Book review: The scientific explanation for mind vs heart situations

“The Chimp Paradox: The Acclaimed Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness” by Steve Peters

There are two phrases, among others, that I like to live by. The first is “if you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it change your attitude towards it.” And the second one is “you can’t control how you feel, but you can control how you react to it.” These two phrases have Chimp Paradox written all over it, and this book is pretty much the great elaboration of the phrases.

Derive his fact-based theories from neurological researches and decades of experience, Prof Steve Peters analyses the mechanism of the brain between the Frontal (the logical Human), the Limbic (the emotional Chimp) and Parietal (the memory-storing Computer), and how different functions of these 3 can conflict and/or complement each others to produce our thinking process and decision making process.

Surprisingly, for such a complex subject matter this book is really a light reading, which is written in a simple and concise way using easy to digest symbols, diagrams and bullet points. But yet, when I tried to read more on neuobiology as a follow up, I can somehow keep up with the complicated and serious stuff thanks to the understanding from this book.

It is by far the book that I highlighted the most, with every single line seems to be important, and it is so psychologically spot on that it feels like it is tailored on the conflicts between my own Human and Chimp. It also gives me huge understanding on how to differentiate between the Human and the Chimp in people around me (and how to engage to them accordingly), and it even has given me a clear and simple solutions to some of my, my family’s, and friends’ real problems. 5 stars!

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