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Publisher's 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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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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.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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eye opening book

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

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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​.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 09-21-16

Why do I do what I do and why I should know.

Where does Strangers to Ourselves rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

nothing like Freud or other pyschology books I've read so far. It gives you the evidence, gives you the theory, opposing arguments, how it can apply to you and situations where it works and doesnt work.

What did you like best about this story?

learning about why i thought that why and how i can change that and in turn change what i do subconsciously.

What three words best describe Joe Barrett’s performance?

old school. scientific. matter of fact

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

who are you really

Any additional comments?

If you journal, think you're introvert or confused to about who you are, where you came fromand ask why you do things even though you know bettem. this is for you