This is the stuff that should be taught in school, to prepare each of us for the "big bad world" and develop the positive capabilities of dealing with the set backs and hardships of life.
Profile Image for Leeann.
10 reviews5 followers
April 5, 2013
Life changing mind management book written by a psychiatrist. Through an easy to follow/remember analogy it explains understand how the mind works. If your moods, eating, anger, fear, anxiety, stress etc are out of control then this will help you to easily recognise the behaviour and take steps to change it. I'd give this ten stars if I could.
Profile Image for Ugnė.
541 reviews114 followers
January 15, 2016
Perskaičiau ir sužinojau, kad visą paniką mano galvoje kelia beždžionė ir visas beždžionės sukeltas problemas sprendžia žmogus. Teoriškai nieko naujo, praktiškai patiko vaizdingas požiūris į neuromokslus ir kognityvinę psichoterapiją.
Profile Image for Gary Heilbronn.
Author 10 books20 followers
June 7, 2014
Highly recommended. This is not a scientific or academic book so criticisms from professionals in the field may well be a bit misplaced. But to call it just a self-help book with a solid scientific basis would perhaps be to undervalue it. Most importantly, like other readers, I have found that it has changed the way I look at my interactions with other people as well as my own actions and reactions to others. I'd like to think that I'm getting to be a more tolerant and therefore happier person for reading it and understanding that other people sometimes say and do things that they don't really mean. Of course I "knew" this before but now it's at the forefront of my mind. And more, the author gives the reader strategies to deal with those moments when the inner beast (he calls "your chimp") wants to lash out at another and regrets it later, rather than take a more constructive approach. Maybe there are moments when the reader might think that the author is going over ground he'd covered before but these can be overlooked when you consider that overall the book is very readable and engaging.
Profile Image for Melanie.
Author 4 books12 followers
October 26, 2012
This book could be described as an instruction manual for the brain.

The author divides the brain into 3 parts – the human brain, the chimp brain and the computer brain.

The book explains, in easy to understand terms, the qualities of each part so that you can begin to notice which part is dominating and how to re-balance.

This book is for anyone who frequently gets “hi-jacked” by their chimp – meaning overtaken by their emotions, or aware of negative self-talk and self-sabotaging thoughts or behaviours.

The book contains lots of case studies and practical examples. Dr Peters is psychiatrist to the all conquering British Cycling Team but the usefulness of the book is not limited to the sportsfield.
Profile Image for Anna.
1,737 reviews673 followers
October 7, 2020
I always have mixed feelings when reading self-help books. Their style usually grates on me, tending to be full of generalisations, anecdata, and cutesy graphics. My academic side wants citations to support each point and I grind my teeth at any lazy gendered assumptions. On the other hand, I know only too well that it's wilfully arrogant to dismiss the whole genre. Self-help books have been useful to me before. Indeed, if I'd been more willing to read them earlier in my life, it could have really helped my mental health. Thinking I was too smart and well-adjusted for such books was embarrassingly delusional. 'The Chimp Paradox' is nonetheless a special case, only read because a trusted friend recommended it so highly. I prefer my self-help books narrowly focused on something specific (anxiety or food issues) and rigorously backed by evidence, rather than making broad and dramatic claims. This book describes itself as, 'The mind management programme for confidence, success, and happiness'. It has been a particularly hard week, so my instinctive response to this was not so much scepticism as exhaustion: "I don't want confidence, success, or happiness. They sound tiring and I just need to survive work until the weekend." (I'm aware that's probably not a great mindset to have.) I started reading it this week simply because it was the easiest option on my library book pile, which is currently filled with books about genocide and war in central Africa, Millennarianism in the Middle Ages, and privacy in the digital age. I needed something less demanding, and 'The Chimp Paradox' is certainly accessible.

It took me a while to get into, though, both due to the writing style and content. Peters explains his model of everyone having a Human and a Chimp: the logical and emotional parts of the brain. The difficulty of tempering the Chimp's drives is framed as the main problem the book will tackle. I found the examples of this very hard to relate to. Indeed, in my tired and over-sensitive state, the descriptions of the Chimp made me feel alien, like I'm not a real person. Not that I don't have emotions, they just seem rather different to what is presented. As I persisted with the book, however, I found more personally relevant and useful material. To his credit, Peters states clearly that he is just presenting a much-simplified model of brain function and that it won't necessarily be appropriate for everyone. In my case, there are some parts that seemed helpful and others not at all. That is no more than one can expect, given the diversity of how we experience our internal lives.

I warmed up to 'The Chimp Paradox' as it brought in concepts familiar from cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). I wasn't too keen on the use of 'gremlins' and 'goblins' to describe unhelpful behaviours and thought patterns, however I liked the concept of stored habits as a computer. The suggested process for removing gremlins is basically the same as in CBT. A specific point that I appreciated, and would do well to keep in mind, is replacing 'should' with 'could'. I am continually telling myself that I should do things, then feel guilty if I don't manage to do them. Using 'could' instead would be gentler on myself, yet probably no less effective for motivation. It sounds minor, but has the potential to be quite powerful.

I'm not wholly convinced by this, however, as it implies a level of self-awareness that surely isn't ubiquitous:

To work out who you really are as a person is easy to do. If you wrote a list of all the things you would like to be, you may write things like calm, compassionate, reasonable, positive, confident, and happy, then this is who you really are. Any deviation from this is hijacking by the Chimp.

It does make a strong point about potential for self-improvement, though. At the end of the chapter on personality, the book suggests getting a close friend to write down what they think your personality is like. Shit, who has the courage for that? As an aside, I think chimpanzees were somewhat impugned by this book. While I believe they are the more aggressive of the great apes, compared to say bonobos, labelling them with all humanity's worst impulses seems unfair. Chimpanzees have never dropped an atom bomb, made a hole in the ozone layer, or built a car dependent city.

I think 'The Chimp Paradox' is at its strongest when discussing how to deal with other people. Probably because that part most closely accords with how I already try to think and act, e.g, 'The easiest way to be tolerant is to have little, if any, expectation of the people that you meet but to just accept them as they are and to work with this'. Likewise, I try to be very controlled about how I communicate, especially in professional contexts, and tend to be quite measured and guarded in both verbal and written formats. Although inside I'm frequently angry, I attempt to project calm as much as possible. Although I've noticed evidence of this effort convincing people, I don't think it necessarily means I'm a calm person. Controlling anger doesn't make it go away, indeed it sometimes gets diverted into anxiety attacks. Nonetheless, these chapters seem sensible. It's even tempting to photocopy them for anonymous delivery to certain colleagues. Incidentally, I also agree with Peters that personal and professional relationships should be kept separate.

The chapters I hoped might be immediately helpful to me were about stress. I definitely find my job stressful, and it will be especially so for the next three months. I am instinctively drawn to approaches that involve plans and lists, so appreciated that the suggestions featured both. Still, there wasn't much there that was new to me. It mostly reminded me that to remove the main source of stress in my life I'd need to get a new job, something I've been trying and failing to do for several years. Presumably I need a new plan. The concluding chapters about success, happiness, and confidence seemed less relevant, although again I liked their project-management-esque structured approach. Given my low mood while reading, it was a nice lift to stop and think of ten things that would immediately make me happy (going to the library, catching up with a friend, having a lie-in...) The material in the confidence chapter was largely familiar from CBT and thus a handy reminder: just do your best, as you can never achieve perfection. I have to tell myself this a lot at work.

In short, there is a lot of sensible material in 'The Chimp Paradox', once you get past the style and twee illustrations. (Which some may like! They just aren't to my taste.) I can imagine why it is popular. Whether it looks familiar to you or not may depend on the extent to which you've encountered CBT. While it therefore didn't give me much that was new, the underlying ethos was soothing: that humans can be rational, kind, and polite if they put the effort in. I don't know how helpful this approach might be in achieving success, happiness, and confidence, which are all ambiguous and relative concepts in any case. Some statements seemed wise because I agree with them yet find them hard to implement, like acceptance of things you fear but can't change. It's unlikely to transform my life, but 'The Chimp Paradox' did lift my mood a bit when I was feeling down, so I'm thankful for that.
Profile Image for Andreww.
83 reviews6 followers
December 14, 2013
Life-changing is over used hyperbole in the self-help 'new you' book market but that's exactly what this book is. Written in a very simple style it walks us through an intuitive model of how our minds work that's linked to what we know about the physical structure of the brain. If you read it carefully and do the exercises at the back of each chapter it will absolutely change your life.

The genius of the book is that Peters takes complex information about the physical structure of our brain and builds a complementary psychological model that explains how each part contributes to our 'in-mind' experience each and everyday.

The model is made of the following components;

There's our inner Chimp, the emotional part of our brain, designed by evolution to support our survival, it's thinking is characterised by feelings and paranoia, it works on impressions and interpretations, not facts and responds up to fives times faster than our rational brain.

There's our Human mind, which is rational, weighs up evidence and reaches careful and deliberate conclusions using cognition. It is where our highest values of humanity reside, it is where we can strategically plan our actions and think through the consequences of events and arrive at balanced and considered conclusions. It works five times slower than the Chimp.

And then there's the Computer, a bank of a remembered experiences full of automatic habits and responses, some good, some bad, the place where both our Human and our Chimp look for association and similar experiences when processing what's happening to us. The Computer works twenty times faster than our Human and fifteen times faster than the Chimp.

Peters says that the first thing we need to do inside our heads is recognise these three powerful structures in our mind, if we do not we will always be running to catch up with ourselves.

The Chimp is as much a part of us as our Human brain and if we don't learn to manage the Chimp it may keep getting us into trouble again and again and again. The Chimp (emotional brain) is ancient, strong and fast-moving and as it works five times faster than the Human, it will sometimes beat that part of ourselves to responding. The Chimp is always active when we are unsettled or worried, it tends to think in black and white absolute terms, can be paranoid and often catastrophises things. As it was designed to keep us safe in a very dangerous prehistoric past you can see why it has been designed by natural selection to be like this. However it's fast, strong and often vicious responses don't often resolve many of the complex 21st century problems our lives are now full of. In our adolescent children the Chimp is often pumped up on hormones and also, with teenage self-esteem so brittle, the adolescent Chimp may see potential threats and slights much more readily than our more settled adult Chimps does.

Steven Peters recipe for managing the Chimp runs thus;

1. Recognise you have a Chimp and that it will respond sometimes when you are angry, stressed or perceive any kind of threat (physical or psychological or reputational) and it moves much more quickly than the Human part of your brain and it will likely embarrass you with its responses. It might shout and rage, be rude and angry or violent;

2. Watch for Chimp-like responses, these are easy to spot, they are responses which when you reflect later aren't ones you're proud of. They are likely the ones that if you had your time again you'd do differently, or they are the responses that you might, with the benefit of hindsight, think you need to apologise for;

3. Be aware that everyone has a Chimp and managing it is an everyday challenge, when we're tired or stressed our Chimp becomes more difficult to control and can overwhelm us more easily. Observe other people's responses,you can see Chimp behaviour everywhere;
4. Having become aware of your Chimp you can work on boxing your Chimp, ignoring it's instinctive and rapid reaction and giving yourself some thinking time to work out a better, more Human response;

5. We can use the Computer part of our brain, our automated habits, to put in responses faster than the Chimp can react. This takes time and practice, but if we make a conscious effort to put in a different response to the impulsive Chimp one, we can develop what Peters calls an Autopilot, which is a ---script or response that overrides the unhelpful Chimp response before it can be enacted.


Example of Computer trumping Chimp

Someone pulls in front of you when you're driving and instead of offering them some creative and energetic hand gestures, flashing your lights and standing on your horn you simply imagine that they are having a very difficult day, have an emergency to get to or simply didn't see you. This is an autopilot you had already programmed in over several days in preparation for the inevitable bad behaviour you sometimes see on the road. This means you do not react, drive more aggressively or head out into road-rage and instead arrive at your own destination calm and untrammeled by the experience that could have potentially de-stabilised your mood. (This kind of automated response will take training and practice developing an autopilot because each time it happens your chimp will react and respond very quickly and it's only the Computer part of your mind that can beat it.)

6. A Chimp response is a natural, if unhelpful response. As it is a prehistoric and simple creature it responds in simplistic, emotional ways. It's responses are not nuanced and complex enough to cope with anything beyond life or death survival. We can never be rid of it, but we can recognise it and circumvent it.

7. Nurture your autopilot responses to events or circumstances that keep recurring so you can ensure that the Chimp response doesn't define you.

8. Reflect on your responses during the day, identify Chimp-like responses and look at alternative ways of responding. You have to take responsibility for your chimp's responses.

9. Anticipate the Chimp, look ahead each day to see the moments when the Chimp might be more likely to react and respond so you can out think it in advance
10. The Chimp needs to be safe and secure in order to be calm, if you keep getting a Chimp response then it will because you are not feeling safe and secure (psychologically or physically or reputationally) and in order to address this repeated Chimp response you will need to address its anxieties regarding safety and security before it will be calm and you can respond with your Human rather than your Chimp.

Heartily recommended.

***** (A Rare five stars)
Profile Image for Jonas van Eeten.
77 reviews1 follower
May 17, 2022
Het concept is slim: Je hebt een chimpansee in je die te veel verlangt naar basisbehoeftes zoals territorium, hiërarchie en competitiegericht presteren.

Ook het concept van de 'boemannen' vind ik slim: als je jezelf omlaag haalt zou dat te maken hebben met verkeerde kleine quotes die je vaak al heel lang geleden hebt aangeleerd en sindsdien aanhoudt. Bv. 'Men is pas trots op me als ik wat lever.' Dat zou al voort kunnen komen uit dat je moeder je pas prees als je haar als kind een tekening leverde.

De rest van het boek is rekken en herhalen.
Profile Image for Mandy.
788 reviews22 followers
May 18, 2019
I got to about page 50. At first, the idea of thinking of the limbic section of the brain as a chimp was quite interesting, but that analogy was soon taken too far, and people were being talked about as if we all react and act in identical ways for identical reasons. Also, the book was quite dictatorial.

I snooped ahead to see if there were tantalising things ahead that I should stay with the book to get to, and hit p. 220. This is where the the Proff explains that working mothers who feel overstretched and conflicted just need to adjust their minds. They need to accept that their maternal chimp is in conflict with their human (rest of brain) desire for fulfillment, and make some easy tweaks, such as asking for more help, or making compromises, and women will be able to 'do both really well'.
I cannot express strongly enough how despicable I find that advice to be. It shows a total lack of knowledge about and interest in the struggle that is common for working mothers. For a start, many mother's would feel more fulfilled by staying home with their kids. Many work so their families survive, and many don't have a choice but to take work that does not fit well around childcare. Perhaps this book is aimed at sports women, who have a high desire to compete, who would not feel fulfilled if they could not compete, but the book doesn't state it is only written for that group, and is so inappropriate for the majority of women, that I have no interest in continuing to read on, as what else does he give advice on without a clue what he is talking about?

I will try to get my money back.
Profile Image for Maciej Siwek.
47 reviews
July 15, 2020
At first my intuition was to rate this book as one star but finally, I decided it has some value that cannot be left out. In my opinion it's aimed only for people that just started their journey of self-discovery and trying to learn retrospective and analytical thinking. For people as such, there are interesting concepts and techniques in this book, that may help to navigate through the hard beginnings.

For the more advanced or just simply more experienced psychology readers it's an eye-roller in so many instances it's hard to count. One of the examples that almost made me stop reading the book in the middle of a chapter was the assertion that "you are what you project you are in ideal, logical assumptions about yourself", which is complete bs. It completely disregards emotions as valid parts of humanity as in opposition to the primal side (the distinction that the author makes all the time and which is the core of the book but in this case, it's elevated to the point of absurdity). But don't worry, the book has much more of this shamanistic "scientific theories".

What is also hard to omit is that the author is using way too many different metaphors, trying to create a coherent picture, but my opinion is that he fails miserably at this. Joining celestial body, technical and animalistic collations creates chaotic and confusing picture.

All in all, it has some valid points and hints that can help in getting one's shit together, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, because there's so much better books it's just not worth getting into this one.
Profile Image for Cav.
701 reviews101 followers
July 12, 2022
Unfortunately, I became frustrated with the presentation of this, and had to put it down...

Basically, the entire book can be distilled down to this quote:
"The Psychological Mind therefore has two independent thinking machines that also independently interpret our experiences.
The two beings that think and then interpret
• The Human is you, and you live in your frontal lobe.
• The Chimp is your emotional machine, given to you at birth, and it lives in your limbic system."

The author spends the duration running hypothetical scenarios and case studies expanding upon the two above examples.
Sadly, I found his writing style to be very dry. There were also too many interruptions to the book's "flow" in the form of key points, takeaways, and hypertexts. The formatting was jumbled and disorganized.
And although the book contains many illustrations, I felt that they were too numerous, cheaply produced, and an ineffectual addition to the core material.

Ultimately, it got too much, and I decided to put the book down, which is something I rarely ever do...


So, despite the book containing some interesting material, the final presentation of that material fell short for me.
1 star. Would not recommend.
Profile Image for Mathew.
21 reviews
May 9, 2014
Not a very well written book, but the ideas are presented clearly and should have a profound effect on anyone who is looking to quit something or start something.

Dr Peters has a great pedigree but his skill is in reducing complex ideas laid out by academics into simple propositions that anyone can access.

This book will annoy snobs, like me, who think that knowledge like this should be sacred rather than shared.

I would recommend everyone to read it, from teachers to salesmen to scout leaders. Just don't be insulted by the simplistic writing, it serves a purpose.
Profile Image for Mihai Mihalachi.
97 reviews10 followers
July 13, 2022
Pe scurt "cimpanzeul" reprezintă poate partea cea mai ambiguă din noi: emoțiile. Ceea ce nu putem controla dar reușim totuși să atragem de partea noastră. Dacă nu e de partea noastră devine un cal troian, un dușman care ne sabotează în tot ce facem.

Mi-am dat seama că în principiu știu practica dar teoria lipsea total. E bine că am acoperit cîteva goluri. O recomand tuturor, mai ales pentru primele 270 de pagini, cele 2 părți legate de “Explorarea propriei minți” și „Funcționarea cotidiană”.

Cred că poate fi de ajutor și îți poate îmbunătăți modul de a percepe lucrurile din jur dar mai ales să te înțelegi pe tine însuți. E o carte plină de răspunsuri.

Un minus ar fi abordarea ușor copilărească cu repetări de idei, cu goblini, gremlini, cimpanzei în junglă, desene ciudățele, planete cu sateliți...etc însă te obișnuiești pe parcurs.

Profile Image for Rae.
411 reviews23 followers
December 9, 2020
From the reviews, I can see this is a very marmitey book. Some love it, some hate it. My own opinion is that, for a self help book, it isn't that bad.

It does, of course, suffer from being a self help book. I don't know why I keep reading them! My advice to anyone going into (any) self help book is not to expect it to drastically change your life. Take the bits you like, learn from them and skim over the rest.

I'll bullet what I liked and didn't like about The Chimp Paradox:


- The core concept makes intuitive sense and is a good visualisation of the conflict within our brains

- Things are kept simple and snappy

- There were many useful nuggets of advice within these pages

- For those who struggle to manage their emotions, it's an excellent starting point, especially for men (who I feel the book is mostly aimed at)

- Lots of varied advice, along with some excellent thought experiments


- Dr Peters is very insistent that happiness is a choice. This, along with several other ideas, makes the book inappropriate for people with serious mental illness (it may still be of use to those who have been adequately treated or whose illness is milder)

- It's a long book that tries to cover everything! Every aspect of wellbeing - success, happiness, CBT, stoicism etc. etc. This could either be seen as value for money or as biting off more than can be chewed in one book

- Presentation - sometimes a bit dense and colourless

- Although the approach to not being a victim will be seen by some as empowering or refreshing, it does sometimes nudge the line between promoting personal responsibility and victim blame at times (taken in the context of current popular ideas and zeitgeist)

- Only lip service given to actual pathology leading to psychological malfunctioning - I.e. mental illness

I recommend this book to people struggling to manage their emotions or get the results they want from their efforts, especially those with little understanding of CBT etc. I will be taking pinches of advice from the book and think most people will find something here that helps.
Profile Image for Tilly.
1,353 reviews157 followers
July 20, 2018
I've heard such great things about this book. I thought it would be revolutionary. But I found it repetitive and not as helpful as other books.
Profile Image for Martin Rusev.
1 review2 followers
February 15, 2016
Before buying this book I spend a lot of time reading through the reviews and most of them sounded really enthusiastic about it. It is #1 Best seller on Amazon in the Job hunting category. How bad could it be :)

The main theme in the book is obviously the Chimp which we all have inside and it tries to teach us how to control it. From my own perspective the whole book sounds naive, definitely looks like it is targeting younger audience - it has illustrations and the tone is somewhere between an adult talking to children and a psychiatrist talking to his mentally challenged patients. Apart from that - the book has some valuable information here and there.
Profile Image for Tori Hodges.
21 reviews2 followers
June 20, 2020
It was good, just wasn’t for me. Would definitely be a good read for highly sensitive people or people who struggle with understanding and controlling their emotions. My problem is more that I hardly experience any emotions in the first place, so the advice and model weren’t really useful for me.

Also the model just became more and more far fetched and stretched out the metaphor too much. The point I lost it was when I saw “The Moon of Carrots” actually written on a page in a published book.

That being said it raised some interesting ideas and some points were relevant to me so not a complete waste of time.
Profile Image for Maria.
131 reviews6 followers
May 21, 2018
A poor man's 'Thinking Fast and Slow'
Profile Image for Alya Putri.
77 reviews83 followers
January 13, 2021
Penggunaan istilah yang digunakan tidak rumit, sehingga paham bagaimana pikiran dan emosi bekerja sama. Dan disini, kita sebenernya diberikan pilihan. Hanya saja, seringkali berbenturan dengan mana yang kita sukai dan yang tidak disukai.
Profile Image for F.R..
Author 31 books199 followers
January 10, 2014
So, last year I decided to broaden my pallet by reading more science fiction and fantasy books. Frankly I’ve enjoyed it immensely and find my mind broadened by the phenomenal vistas of space. And now, because life is all about growing, this year I seem to be widening my perspective even further by moving onto self-help books.

Actually I can’t see myself reading much more in the way of self-help this year (not that I consider myself perfect, but I’m more of the school that you learn and develop through actually living life rather than just reading about ways you can learn and develop). However this book was recommended to me by someone I respect, and I thought why the hell not? One should always be open to new experiences after all.

And to be honest, my experience with the self-help book wasn’t bad. The central theory to ‘The Chimp Paradox’ is that everyone has an inner chimp as well as a human (there’s also a computer but let’s not worry about that now). The human is the logical and rational part of you, while the chimp is the emotional and irrational part. Everything we experience in life is fed through the chimp first, and the book is a guide to controlling your chimp rather than letting it run wild. So if you struggle with anger, stress and get upset easily, and are annoyed by your own irrational thinking, then this book might be good for you.

Having now read the whole thing, I think I’m actually quite good at controlling my chimp but there were still good ideas here that I intend to act upon going forward. And that’s no doubt the best measure of success for a book like this. I’ll be honest, I haven’t embraced it whole-heartedly, there were a few bits of nonsense wankery that made me smile and really appealed to my sense of ridiculousness. For example: the instruction that I should get to know my chimp and actually give him a name. (It just made me think of shaking hands with this imaginary primate and discovering he was called Kevin.) Whilst, and I’m not sure one reads these books for the Philip Roth-esque prose style – but there were some terrible sentences, apparently: “Learning to laugh at misfortune and at yourself is a learnt behaviour”.

Of course the proof of the banana pudding will be whether I am acting on these lessons in six months, or whether I can even recall them. Myself and Kevin will keep you posted.
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