A Mind of Its Own
A Mind of Its Own: How your brain distorts and deceives exposes the mind's deceptions, explores how the mind defends and glorifies the ego, and illustrates the brain's tendency to self-delusion. Whether it be hindsight bias, wishful thinking, unrealistic
optimism, or moral excuse-making, each of us has a slew of inborn mind-bugs and ordinary prejudices that prevent
us from seeing the truth about the world and ourselves.
A Mind of Its
Own was one of twelve books long-listed for the prestigious UK Royal
Society Science prize 2007.
Dr Elisabeth Herschbach, Metapsychology online reviews
"Drawing on a wide range of studies in cognitive psychology, 'A Mind of Its Own' explores each of these shifty traits of the brain in eight engaging, highly readable chapters ... that document in fascinating detail the extent to which the truth-stretching, ego-boosting tactics of the brain keep us well-insulated from reality. ... there's no shortage of interesting material in the book, and Fine ... has a knack for presenting it in a clear, accessible, even humorous way, mixing crisp summaries of the psychological research with lighthearted anecdotes ... that lend a breezy charm to her writing. ... unsettling as it is to realize just how distorted our perception of ourselves and the world may be, 'A Mind Of Its Own' is a thoroughly enjoyable read, as entertaining as it is informative."
"A fascinating, funny, disconcerting and lucid book ... you'll realise that your brain can (and does) run rings
"Fine [is] a cognitive neuroscientist with a sharp sense of humour and an intelligent sense of reality."
Dr Christian Jarrett, BBC Focus
"[a] witty survey ... this natty, well-referenced
book would make an ideal gift for anyone interested in psychology."
"A light and amusing introduction to the brain and how it works on our perceptions and actions."
Los Angeles Times
Alexander McCall Smith
"This is one of the most interesting and amusing accounts of how we think we think - I think."
Dr Tom Stafford, The Psychologist
"accessible ... with an easy style and light wit. ... A Mind of Its Own is a fun introduction to some of the factors that can distort our reasoning."
entertaining tour. ... An edifying exploration, wryly and ruefully expressed."
"Fine writes a more than fine account of how ingenious psychological research methodology has been used to uncover an incredible range of automatic processes that people take for granted and of which many would be unaware and outright deny without direct testing."
"Witty and informative"
"A Mind of Its Own manages to combine thorough research with charm and wit, not an
The Daily Telegraph
"An entertaining tour of current thinking"
Alain de Botton, The Sunday Times
"Consistently well-written and meticulously researched"
Scotland on Sunday
Brian Clegg, Popular Science (website)
"Excellent ... Fine's very engaging and chatty style ... will delight many readers
... Fine has got it just right. Although she is an academic, she writes
like a human being ... All in all this short and enjoyable book is a must
for anyone who wants to get a better understanding of what their brain
gets up to when they aren't watching it. First class." Five stars
"... provocative enough to make you start questioning your each and every action."
"Fine writes with clarity and humour ... [and] offers many insights ... Although her
style is light-hearted and conversational, making for easy reading,
there is a serious side to A Mind of Its Own. It's certainly worth a
read and will probably surprise you."
New Zealand Management
"Dr Fine has a way with words ... She also has a light touch and sense of humour rarely displayed
by those with an alphabet of letters after their name."
Rita Carter (author of
'Mapping the Mind' and 'Exploring
"[A Mind of Its Own] pulls the evidence together in a particularly neat and
revealing way ... Cordelia Fine writes clearly and elegantly and even made
this reader laugh out loud (in public)."
Human Givens Journal
"Fine ... describes with wit and clarity, and without wasting a
single word, the brain's capacity to mislead and distort. It is an expert,
valuable, if whistle-stop, guided tour of what cognitive psychology
reveals to us about the human condition."
"Cordelia Fine lays out in a highly entertaining fashion the myriad ways in which our vain, immoral, pig-headed brains are constantly deceiving us. ...One of the strongest points of this book is the way Fine deftly describes how research is done in psychology. She does not just tell what is known about how the brain deceives, she explains how we know it."
"This is a delightful book, which manages to explain serious science simply, and with
humour. It should be required reading for anyone who thinks they are in
control of their faculties, if only to shatter that illusion. ... Fine's
academic credentials are solid, yet she manages to write for an audience
that extends far beyond the circles of experimental psychologists."
Mail & Guardian
"Fine ... catalogs [our] mental scramble in wry, spirited prose. Fine is ever entertaining on the bigotry
and pigheadedness of those nearest and dearest to her ... [she] succeeds marvelously at a tricky
task - exposing the psychological hijinks and hijacks that propel us forwards."
London Book Review (website)
"... it's entertaining, and it's written in an engaging and none too serious style, but it packs a
punch all the same. ... Fine writes with a light touch, there's a gentle humour and a peppering of
homely anecdotes throughout the book."
Science Books & Films
"We humans often behave in irrational ways, and in this volume, Cordelia Fine explains and elaborates
many of them in a clear, engaging, humorous style. ... Fine has an excellent knack for selecting good
examples from the psychological research and presenting the information clearly
"Filled with quotable stories and interactive ways of how our brain has a buoyant
ego of its own and is not the objective tool we might like to believe."
"Fine is that rare academic who's also an excellent writer. Highly recommended ..."
Dr Bruce Ritson, The Academical
"excellent, witty and informative ... [Fine] has an
admirable gift for making complex issues stimulating and understandable
without losing contact with the underlying painstaking research on which
this understanding is based. ... This book is kindly, recognizes our
human fallibility, and is a delight to read."
University College London Book
"accessible and witty"
The Irish Times
"Fine's flair for the humorous and anecdotal makes this a delightful read."
Damian Thompson, Mail on Sunday
"[Fine] succeeds brilliantly, cherry-picking the most intriguing facts from hundreds of academic
papers and wrapping them in witty, self-deprecating prose."
"Clear, accessible writing makes [Fine] a science writer to watch."
"Fine's style is chirpy ... [with] many affectionately amusing scenes"
Publishers Weekly (U.S.)
"Fine documents a wealth of surprising information about the brain in this
readable account that adopts a good-humored tone about the brain's failings
without underestimating the damage they do."
Good Reading Magazine
"[a] little gem of a book". Highly recommended.
Professor Brint Montgomery,Science &
"one of the most engaging books on social psychology"
Adele Geras (website)
"Marvellous ... knowledgeable and funny ... terrific. Don't miss it."
Rachel McAlpine (website)
"This funny, wicked little book is a must."
The Adelaide Review
"entertaining ... [Fine's] research is broad and judiciously employed and her arguments lucid."
Radical Faith (website)
"a really good read ..."
"A Mind of Its Own ... holds its own as a thought-provoking read."
"Brilliant and witty neuroscientist Cordelia Fine ... explains how we constantly con ourselves and
are all slightly delusional in the interests of protecting our fragile egos. In an accessible and
humorous manner, she takes us on a tour of the brain, where you'll discover plenty of things you've
always wanted to know, and some you didn't!"
"If you think you are in control of your brain, you won't after reading Cordelia Fine's A Mind
of its Own ... The neuroscientist employs the latest research to take us on an amusing
and enlightening tour of the brain ... "
North America (Norton)
UK (Icon Books)
Australia & New Zealand (Allen & Unwin)
Denmark (Borgens Forlag)
Israel (Areyah Nir)
Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan (Locus)
China (Bright Culture)
Poland (Wydawnictwo Pierwsze)