Barbara Daiker's Reviews > Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior

Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow
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Aug 21, 2012

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Another wonderful book by this author, this time providing the research behind our unconscious behaviors. Written in a manner that doesn’t scream physicist, Miodinow makes the scientific research approachable and practical. This book helps leaders understand how our minds fill in the blanks or blind spots in our knowledge. Just like the blind spot in our vision, we will “make up” what we don’t know and incorporate this into what we believe are facts. Additionally we have skills, such as facial recognition, that works below our active thinking. The unconscious skills create certainty in what we know and do, which we cannot explain to other people. However, we can be led astray. The first part of the book focuses on the subconscious of the individual and the second part how the subconscious influences social interactions.

Knowing how we can mislead ourselves is important in being clear as a leader. In a research study discussed in Miodinow’s book, what someone saw or heard before they made a choice influenced their answer to something else. We seem to carry information forward without meaning to do so. This makes me think about agendas and structured questions and how important it is to consider how one topic will influence the next.

If you are concerned about reading a book on psychic mumbo-jumbo, don’t worry. This book is written entirely on scientific fact. You are likely to finish the book thinking there is more going on below our awareness than you thought. I recommend this book to leaders who want to better understand their teams as social structures with both conscious and unconscious behaviors.

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