Ever since taking that “Introduction to Psychology” course in my undergraduate year I have always had a strange fascination, albeit an obsession, with the complexities of the human mind. I will never forget the overwhelming fascination I felt when I was first exposed to the writings of B.F. Skinner, the strange yet profound mind of Sigmund Freud and the inspirational ideas of Carl Rogers. The experience was so profound that I began to seriously question whether or not I was pursuing the right career. You can well imagine that after encountering a book entitled “10 Interesting things about Human Behaviour” on the Amazon Kindle store (for free no less) I had no choice but to check it out.
“10 Interesting Things About Human Behaviour”, written by Suzanne Davis , is a brief foray into the extraordinary, and often illogical, sanctuary that is the human mind. Suzanne aims to outline, as the title suggests, the most interesting facts about how we think, what we do, and why we do it. Without giving too much away, the book is structured in a list format with each item on the list constituting of an intriguing fact about human behaviour, as well as an explanation as to why this is so. It would be extremely difficult to get into the nitty gritty of each item on the list without major spoilers so, instead, I will simply list them out and give my thoughts on the book in its entirety.
*Disclaimer: The titles are slightly paraphrased*
You Can Change Your Attitude By Changing Your Behaviour
Human Beings Can Be Inconsistent
Most People That Debate About The Cause Of Behaviour Are Wrong
Reading Subtle Body Language Tells You Little
Reality Shows Make Us Feel Better About Ourselves
Rewards and Punishment Work Wonders
Don’t Put Your Average Joe On The Spot
We Have A Double Standard When Judging Ourselves
Airline Travel Brings Out Bad Behaviour
Our Brains “Turn Off” When We Dream (I kid you not)
I know what most of are now thinking after reading the chapter breakdown. Like me, you have likely realized that each and every item on this list (Apart from the first one) is blindingly obvious. There has to be more to it than this right? Well, I am sorry to say that no sir (or mam), there is not.
The book “10 Interesting Facts about the Human Mind” is extremely superficial in both its “revelations” on human behaviour as well as its explanations as to why they occur. Upon reading it for just a few hours it became exceedingly clear that the author, Suzanne Davis, is by no means an expert in field of psychology and, in fact, gets a lot of the basics about the human mind completely wrong. After reading about halfway through this text I furiously flicked off my kindle and headed straight to my computer to research the writer. What I found is that Miss Davis is a relatively prolific author who has dabbled in a wide variety of unrelated topics and book types (from novels to how to’s). This caused the root source of my fury became immediately apparent.
What many writers do not seem to realize is that Psychology is not a purely speculative field in which any opinion is as good as the next. Psychology is, in fact, a fully recognized scientific field of study, complete with a standardized methodology for experiments as well as a genuine peer review system for discoveries. As a result, when a layman decided to write about a topic such as this it is obvious to anyone with even a basic understanding of psychological concepts that there is not much substance behind the claims being made.
Upon completing the book (can’t make that $0 go to waste) one thing I must point out is that the general consumer, who might be looking for nothing more than a light relaxing read, will likely enjoy Miss Davis’s brief invasion into the minds of her fellow men.
It may seem that I have spent this entire review tearing apart the very essence of this book (which is true) but the true reason for this lies in my heightened expectations which were, in hindsight, entirely unfounded. I do believe that despite what I have said earlier, if you keep your expectations low, and are looking for a light read, there is no reason why you would not get some enjoyment out of this book. My only advice is to take it with a huge grain (a shaker) of salt.