The Self Illusion

  • by Bruce Hood
  • Narrated by Bruce Hood
  • 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Self Illusion provides a fascinating examination of how the latest science shows that our individual concept of a self is in fact an illusion. Most of us believe that we possess a self - an internal individual who resides inside our bodies, making decisions, authoring actions and possessing free will. The feeling that a single, unified, enduring self inhabits the body is compelling and inescapable. But that sovereignty of the self is increasingly under threat from science as our understanding of the brain advances.


What the Critics Say

“Fascinating, timely and important ... Hood's presentation of the science behind our supersense is crystal clear and utterly engaging” (New Scientist)
“Wonderful. Illuminating. Full of insight, beauty, and humor. Get to know thyself” (David Eagleman, author of Sum)
“Startling and engrossing” (Robin Ince)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I began this audiobook with high hopes. Here was a new book arguing for a radical and boldly counterintuitive thesis, namely that the very center of our conscious existence, our sense of self, is an illusion. If there ever was a claim worthy of a book-length defense, this would surely be it.

Sadly, however, the book fell far short of my expectations. In fact, the author spent very little time at all making the (probably very difficult) case for the "self illusion," and instead used this topic as a platform for talking about pretty much anything he seemed interested in, from how the internet is shaping our brains to the psychology of laughter. Basically, the book reads like a low-level tour of psychology, with topics only loosely (and sometimes not at all) connected to the topic of "the self," broadly construed. As a basic introduction to psychology for extremely lay audiences, it succeeds fairly well. As a cogent argument for the illusion of selfhood, it fails abysmally.

Worse still, even if you are looking for an introduction to psychology, I would not waste your credit on this, as most of the material covered has already been covered more thoroughly and more entertainingly in other works, like "Predictably Irrational," "How the Mind Works," "The Happiness Hypothesis," or "The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking."

And as if this weren't enough bad news for "The Self Illusion," Bruce Hood unfortunately succumbed to the "authors make better narrators" fallacy, and the book suffered greatly for it. Hood's voice is dull and plodding, adding very little life to the text, and his faint scottish accent was slightly distracting at times.
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- David

provides exciting insite into the mind

What did you love best about The Self Illusion?

Bruce (also the author) has an excellent voice and keen perspectives.

Which character – as performed by Bruce Hood – was your favorite?

The brain

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

It was very exciting, listening to it

Any additional comments?

Good for anyone wanting psychology or neuroscience information.

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- David G. McDivitt "dgm"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-01-2012
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks