Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior” as Want to Read:
Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  9,641 ratings  ·  747 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Subliminal, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,641 ratings  ·  747 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Lots of interesting trivia illustrated with anecdotes (no doubt, to hold the reader from getting bored and/or distracted).
Q:
People seemed to “decide”... (c) yep, our subliminal is a tricky pal.
Q:
That’s why doctors instinctively “package” themselves in nice shirts and ties and it’s not advisable for attorneys to greet clients in Budweiser T-shirts. (c)
Q:
As the psychologist Jonathan Haidt put it, there are two ways to get at the truth: the way of the scientist and the way of the lawyer. Scientists
...more
Caroline
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Caroline by: John Kaufmann
Whilst this book covered some ground I had already covered elsewhere, it nevertheless painted a good picture of our unconscious minds and motivations, which I found useful.

The unconscious is a slippery critter, sliding out of our grasp nearly every time we reach for it. Various researchers have designed myriad tests to try and monitor it - but it isn't easy.

It's a bit depressing to think about it really. We aren't totally irrational, but my goodness we're a bit woolly around the edges, that is
...more
GodLike
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Ken Montville
Jun 15, 2012 rated it liked it
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
John Martindale
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 there was other findings in the book that I've found interesting and have been fun to share with others.

In one section of the book Mlodinow covered cognitive biases--how we won't consider the evidence on the other-side and how experiments have proven that none of us are objective. The problem is we unconsciously fil
...more
Book
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: neuroscience
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
Camelia Rose
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, audio, science
Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior is good summary on the topic of the unconscious mind. The the author clarifies at the beginning that unconscious mind in modern psychology and neuroscience is a totally different concept than Freud's subconsciousness. I have read some of the topics elsewhere, but still find the book useful.

The human mind constructs a picture of reality for the purpose of our survival, therefore accuracy is not a priority. Same is our memory. Our mind co
...more
Owlseyes
This is not really the Freud’s (or Jung's) notion of unconscious; rather, another level of processing information well beyond the conscious. Drawing heavily on studies of memory (including the Münsterberg theory of memory) the author leads us to believe the uncomfortable truth that our own memory is not that reliable; instead, it may deceive us, as sometimes we fill in the gaps through the unconscious use of certain “techniques” (mediated by beliefs, expectations, desires, context and prior know ...more
Ashley Reid
While there were some good points in this book, the writing wasn't interesting enough to hold my attention for long.
It was too boring to get through and even though I got to ~80% I still couldn't force myself to finish it all.
Shaun
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Shaun by: Caroline
This was a timely book to read given the political maelstrom has so often in the past and continues to characterize American politics where we see individuals supporting, defending, and promoting their teams quarterback with a fervor that in most cases takes some pretty impressive mental gymnastics.

Think the decisions and choices you make are the result of careful scrutiny, reflection and logical deduction? ABSOLUTELY ...(insert mental drum roll please)(view spoiler)
...more
Carly
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
**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
Tony
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Teo Mechea
The ending felt rushed and somehow incomplete but it didn't matter so much due to the abundance of facts, explanations and (my favorite part) lots and lots of descriptions of studies conducted by research scientists along the decades, in different fields of interest.
It's basically a 200-page collection of studies and experiments that prove various theories from neuroscience and social psychology.

If you're into the way the brain works and like to hear weird and sometimes highly unexpected (and
...more
Mario Tomic
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was so interesting I went through it in just 2 days! It goes deep into self-fulfilling prophecies, group think, effects of optimism and how our brain chemistry is physically changing depending on our perception. This is a book you don't wanna miss out on, a lot of the studies mentioned in the book are also fairly new discoveries as the real-time brain-scanning technology wasn't even available for such studies in the past. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
David Dinaburg
Sep 18, 2012 rated it liked it
“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 longe
...more
Clark Hays
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
thewestchestarian
Sep 14, 2012 rated it liked it
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
jeremy
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
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
Amine
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Damn, I just love Psychology.

“Research suggests when it comes to understanding our feelings, we humans have an odd mix of low ability and high confidence.”


This book was more enlightening than I anticipated.
In Subliminal, Leonard Mlodinow gives you certain facts about the human unconscious, simply put, and written in an interesting way through a clear structure. Each point is well supported with several examples that leave small room for doubt. The examples come from both this century and t
...more
Doug Eymer
Mar 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I am sure that there will be lingering effects of this book. Quite honestly, I was determined to get through it and I succeeded. I can put a check mark next to it. (I have allowed my unconscious mind to write this review.)
Mara
Really 2.5/5, but any behavioral econ./neuropsychology/social psychology (I could go on, but you get the gist) book's worth suffers when read right after the work of Kahneman. To be reviewed...
Paula Cappa
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Are you curious about the mystery of the unconscious mind? Well, this book is about the ‘new unconscious.’ The book is quite un-Freudian—no more self-reflecting therapy to process our reality. Freud believed that our unconscious was filled with repressed lust and anger, but Leonard Mlodinow says our ‘new unconscious’ is a kinder and more gentle reality, and it’s still evolving. You have to like that, right? There’s lots of information here about the ‘fluency effect,’ that is, the influence that ...more
Nicky
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

This book was a bit of a disappointment. It covers basically the same ground as dozens of other books which purport to explain the irrationality of the human brain, including the same experiments discussed with more or less the same conclusions. I’m wary of the way Mlodinow decides that certain anatomical areas of the brain are solely and uncomplicatedly involved in specific emotions. For example, he identifies the “ventromedial pre-frontal cortex” as being all the
...more
Majed
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t usually write long reviews but I was really fascinated by this work. It is also a good overview for those who are new to this genre. I will share some of what I found interesting about this book.

The first part of the book covers the rudiments of how our unconscious mind governs our senses and perceptions which in turn translate into decisions. Unlike the general notion that our decisions are based on our conscious perspective, its actually the unconscious, or subliminal, part of the brai
...more
Misty
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm completely fascinated by the human mind and this book does a great job explaining the science and studies that prove how in control our unconscious mind really is. See the top reviews for great point by point reviews of the content.
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
Terence
May 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: Economist review
That crazy old hermit was right:



"Your eyes can deceive you. Don't believe them!"
...more
Dave Schey
Aug 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Mlodinow has a great way of making complex subjects easier to understand and he does it again in this book.
Henrik Haapala
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: knowledge
• New unconscious: Behavior that is automatic, and occurs with a lack of awareness, intention and control.
• We do not understand what is influencing us, and often cannot avoid that behavior.
• Not the Freudian unconscious: No repression, not accessible through therapy. Instead parts of the brain inaccessible to the conscious.
• Power of fMRI: a computer can now with electromagnetic readings of brain activity reconstruct what you are looking at.
• Influencing shoppers: On days when the French mu
...more
Mihai Rosca
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: have-audio
I would like to start this review with the words of another reviewer, part from laziness, part because of the fact that I agree with him:
"If you are looking for a book on how the unconscious mind both benefits and deceives us, this is a good choice. Mlodinow has a sense of humor and writes complex subjects in an easy to comprehend fashion. However, if you’ve read up on the subject, you might not find much new here." (https://berniegourley.com/2016/11/15/...)

So, that being said, I give it a thumb
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer's Brain
  • Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness
  • Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
  • Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships
  • SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone - Especially Ourselves
  • Manifesto for a Moral Revolution: Practices to Build a Better World
  • The Little Book of String Theory
  • Τα ίχνη της εμπειρίας: Νευρωνική πλαστικότητα και η συνάντηση της βιολογίας με την ψυχανάλυση
  • Leite Derramado
  • How Innovation Works: Serendipity, Energy and the Saving of Time
  • Evolution and Human Behavior
  • Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent
  • Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind
  • On Gravity: A Brief Tour of a Weighty Subject
  • Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide
  • O Caso Morel
  • Heidegger Urgente
See similar books…
808 followers
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

News & Interviews

Magic and myth, getting real and standing up for what’s right, love and longing, growing up and falling in love. Get ready for some of the best...
22 likes · 5 comments
“Research suggests when it comes to understanding our feelings, we humans have an odd mix of low ability and high confidence.” 14 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.” 10 likes
More quotes…