“Mindwise” By Nicholas Epley: A Sixth Sense We All Have

Social psychologist Nicholas Epley writes in his new Mindwise that we often and regularly perceive what’s inside other people’s heads, contrary to what you’ve repeatedly told your spouse or friend: I am not a mind reader! In fact, he says, mind reading is a “sixth sense” we use daily—though we often don’t do it well.

In reviewing Mindwise for the New York Journal of BooksRichard Cytowic reports that being “mindwise” involves “instilling sufficient trust so that others can ‘tell you their minds openly.'” Sounds simple, but it’s not so easy to put into practice. One of the keys is having self-understanding; another is openness to learning about others’ differences.

More about this from the Publishers Weekly‘s review: “Our abilities to read the minds of others, he states, ‘allow us to cooperate with those we should trust and avoid those we shouldn’t.’ Moreover, this reading of minds ‘allows us to track our reputation in the eyes of others…and enables understanding between friends, forgiveness among enemies, empathy between strangers.’ According to Epley, we often remain unaware of others because we fail to engage our capacity to understand their minds, often dehumanizing others and, in the worst case, stereotyping them.”

In the Mindwise trailer below, more content and less publicity arrives around the 1-minute mark:

Selected Reviews

Kirkus Reviews: “Epley presents a steady stream of imaginative studies. Although readers will learn a great deal, they must remember that the author is a teacher and scientist, not a media guru, so his advice for improving mind reading emphasizes avoiding the usual mistakes. Oprah would not perk up.”

Steven D. Levitt, coauthor of Freakonomics: “One of the smartest and most entertaining books I have read in years. At a time when there are dozens of popular social science books to choose from, Epley’s masterpiece stands out as the cream of the crop.”

Jonathan Haidt, NYU Stern School of Business, author of The Righteous Mind: “‘Know thyself,’ commanded the Oracle at Delphi. Mindwise shows us why that’s so hard to do, yet so vital as the starting point for understanding others. Epley writes with scientific authority, grace, and deep humanity. You’ll come away from this book understanding the African concept of Ubuntu: A person is a person through other people.”

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