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The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives, by Shankar Vedantam Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (330 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Shankar Vedantam Narrator: Steve West Publisher: Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Most of us would agree that there’s a clear—and even obvious—connection between the things we believe and the way we behave. But what if our actions are driven not by our conscious values and beliefs but by hidden motivations we’re not even aware of?
 
The “hidden brain” is Shankar Vedantam’s shorthand for a host of brain functions, emotional responses, and cognitive processes that happen outside our conscious awareness but have a decisive effect on how we behave. The hidden brain has its finger on the scale when we make all our most complex and important decisions: It decides whom we fall in love with, whether we should convict someone of murder, and which way to run when someone yells “Fire!” It explains why we can become riveted by the story of a single puppy adrift on the ocean but are quickly bored by a story of genocide. The hidden brain can also be deliberately manipulated to convince people to vote against their own interests, or even become suicide terrorists. But the most disturbing thing is that it does all this without our knowing.
Shankar Vedantam, author of The Washington Post’s popular “Department of Human Behavior” column, takes us on a tour of this phenomenon and explores its consequences. Using original reporting that combines the latest scientific research with compulsively readable narratives that take readers from the American campaign trail to terrorist indoctrination camps, from the World Trade Center on 9/11 to, yes, a puppy adrift on the Pacific Ocean, Vedantam illuminates the dark recesses of our minds while making an original argument about how we can compensate for our blind spots—and what happens when we don’t.

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Listener Reviews

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Review by Diane | 2/8/2014

    " This has been the most amazing book because it impacts the way you think about most everything. I am partial to fictional works but this is written in such a way that the stories illustrate the science behind the book. Our unconscious thoughts are truly what runs our world and only through awareness of the way it works will we change how we make our decisions. The last chapter on the telescoping mind is really a stunner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Review by Bryan Kim | 2/3/2014

    " An immensely readable primer on the latest research into the unconscious minds. While a little light on science and a little heavy on conclusion-jumping, I none-the-less found Vedantam's assumptions reasonable. Like Malcolm Gladwell, Vedantam is gifted at interspersing and pacing the right anecdote to drive home a concept, without getting too personal. Definitely a good intro to the emerging study of the human unconscious. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Review by JulieK | 1/31/2014

    " Some interesting stuff, but the book feels a bit meandering. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Review by Kimberly Wiggins | 1/20/2014

    " It's incredible - really brings to light a lot of our unconscious biases and why we do things. "

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About the Narrator

Steve West is an actor of international standing. He is known for his appearances on London’s West End Stage in Mamma Mia!, contemporary plays, and Shakespearean classics. He has appeared in Hollywood movies and on television screens in the United States and the United Kingdom and performed for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. His work has also been screened at the Cannes International Film Festival.