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Mindwise

How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want
Narrated by: Nicholas Epley
Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (45 ratings)

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Summary

You are a mind reader, born with an extraordinary ability to understand what others think, feel, believe, want, and know. It's a sixth sense you use every day, in every personal and professional relationship you have. At its best, this ability allows you to achieve the most important goal in almost any life: connecting, deeply and intimately and honestly, to other human beings. At its worst, it is a source of misunderstanding and unnecessary conflict, leading to damaged relationships and broken dreams.

How good are you at knowing the minds of others? How well can you guess what others think of you, know who really likes you, or tell when someone is lying? How well do you really understand the minds of those closest to you, from your spouse to your kids to your best friends? Do you really know what your coworkers, employees, competitors, or clients want?

In this illuminating exploration of one of the great mysteries of the human mind, University of Chicago psychologist Nicholas Epley introduces us to what scientists have learned about our ability to understand the most complicated puzzle on the planet - other people - and the surprising mistakes we so routinely make. Why are we sometimes blind to the minds of others, treating them like objects or animals? Why do we sometimes talk to our cars, or the stars, as if there is a mind that can hear us? Why do we so routinely believe that others think, feel, and want what we do when, in fact, they do not? And why do we believe we understand our spouses, family, and friends so much better than we actually do? Mindwise will not turn other people into open books, but it will give you the wisdom to revolutionize how you think about them - and yourself.

©2014 Nicholas Epley (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Informative, thoughtful and fun.


This is just the sort of book I like - looking into our minds and perception and teasing out the reasons why our mental processes go wrong and mislead us. Why only four stars? Because sometimes I felt it made errors. For example, early on Mr Epley annihilates the idea that people can tell you why they have made a decision or behave in a certain way (the old problem of post-rationalisation). Then in subsequent chapters he uses survey data (without any apologies) to show, for example, how people think that their reasons for choosing or liking their job are different to those of their employees. So do we trust this self-reporting or not? More egregious, Epley tries to claim that it is our stereotyped images of growing old that lead us to grow old (and not physiological ageing). This is clearly wrong because I have aged in ways I didn’t even imagine or know about (don’t ask). His ‘evidence’ for this theory is that people with good images of growing old age better than those with more negative images of ageing. He doesn’t even bother to discuss the possibility that experience of old people and genetic propensity to age badly might be correlated. I could go on. Oh all right, just one more. He claims to have experimental evidence to show that people would be happier if they systematically talked to fellow travellers on commuter trains. Commuters don’t anticipate that chatting would make them happier, so they don’t try it, and miss out on this great opportunity for joyful social interaction. Maybe these were pre-audio-book commuters :)

I don’t want to discourage you from auditing this book because it is thought provoking and fun - just be aware that in some parts the data seems to be being fit to a theory rather than the other (correct) way round.

Narration: I had to set my ipod reader to ‘slow’ - instead of the normal speed. Nicholas reads his own book, but clearly wanted to whisk through as quickly as possible. Given the thoughtful nature of the content, this listener needed time to ingest the ideas, so slowing the flow was essential for me.

18 people found this helpful

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Illuminating and incredibly listenable

"Only by recognising the limits of our brain's greatest sense, will we have the humility to understand others as they actually are instead of as we imagine them to be." Nicholas Epley, Mindwise. Epley's humor shines throughout the book. His experiments provide a scientific robustness to his theories. I was surprised to learn that perspective taking is one of the worst ways to uncover what someone is thinking but learned a new way to approach understanding others.

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It changed my mind, maybe it will change yours.

Nicholas Epley carefully explains many of the difficulties we face in knowing what each of us know, offering many insights into the puzzle of getting on better with others. Who doesn't want to solve that puzzle?

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Too much personal political bias

What would have made Mindwise better?

I wanted to read a non fiction science book. What I got was tedious and irrelevant American politics. I haven't finished yet I am tempted to just delete it.

Would you ever listen to anything by Nicholas Epley again?

No.

What three words best describe Nicholas Epley’s performance?

He can read aloud.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Mindwise?

All the tedious vomit-inducing sick-making times Epley displays his 'good', 'virtuous' and 'righteous' biases. Its kinda funny that Epley appears to infer that President Obama has empathy superpowers - hahahahaha!

Any additional comments?

Avoid this book if you have high blood pressure and are politically anywhere to the right of Pol Pot. Just avoid it if you cannot stand authors who want to ram their politics down your throat.

3 people found this helpful

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  • LJ Burr
  • 18-04-15

Great insight into our social mind...

Dr. Epley provides great insight into our ability to understand and misunderstand those around us and even ourselves. Through easy to understand real life examples and practical explanations of research that refutes and verifies "common sense" psychology you will come away better informed. The practical implications at the end of the book are profound at both personal and societal levels. Highly recommended. - LJ Burr, MD

2 people found this helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 12-05-14

Finally gave up - no real point

What would have made Mindwise better?

To have some type of overall vision or concept of what the main goal of book is. The content is REALLY out there. I apply this type of concept every day but saw nothing really revealing and, in some areas, felt the points being made were completely subjective and not based on much experience

What was most disappointing about Nicholas Epley’s story?

The constant rattling off of statistics with no real basis or conclusions that were helpful

What aspect of Nicholas Epley’s performance would you have changed?

It was fairly bland..... it didn't help the statistics become any more interesting... Obviously written from the VERY annalytical perspective with zero consideration for versitility to add any different views for non-analytical readers.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

To be honest, it never grabbed me at all and I just stopped about 1/4 of the way through.. I tried to give it a chance but just didn't see anything relevent to the title.

Any additional comments?

The publisher's summary definitely should be a bit more "real" in terms of the discription, which actually got me to buy it. If there was a way to return this one, I definitely would.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Patrick Johnson
  • 09-11-16

Understand your not a mind reader

There were a few thinking points. But for me there was nothing new, inspiring, nor did I feel the urge to change anything.
My take away was that you don't understand people even those close to you as well as you think. You should ask directly rather than assume what others are thinking . So being mind wise is to realize the gaps in communication and the other persons understanding of that information.

2 people found this helpful

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  • CC
  • 11-05-14

Fresh, entertaining and very informative

Nick Epley does a wonderful narration of his book. At times I felt I was in his class -- he cites research after research study -- you'd think it would be boring, but not the way he tells it. If you're interested in human behavior, you'll get a lot out of this. Another plus: Professor Epley's passion for this body of knowledge and his warm heart come right through his voice.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Phillip Fitzsimmons
  • 02-06-20

This book provides food for thought

This book is a book on psychology, not a self-help book. It provides food for thought that might make a difference in the reader/listener’s life.

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  • Jaroslav
  • 20-05-20

Worth my time, good information

It's short, well structured and interesting to me. Very valuable sum up of essential part of cognition.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-05-20

I Don't Know Me. I Really Don't Know You.

Nicholas Epley did a fine job combining research and personal stories and anecdotes to complement what he talked about in his book. I was able to take away some valuable learning lessons. I learned that we may not know our own minds as thorough as we think we do. And if we don't know our own minds well, how are we supposed to fully understand the minds of others? Nicholas taught me that it is very likely people are not thinking about me as much as I may think they are. Several points in here led me to get out of my own head and assume less, and instead, ask more. Get perspective instead of guessing what someone else's perspective may be. Our sixth sense - the ability to understand the mind of another - is one of the greatest tools we have, but we may think it more accurate than it actually is. The book definitely ended on a high note. I was able to take away several helpful notes and pointers that I will refer back to.

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  • Tonya Heavener
  • 18-05-20

Thought provoking

This study into mindfulness helped me refocus my thoughts and my management skills to better myself

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda Bean Merker
  • 26-01-19

Understand Minds!

This was an easy listen with lots of practical info about how and why we misunderstand others and how to improve.

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  • Ceci
  • 13-02-18

I do recommend!

This really is a very helpful book! Understanding/Respecting others Points of Views and different Perspectives.