Reviews of Strangers to Ourselves:
Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious

(Harvard University Press)

"Strangers to Ourselves" . . . is what popular psychology ought to be (and rarely is): thoughtful, beautifully written, and full of unexpected insights. -Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

There is much here to arouse interest and provoke thought in any reader . . . the writing is clear and engaging, and the subject matter is illuminating and entertaining . . . it would be a very dull reader who was not roused by this book into a close self-examination. -Jo Lawson, Times Literary Supplement

Timothy Wilson...offers a charming, talkative and yet authoritative review of how it became clear that most of what happens inside us is not perceptible by us. . . Strangers to Ourselves is certainly worth reading and reflecting upon. --Tor Norrentronders, New Scientist

This book is written in an informative style that should be very accessible to the general reader, yet because it is well based on research it should also be of interest to clinicians and academics. For those interested in mind and consciousness, this book will be a complimentary and thought-provoking read. ---Keith S. Harris, The Human Nature Review

This book offers an intricate combination of page-turning reading, cutting-edge research, and philosophical debate. . . Highly recommended. --R. E. Osborne, Choice

Wilson convincingly argues that our conscious minds are but the tip of the iceberg in deciding how we behave, what is important to us, and how we feel. . . Capable of everything from problem solving and narrative construction to emotional reaction and prediction, the adaptive unconscious is a powerful and pervasive element of our whole personalities. Indeed, it may be the primary element of our personalities, controlling our real motivations, judgments, and actions...A fascinating read. --David Valencia, Library Journal

Wilson's book is surely a must read for social theorists of all stripes. For example, political scientists and economists in particular, have as much to gain from Wilson, as, do his fellow psychologists and philosophers of psychology. -Paul A. Wagner, Metapsychology Online Book Reviews

Translating academic work for a popular audience is "very explicitly" his mission, Gladwell said . . . In "Blink," he cited "Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious" (2002), a lucid, readable book by the noted psychologist Timothy Wilson, which he called "a real inspiration" and one of his favorite books. -Rachel Donadio, "The Gladwell Effect," New York Times Book Review

The unforced conversational writing style of this book shouldn't be allowed to mask the audacity of its scope. Wilson, a social psychologist, starts with a friendly but forceful invitation to psychoanalysis to reconsider its methods and metaphors in the light of psychology's research-based advances in understanding the relationship between the conscious and non-conscious selves. . . This is an enlightening and optimistic book which will stay in my mind. I'm glad to have read it. --Francis Norton from Brixton, London, United Kingdom (posted on

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