The Invisible Gorilla

  • by Christopher Chabris, Daniel Simons
  • Narrated by Dan Woren
  • 9 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Reading this book will make you less sure of yourself - and that's a good thing. In The Invisible Gorilla, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, creators of one of psychology's most famous experiments, use remarkable stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to demonstrate an important truth: Our minds don't work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we're actually missing a whole lot.
Chabris and Simons combine the work of other researchers with their own findings on attention, perception, memory, and reasoning to reveal how faulty intuitions often get us into trouble. In the process, they explain:


Why a company would spend billions to launch a product that its own analysts know will fail
How a police officer could run right past a brutal assault without seeing it
Why award-winning movies are full of editing mistakes
What criminals have in common with chess masters
Why measles and other childhood diseases are making a comeback
Why money managers could learn a lot from weather forecasters
The Invisible Gorilla reveals the myriad ways that our intuitions can deceive us, but its much more than a catalog of human failings. Chabris and Simons explain why we succumb to these everyday illusions and what we can do to inoculate ourselves against their effects. Ultimately, the book provides a kind of x-ray vision into our own minds, making it possible to pierce the veil of illusions that clouds our thoughts and to think clearly for perhaps the first time.

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What the Critics Say

"From courtrooms to bedrooms to boardrooms, this fascinating book shows how psychological illusions bedevil every aspect of our public and private lives. An owner's manual for the human mind!" (Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and New York Times best-selling author of Stumbling Upon Happiness)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Recognizing your illusions

This book is namved after the now famious experimental video where a you get so focussed on coating the number of times a ball is bounced, that a person in a gorilla suit walks slowly through the scene (even stops and waves to you) and is not noticed at all! This has been followed by another video where the screen background changes color and a person leaves the group and neither is noticed!! This is the illusion of changing blindeess. We are often completely blind to things that we are not expecting - like a person in a gorilla suit walking in the middle of a video..did you know in a court room scene in the movie Jagged Edge, that Glen Close outfit changes 3 times while she is front of the jury and no one notices? These are exceptional demonstrations of how our minds can mislead us.

The authors provide their own theories and experiments to support their theories to answer questions like:

Why do eyewitness to the same event have completely different memories of what they saw?
Why do we trust people who exude confidence? Is this trust well placed?
Why won't some parents get their children innoculated for measles? Is this behavior warranted?
Does listenining to Mozart really make you smarter? How did this believe start?
Why would Hillary Clinton lie about being shot at when their was video to disprove her?

These questions are addressed in the chapters that include:
Chapter 1 - Illusion of Attention. Blinded to changes we are not looking for
Chapter 2 - Illusion of Memory. We believe our memories are better than they really are
Chapter 3 - Illusion of Confidence. Our misplaced trust in associating confidence with competence.
Chapter 4 - Illusion of Knowledge.
Chapter 5 - Illusion of Cause. Mixing up associations and correlations.
Chapter 6 - Illusion of Potential. Why we believe that there are simple methods to unlock our potential. Like classical music will make us smarter.
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- Stephen

Great Overview over Hygiene of Perception

The authors of this book are master teachers. The clarity of their presentation is excellent. Like school, though, this comes at times at the cost of being a little bit longish. This is especially so, since, if you are interested in this subject at all or merely in touch with popular knowledge, you will know most of the 'surprising' studies already. I did find, though, that in many cases, they would offer that extra bit of interesting information, debunk or logic to a finding that made it more complete. (In written form this would be even more useful, as one would be able to look these things up later on.)
The book is scientifically rigorous and doesn't fear naming 'transgressions' against good thinking by Malcolm Gladwell and others. Still, the authors manage to not come across as entirely negative geeks and offer some useful conclusions. Nonetheless, this work is not inspirational in any classic sense of the word.
Consider it an overview or a high quality review of perceptive follies and you will be very satisfied. The quality of the reading is excellent.
Originality: 7
Clarity: 10
Reading: 9.9
Usefulness: 8.5
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- Joseph

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-18-2010
  • Publisher: Random House Audio