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
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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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Lynn on 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.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Lea Zimmerman on 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.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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