Thursday, December 21, 2017

Ten top books about the unconscious

John Bargh is a social psychologist and one of the world’s leading experts on the unconscious mind. His research has appeared in over 170 publications, as well as in Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. In 2014, he received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association. He is currently the James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology at Yale University and director of the ACME (Automaticity in Cognition, Motivation, and Evaluation) laboratory. Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do is his first book.

One of Bargh's top ten books on the variety of unconscious influences in everyday life, as shared at the Guardian:
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (1984)

In a quite different take on the existential question of personal control, Kundera explores the impact that chance events have on the courses of our lives. The central incident, how Teresa and Tomas first met in the Zurich train station, is a love story “born of six improbable fortuities” that could so easily not have happened at all. Kundera’s existential point reaches deeply – even into those mundane spheres of life where we feel free from other forms of control, by government or police, for example. Even here, he shows, our lives are still significantly shaped by chance factors equally out of our control.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is among Amor Towles's six favorite books, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's top ten wartime love stories, and Olen Steinhauer's six favorite books. Lee Child called The Unbearable Lightness of Being "his private pick for the 20th–century novel that will live the longest." John Mullan includes it among ten of the best visits to the lavatory in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue