The Self Illusion: Why There Is No "You" Inside Your Head Audiobook | Bruce Hood | Audible.co.uk
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The Self Illusion: Why There Is No
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The Self Illusion: Why There Is No "You" Inside Your Head

The Self Illusion provides a fascinating examination of how the latest science shows that our individual concept of a self is in fact an illusion. Most of us believe that we possess a self - an internal individual who resides inside our bodies, making decisions, authoring actions and possessing free will. The feeling that a single, unified, enduring self inhabits the body is compelling and inescapable. But that sovereignty of the self is increasingly under threat from science as our understanding of the brain advances.
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Publisher's Summary

The Self Illusion provides a fascinating examination of how the latest science shows that our individual concept of a self is in fact an illusion. Most of us believe that we possess a self - an internal individual who resides inside our bodies, making decisions, authoring actions and possessing free will. The feeling that a single, unified, enduring self inhabits the body is compelling and inescapable. But that sovereignty of the self is increasingly under threat from science as our understanding of the brain advances.

©2012 Bruce Hood (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd

What the Critics Say

"Startling and engrossing" (Robin Ince)

"Fascinating, timely and important ... Hood's presentation of the science behind our supersense is crystal clear and utterly engaging" (New Scientist)

"Wonderful. Illuminating. Full of insight, beauty, and humor. Get to know thyself" (David Eagleman, author of Sum)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Jim Vaughan Malvern, UK 21/01/2013
    Jim Vaughan Malvern, UK 21/01/2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    70
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    29
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    FOLLOWING
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    1
    Overall
    "Well written, well read! I enjoyed disagreeing."

    This book really got my limbic system and ACC going. Brillantly engaging and deeply frustrating. Bruce Hood is a distinguished academic, (he's won prizes) and a fantastic communicator. "The Self Illusion"  is well written, flows seamlessly, and the author's delivery is delightful. The chapter on the www, avatars and social networking is excellent. Yet I spent much of the book shouting at my iPhone. It's not that I mind being an illusion - Allan Watts & Daniel Dennett have claimed as much - it's that it's never very clear what BH means by "the self". He freely hops between the "experiencing self", self as "personality", "self image" or our varied "personas". He rarely refers to the "self" without appending "illusion" thus implanting a paired association. Caveat emptor!

    So, yes, we may be a "bundle of perceptions", but a necessary condition is a perceiver. Yes, we may be more or less influenced by other people (depending on our temperament). Yes, we may develop personalities adapted to our environment (mirror self). Yes, we may be deluded by own self image. Yes, we may present different self images (personas) in different situations. Yes, we make sense of our experience using imperfect memories to make a story. Yes, we are not a single "homunculus", but more like a hierarchy of committees (all of whom are "me"). Yes, the preparation for any decision may begin deep in our minds, probably way down in our awareness.

    However, none of these for me indicate the self is an illusion, only that it is complex, multilayered, dynamic, adaptable, constrained & mysterious. BHs own mind/brain analogy of a web is helpful, but he misses out the obvious central point - that as the strands converge, sentience (self) emerges, then self awareness. As he states in ch1, "You are your brain", so his subtitle "Why there is no 'you' inside your head" is annoyingly contradictory. Overall however I really enjoyed disagreeing with this book. Well written, well read and much food for thought.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan YORK, United Kingdom 23/12/2012
    Dan YORK, United Kingdom 23/12/2012 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    5
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    4
    Overall
    "Very interesting overview on the mind"

    I was a bit daunted to start this as the subject could make one a bit despondent but Bruce Hood delivers it in a thoughtful, positive and informative way. It think he goes off topic on occasion but its all ways interesting. This is a general science book for the general public. Recommended.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Glastonbury, United Kingdom 29/03/2013
    Mark Glastonbury, United Kingdom 29/03/2013 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    23
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    "Good argument,"

    This is a good book. The arguments are well presented. Overall some of these arguments take too long and from time to time there was a sense of frustration that the author was not getting to the point. The conclusion is a little shaky because if there is no me inside my head, after reading such a book, there should be an experiential understanding as well as an intellectual one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-3 of 3 results
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  • David
    Highland Park, IL, United States
    10/05/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing"

    I began this audiobook with high hopes. Here was a new book arguing for a radical and boldly counterintuitive thesis, namely that the very center of our conscious existence, our sense of self, is an illusion. If there ever was a claim worthy of a book-length defense, this would surely be it.

    Sadly, however, the book fell far short of my expectations. In fact, the author spent very little time at all making the (probably very difficult) case for the "self illusion," and instead used this topic as a platform for talking about pretty much anything he seemed interested in, from how the internet is shaping our brains to the psychology of laughter. Basically, the book reads like a low-level tour of psychology, with topics only loosely (and sometimes not at all) connected to the topic of "the self," broadly construed. As a basic introduction to psychology for extremely lay audiences, it succeeds fairly well. As a cogent argument for the illusion of selfhood, it fails abysmally.

    Worse still, even if you are looking for an introduction to psychology, I would not waste your credit on this, as most of the material covered has already been covered more thoroughly and more entertainingly in other works, like "Predictably Irrational," "How the Mind Works," "The Happiness Hypothesis," or "The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking."

    And as if this weren't enough bad news for "The Self Illusion," Bruce Hood unfortunately succumbed to the "authors make better narrators" fallacy, and the book suffered greatly for it. Hood's voice is dull and plodding, adding very little life to the text, and his faint scottish accent was slightly distracting at times.

    36 of 42 people found this review helpful
  • Nicholas
    Kalamunda, Australia
    29/10/12
    Overall
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    Story
    "Excellent"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this well-researched book, and loved the fact that Bruce narrated it himself. I found his arguments compelling throughout the whole book. Highly recommend.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Claire Wallace
    Sydney, NSW Australia
    23/12/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great read!"

    I really enjoyed this book. It is really interesting, the author's narrative style is easy to listen to, and afterwards I have a better understanding of my 'self' and others. Enjoyable!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • David G. McDivitt
    illinois
    30/10/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "provides exciting insite into the mind"
    What did you love best about The Self Illusion?

    Bruce (also the author) has an excellent voice and keen perspectives.


    Which character – as performed by Bruce Hood – was your favorite?

    The brain


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It was very exciting, listening to it


    Any additional comments?

    Good for anyone wanting psychology or neuroscience information.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    WESTPORT, WA, United States
    04/06/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It’s ok to believe in illusions"
    What made the experience of listening to The Self Illusion the most enjoyable?

    Hood is a great writer I highly recommend the ride into the exploration of the illusion of self. Even if you are well vs in the subject you will find Hood's treatment of the social aspects of self thought provoking, Hood even puts an interesting spin on gender biases, beyond testosterone and estrogen.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Brain, it is after all your reality generator.


    What about Bruce Hood’s performance did you like?

    Sounds Great at 2x


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. Your bound to want to reflect. Even coming back to it in a few days is a good idea


    Any additional comments?

    You own it to yourself to listen to this book

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Norway
    27/06/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Self Illusion to be better than the print version?

    No idea (just read some interviews and book reviews not the book itself).


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Self Illusion?

    High quality throughout.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Nope it has chapters of suitable lenghts.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book that cover a variety of topics, the writer is updated on the subjects and a good communicator. Never mind the other review concerning the accent, it is preferable in some (or most I will say) cases to listen to an author rather than an actor. If you are in to quite clever pop-sci this is one obvious pick to listen through.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Westport, WA, United States
    04/06/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It???s ok to believe in illusions"
    What made the experience of listening to The Self Illusion the most enjoyable?

    Hood is a great writer I highly recommend the ride into the exploration of the illusion of self. Even if you are well vs in the subject you will find Hood's treatment of the social aspects of self thought provoking, Hood even puts an interesting spin on gender biases, beyond testosterone and estrogen.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Brain, it is after all your reality generator.


    What about Bruce Hood???s performance did you like?

    Sounds Great at 2x


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. Your bound to want to reflect. Even coming back to it in a few days is a good idea


    Any additional comments?

    You own it to yourself to listen to this book

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results

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