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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of How to be Human: The Manual written and read by Ruby Wax with Ash Ranpura and Gelong Thubten.

It took us 4 billion years to evolve to where we are now. No question, anyone reading this has won the evolutionary Hunger Games by the fact you're on all twos and not some fossil. This should make us all the happiest species alive, yet most of us aren't. What's gone wrong? We've started treating ourselves more like machines and less like humans. We're so used to upgrading things like our iPhones: as soon as the new one comes out, we don't think twice, we dump it. (Many people I know are now on iWife4 or iHusband8, the motto being, if it's new, it's better.)

We can't stop the future from arriving, no matter what drugs we're on. But even if nearly every part of us becomes robotic, we'll still, fingers crossed, have our minds, which, hopefully, we'll be able to use for things like compassion rather than chasing what's 'better', and if we can do that we're on the yellow brick road to happiness.

I wrote this book with a little help from a monk, who explains how the mind works and also gives some mindfulness exercises, and a neuroscientist who explains what makes us 'us' in the brain. We answer every question you've ever had about evolution, thoughts, emotions, the body, addictions, relationships, kids, the future and compassion. How to be Human is extremely funny, true and the only manual you'll need to help you upgrade your mind as much as you've upgraded your iPhone.

©2017 Ruby Wax (P)2017 Penguin Books Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Veey enjoyable, insightful and humorous!

I loved listening to this book. Ruby is really funny and made heavy topics seem light and approachable. It was soothing, warming and inspiring.

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loved this book

loved this book. I wish more books had discussions between experts. Super informative. I hope there is a sequel.

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Clarity on mindfulness

This is one of the clearest, helpful books on mindfulness I’ve listened to so far - read brilliantly by Ruby, with additions from Ash and Gelong. I teach mindfulness, and shall be recommending it in all my classes.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-26-18

l am now a little bit in love with Ruby Wax

l am bi polar and have struggled with hospitalisation, depression, psychosis. l am also spiritual, Wax is commendable, her style accesible, honest with good humour. l very much enjoyed how she draws in the knowledge of the monk and neuroscientist, a fascinating and holistic viewpoint. All experts in their fields..all humble and likeable, no high brow pontification..just authentic information sharing. How to be human is full of heart, compassion and kindness, if everyone would read it our world would be a better place...lm off to search more publications penned by Ruby Wax!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Trish
  • 01-30-18

Psychology book with a difference

I listen to lot of Psychology books, but this so different from all the rest.. Ruby and her team have a nice way about telling this story .
Plus having Ruby tell the story made it more true to life with her Monk Friend and Neuro Friend ..
Only down fall their not a PDF to print of for the Mindfulness exercise in Chapter 11

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Rianna
  • 02-02-18

Brilliant

I really enjoyed this book. The conversations between Ruby, the monk & the neuroscientist were a brilliant addition. Very fascinating & highly recommend!!

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • MrsM
  • 03-01-18

Another fantastic book from Ruby

This book definitely lived up to expectations. Having listened to Ruby’s other books I was unsure if this may feel like ‘more of the same’. Whilst there was overlap with the others, there was also a lot of fresh content. I loved the idea of three contributors with various perspectives and I thoroughly enjoyed the wisdom of the monk and the neuroscientist. I did find the humorous exchanges between the three a little forced. What they were saying was engaging enough on its own, the choreographed jokes weren’t needed. That’s me being picky though. Overall the book was fantastic. Interesting, informative and very touching. Ruby bravely opens up about her own challenges and the chapter around her ‘who do you think you are’ journey were incredibly moving. I love her raw honesty and of course her humour is always on point.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Gwen Kennedy
  • 02-02-18

love this refreshing book ,a school with wit👏

Loved it many deep belly, laugh out loud moments.
Accessible Humerous , Scientific and Wise minds within these pages.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 01-29-18

Brilliant a must read/listen Mindfulness Magically captured

Insightful, Delightful & Ruby Wax on form delivering nuggets of knowledge - loved listening to Ash & Thubten give their insights - a must have listen for any human 👍🙏❤️

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • 01-30-18

great book - twins hard science with mindfulness

Where does How to Be Human: The Manual rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I found this the best of Ruby Wax's books so far, it was interesting and easy to listen to and brought everything together with the examples from the monk and the neuroscientist.

What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Be Human: The Manual?

I liked the explanations by the monk and the neuroscientist as if you have a scientific mind it explained where different emotions and impulses reside in your physical brain and how they can make you ill, but also it showed the monk could explain the same events in a mindfulness way so brought the two disciplines together rather than them seeming to be on different planets. This is good as most books are either about science or mindfulness and this gels together both.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

You get a much better feel when you can hear the narrators voices than if you read the book because they are the authors, if it was someone else narrating it would not have this effect but books where the author/authors narrate are always cool.

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

yes but then I'd get frazzled so I did 3 sittings as its lots of information but still easy on the ear/brain

Any additional comments?

I laughed lots a few times and this is what sets it apart from other books on mindfulness and makes it much easier to think about what can be uncomfortable feelings

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • M S Rowe
  • 03-11-18

Mind the gap

It was an entertaining book to listen to. Ruby and her contributors were warm and wise but I found it a bit general and when Ruby described the male population as either alpha or beta I felt like it had rolled about 10years backwards in terms of human understanding. I thought this was about how to be 'human' and although I understand there are some general differences between the sexes, I think these might be more hormonal and cultural than neurological.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • lucinda davies
  • 01-30-18

it's definitely ruby's show

it's definitely ruby's show loved it feel very human. Def recommend it to any one

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 06-11-18

Be mindful of the mindfulness

If you are new to mindfulness, like I am, you will find a lot to like about this part self help part memoir from Ruby Wax.

Across the course of this audiobook you will learn about emotions and thoughts and the input from the neuroscientist and the monk give each chapter both a science and spiritual slant. This approach is excellent as if you are very scientific but sceptical of the spiritual (Or visa versa) this can give you different perspectives and really explain why everyone could do with being a bit more mindful most of the time.

This is then peppered with some of Ruby Wax's own experiences that add that human side that I found incredibly relatable.

The performance by the three narrators are excellent and they seem to have a real chemistry which comes across excellently throughout the book.

My only complaint is while the chapters on emotions and thoughts were very interesting the chapters on parenthood and relationships felt more like musings by Ruby rather than scientific studies and facts.

This wont be a bad thing for everyone but it was the mindfulness side of things I was really interested in rather than self help advice on day to day life.

Excellent nonetheless.

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  • Alina
  • 03-10-18

Extradinary humility

Ruby, you are a star. Not only have you shown great humility sharing your own painful experiences, but you have done so whilst balancing a wonderful trifecta of story tellers. Keeping it real and keeping it amusing..loved it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-04-18

Disappointed

This book was confusing. I have no clue how the title is meant to relate to the actual content and felt this was more a biography on ruby wax or her opinion on how to live that was not at all relevant to mindfulness or compassion. I found Ruby’s attempts at humour frustrating as they diverged hugely from the intended content of the book. I felt the same book could have been written a quarter of the size and it would still be ‘beating around the bush’. I didn’t like the conversational style of writing with the neuroscientist and the monk and ruby and personally found ruby difficult to continue to
listen to as she goes on at length about her own life or puts others down (her co-writers, therapists, etc). I think the gems of the book were the neuroscientist and monks input but that ruby was like the unwanted comedian of the book.
Nothing personal against ruby but I felt this book was awful. There are much better books out there that are way better written and with better content. A personal favourite: ‘why Buddhism is true’.
This book might be good for some but it definitely wasn’t good for me. Unfortunately, I’ll be returning it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-25-18

Annoying

I found the author to be very irritating. Her attempt at humour was not amusing and her attitude condescending. I could not finish it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Henry Harris
  • 02-10-18

excellent book. <br /><br />

gives you great insight into the human condition. makes me feel im not alone. other people suffer and have similiar emotions, thoughts and feelings