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Strangers to Ourselves

Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious
Narrated by: Joe Barrett
Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (62 ratings)

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Summary

In an eye-opening tour of the unconscious, as contemporary psychological science has redefined it, Timothy D. Wilson introduces us to a hidden mental world of judgments, feelings, and motives that introspection may never show us. This is not your psychoanalyst's unconscious. The adaptive unconscious that empirical psychology has revealed, and that Wilson describes, is much more than a repository of primative drives and conflict-ridden memories. It is a set of pervasive, sophisticated mental processes that size up our worlds, set goals, and initiate action, all while we are consciously thinking about something else. If we don't know ourselves -- our potentials, feelings, or motives -- it is most often, Wilson tells us, because we have developed a plausible story about ourselves that is out of touch with our adaptive unconscious. Citing evidence that too much introspection can actually do damage, Wilson makes the case for better ways of discovering our unconscious selves. If you want to know who you are or what you feel or what you're like, Wilson advises, pay attention to what you actually do and what other people think about you. Showing us an unconscious more powerful that Freud's, and even more pervasive in our daily life, Strangers to Ourselves marks a revolution in how we know ourselves. The book is published by Harvard University Press.

©2002 the President and Fellows of Harvard College (P)2011 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"[Wilson's] book is what popular psychology ought to be (and rarely is): thoughtful, beautifully written, and full of unexpected insights." (Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker)

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  • Lynn
  • 27-10-12

Interesting, engaging, entertaining, informative

Don’t pick up Timothy Wilson’s Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious thinking it might be a self-help book. It is really a serious consideration of the unconscious mind readily available to the general reader. Similarly, this is a departure from the psychoanalytical approach to the unconscious although Wilson does speak to that point of view. Rather, this book will open the reader’s eyes to current empirical understanding of the unconscious and seeks to answer the question, how might we access the knowledge contained there? The short answer is that we can’t (yet?) tap into the unconscious. However, Wilson provides a number ways that we might access that knowledge indirectly. The book is interesting, engaging, and informative. At least take a few minutes to thumb through a few pages or sign-up for a sample. You just might find it more entertaining and helpful than you envisioned. The reading of Joe Barrett is very good.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Lea Zimmerman
  • 23-03-12

know thyself!

If you aren't terrified to learn you may have little clue as to why you do much of what you do, you will likely enjoy and glean a lot from this serious, but understandable study of human nature and interactions.

9 people found this helpful

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  • peter fuller
  • 25-11-16

eye opening book

listened to book two times back to back because it is very helpful. life application of content is pure gold.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-06-19

Possibly Preaching to the Choir

I enjoyed listening to this book. It reconfirmed a lot of my own ideals on the way we work. However it has inversely interested me in the critism of opposing theories. I admit I am biased towards works of Pinker and Kahneman and wish to challenge these agreements to further my own interpretations.

That aside, the work was well written, anecdotes were poignant/relevant and not gratuitous and the syntax was easy to follow and provided a cohesive message. I wish Wilson had more publications.

Have a great day everyone.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ryan
  • 11-01-20

incredibly informative and eye opening

this is a very information dense book, but it's all very interesting and thought provoking.

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  • Shane Kaeo
  • 23-12-19

Excellent listen and will have you thinking a lot

This book pairs well with "Thinkg fast and slow" by Daniel Kahneman if you want to go further down the rabbit hole. Enjoy

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  • Adel D. Alghamdi
  • 13-04-18

Great details

I enjoyed the research based facts and all the provided real life examples. Highly recommended !!

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  • Robert Hodson
  • 23-01-18

must read. blink was inspired by this.

read this because Gladwell apparently read this and wrote Blink. he missed the mark. this is the rest of the story.

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  • Behzad
  • 19-07-17

Nice book to read

It was a nice book. Understanding the difference s between concious and subconscious mind very​ well described and the way that they can be identified. after finishing the book it is easy to unleash the traped power of boldness and understand why we are limiting ourselves​.

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  • Jazz Clubz
  • 14-07-16

Great research report.

I learned about my personal biases and how to spot them. It's an interesting material to listen to in your free time.