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Publisher's Summary

Every day of your life is spent surrounded by mysteries that involve what appear to be rather ordinary human behaviors. What makes you happy? Where did your personality come from? Why do you have trouble controlling certain behaviors? Why do you behave differently as an adult than you did as an adolescent?

Since the start of recorded history, and probably even before, people have been interested in answering questions about why we behave the way we do. And many fields - including philosophy, psychology, and even theology - are focused on finding explanations. But it's only in recent decades that researchers can finally approach, understand, and solve the mysteries of emotion, thought, and behavior - solutions that help each of us to better know ourselves and the people around us. The result is not only a more solid understanding of what it means to be human, but a stronger foundation from which to live more effectively with others and to grasp their intricate behaviors and quirks.

Now you can gain those benefits through a series of 24 intriguing lectures from an award-winning teacher. Professor Leary takes you on a fascinating journey into the complex heart of who you are, using the latest theories, case studies, experiments, and stories to cast light on a wide variety of human behaviors, both ordinary and puzzling.

Throughout these lectures, you'll learn about the various interacting forces that influence your behavior. These include your genetic blueprint, your personal experiences, your upbringing, and the people and social groups that surround you.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Nowhere near the depth of typical Great Courses

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who is interested in psychology using this as the very first introduction. The lecturer did a fantastic job with voice modulation and enthusiasm, so I waited a long time for it to improve.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The course sounds fascinating, but it doesn't even go into the depth of a high school biology course when evoking biological explanations. The psychology and neurology were of similar disappointments

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment in the level and material

Any additional comments?

The Great Courses typically provide a great college lecture set finding a good level of depth and interest. One lump of coal in the diamonds.

72 of 81 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating and Enlighting Insights

What made the experience of listening to Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior the most enjoyable?

What I liked most was the way he explained topics. It helped me to have new insights. He shared some great insights on some commonly held beliefs about how people find happiness. His analysis of how we behave in society, communicate and see ourselves was very interesting. He debunks some widely held ideas with strong, logical argument. It's interesting to see how often popular ideas on self-help are close, but not quite right. For example, the popular belief that if we can just instill in a person more self esteem, they will act and think in a more positive way. He points out that it's an individuals positive actions, that are socially valued, constructive and helpful to others, that create the persons self esteem, not creating more self esteem in the person creating more positive behavior. I love the insights I am getting from the lectures. Worth the purchase price to me.

What did you like best about this story?

The descriptions were interesting and I had many "I see!" moments.

What about Professor Mark Leary’s performance did you like?

Interested in what he is talking about makes him interesting to listen to for the audience.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Couple "I can relate" laughs. :-)

Any additional comments?

A really good combination of recreational, enjoyed listening and informational, I learned new things I can apply in life.

31 of 35 people found this review helpful

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It's average but not exciting

Material not in-depth enough for my taste. Fine if you just want a brief overview.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

The title of the book is SPOT ON

Where does Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

For understanding human behavior, it is at the top of the list, a must have for anyone interested in why people behave and feel the way they do and the purposes those behaviors and feelings are trying to serve that compels us to do them.

Any additional comments?

I'll keep this simple, this is a MUST have book on human behavior and psychology, the most clear and intuitive explanations I have heard from any teacher. Not only that but he achieves a perfect balance of keeping it simple and easy to understand with giving the evidence and proofs for why those things are thought to be correct. This is a book I will listen to more than once.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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The best money i've ever spent

Would you listen to Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior again? Why?

I plan to listen to this book a number of times. The amount of insight and knowledge that I've gain from this is astounding.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior?

The lectures are put together so that topics being presented in a chapter, build on the chapter before. A very good and clear way to communicate what is being said so that it is understood perfectly.

Any additional comments?

This book brought an incredible amount of insight on why we do what we do and why we do it the way we do it. I've been looking for a book like this for a long time and I think Prof Leary has put together something incredible in this audiobook. I hope to read more of his books in the future.

24 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Not so enlightening

I expected more from this book! I was aware of most of these theories and I don't consider myself very educated about psychology in general. Radiolab and a few readings of Scientific American Minds provided me we much more. But probably a good introduction for anyone without a scientific culture. I'd recommend it to people who might be skeptical of science as it makes a good point for evolution.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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An easy-to-digest synthesis of up-to-date research

What did you love best about Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior?

The most valuable elements are the frequent references to modern research and studies whose conclusions often times contradict our deepest intuitions. Disabusing ourselves of these misleading intuitions helps us to more clearly see the reality of what it's like to be us. This lecture series points out human tendencies that even the most introspective may miss. The mind is a machine, and knowing better how that machine operates is something everyone can benefit from.

What about Professor Mark Leary’s performance did you like?

Well-timed pauses, emphasis, pace, and cadence.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, it was just interesting and contained useful information.

Any additional comments?

This being an audio product, I feel it must be said that the professor's inconsistent lisp can be distracting. For instance, it's not uncommon for the following sentence to be spoken like so: "One perthon who experiences stress may react differently than another person exthperiencing the same sthtress." Some S's trip the professor up, others don't. I would have preferred a consistent lisp to an inconsistent one, due to how it pulled my attention away from the interesting things he was saying. Also, schadenfreude is pronounced "shod-en-froy-duh," not "shod-en-froid." For most, this would be nit-picking, but others may find themselves being distracted more by such things. Regardless, this is a worthwhile listen, which is why I gave it 5-stars overall.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting lectures

If you could sum up Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior in three words, what would they be?

enlightening
Linear
Entertaining

If you’ve listened to books by The Great Courses before, how does this one compare?

This is a good course. The only issue is identifying the lectures in one continuous file. A better breakdown like the other courses is needed.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Gary
  • Las Cruces, NM, United States
  • 03-27-18

Substantial take on being human

Life, genetics and behavior explain human nature. Our behavior is shaped by the physical and the social interactions and our thoughts and feelings make us human beings. This course covers a large part of the human experience and will save a listener from wading through countless vapid TED talks. In general, I detest TED talks due to their vapidity since they usually contain thoughts without content and do nothing but waste my time. As flattery is nothing but language without content, TED talks are almost always science without substance. This lecture covers the same kind of material, but the lecturer provides science, context, substance and has nothing to sell but learning for its own sake.

A broad swath of material is covered. For example, he will say except for obvious physical characteristics the really only big behavioral differences between men and women are men tend to be more aggressive and women tend to be more agreeable. Overall it is wrong headed to think that men are from Venus and women are from Mars. There were some points that I did disagree with from the lectures. I’ve always rejected the significance of the Ganzfeld telepathy results ever since I’ve first heard about them, but that very well could be a fault with me because of my narrow ‘no true Scotsman fallacy’ that I have. That is, I tend to reject all telepathy experiments prima facie because I have such a closed mind on the supernatural and supersensible and any experiment that demonstrates telepathy must not be a true scientific experiment (hence the Scotsman fallacy that I clearly have). I’m going to try to make an effort to be opened minded and consider the evidence more fairly in the future. (BTW, wiki tells me the Ganzfeld experiments haven’t been replicated. I’m still skeptical of them in spite of what the lecturer says about them).

Overall a highly informative and entertaining set of lectures and very well could save many wasted hours wading through self serving superficial TED talks

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting - not boring

Sometimes I find the Great Courses lectures a bit boring or not what I had hoped for. Not this one! It was a very informative lecture series on the introduction to the subject. I learned a lot!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Johnny
  • 10-03-16

Good start

This gives a good over view of behaviour letting the reader decide areas of interest it's well delivered and well researched, I recommend it for the start of an interest in people

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephenodonnell
  • 04-22-17

Insightful, Stunningly Good

Could not put this audio book down. Learned so much about human nature and the drivers for behaviour - life changing insights.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • J C Perrett
  • 09-22-15

Outstanding, concise information

This was a very concise description of many aspects of human psychology. Unlike many books on the subject it cuts to the char very quickly. Highly recommended.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Jim McCrory
  • Jim McCrory
  • 03-27-16

A journey into human irrationality

Where does Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I am a big fan of The Great Courses; this is one of the best I have listened to with regard to personal enjoyment and understanding.

What other book might you compare Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior to, and why?

Irrationality, Sutherland, Stuart

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

A thorough coverage of the subject of the mysteries of human behaviour.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Intellectually stimulating.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandie
  • 02-03-16

Engaging, relevant and can't put down!

This is such a great collection of social psychology topics which is both informative and interesting. I love the way that Mark Leary instantly engages you with a relevant question of life, which makes you want to learn more. The topics are easy to grasp and a brilliant introduction to wet your appetite to ibis more about social psychology. Loved it!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bee
  • 08-25-17

Easy to Listen to

Clear, entertaining, bite size explanations of why we do what we do. Really enjoyed it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • karenfitzy
  • 05-16-16

It's an interesting listen. Made me think.

Makes you think outside your own wee world.
Doesn't preech but offers theories. Like the may it was presented. Thank you

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. M. D. Gorov
  • 04-02-18

amazing!

highly recommend this one!!! One of the best courses thus far! Loved the part on neuroscience.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sina Madani
  • Sina Madani
  • 03-27-18

Some useful lectures

At first I rated this 1 star as I learnt nothing from the first few chapters. There's was nothing profound or interesting, and much repetition. Some of the lectures just state the obvious. However after skipping those I found the lectures on stress, self control, anger and others to be particularly insightful.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • AmazonUser
  • 03-17-18

Insightful

I have found this an enjoyable, informative and fun listen. Answers a few questions we all have.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jon
  • 02-17-16

Great listen, highly recommended to anyone

Great read well worth the listen. Would encourage anyone interested in behaviour to listen to this

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bradley
  • 06-15-16

Very interesting

Great explanation of the science of human behaviour. Good insights from an economists point of view.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Annabel
  • Annabel
  • 05-25-16

Interesting Read

Any additional comments?

Clearly, credibly and concisely explained the background to a number of common human behaviours. I found it very though provoking, and a good base to identify any areas I might want to deep dive into next.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bill Ruys
  • Bill Ruys
  • 05-11-16

Interesting, but does not go very deep.

I was expecting something a little deeper and technical than what was in this course. I would call this an introduction to human psychology. A little dumbed down for my liking.

A lot of the information seemed like common sense or common knowledge to me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 07-05-17

Very interesting and fascinating

A well presented audio book that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in the human brain, why we do what we do and think the way we do

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Natasha
  • 03-17-17

Easy to understand

very interesting and easy to listen to. Understanding some of the concepts spoken about has helped in everyday situations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for PANKAJ DESAI
  • PANKAJ DESAI
  • 02-27-18

Solving Deep Mysteries of Mind<br />

I loved this book. It brings us face to face many Whys we have asked all through life. Though it answers some but also through deep understanding of its focus tries to suggest answers to many others.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-11-18

Boring narration

If the narrator had more expression then story would have been interesting enough to listen