The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme for Confidence, Success and Happiness

In Book Reviews on July 20, 2014 at 6:00 am
Vermilion 2011

Vermilion 2011

Nutshell blurb: This book deals with three parts of the brain that Dr. Peters terms the chimp, the human and the computer. The chimp is the part of the brain that deals with emotion and instinct. This book contains instructions to dealing with emotions that can hamper our happiness and success.

Ok, I’ve gotta tell you…this book made me giggle. It is broken down into super easy to understand terms. Maybe a bit oversimplified. There are chimps, planets, gremlins, goblins, a stone of life and many more things. I was a bit skeptical when I first started reading this and then I flat out got the giggles because there are some crazy stick figure drawings all through this book. And, yes, I read it during my commute. Surrounded by witnesses.

However, once I got over my skepticism and embraced my stone of life, I really got into it and learned a few things about myself. I learned a few things that I can (and actually have) applied to my life in an effort to control my inner chimp.

So, I’ll break it down for you. The chimp is the part of the brain that controls our emotions and instincts. It’s sometimes irrational and unreasonable yet can be responsible for our personal safety. This is the part of the brain that takes over when I experience tube rage pretty much every morning. The human part of our brain is the logical part. It is the part that says “Hey, who cares if the guy next to you hogs the arm rest? You’re not using it anyway.” The computer is the part that stores in the information and allows us to make decisions. (If you want the scientific equivalents they are thus: Chimp = limbic, Human = frontal and the Computer = parietal.)

This books offers insight as to why we sometimes allow our emotions to take over and how to fix it. I have to say, that I’ve been able to apply some of these things to my life. I’ve been able to look rationally at why I feel the way I do and therefore distance myself from emotion and act accordingly. Things that I usually get worked up about don’t bother me much now. Not everything, obviously. I mean, I’ve only just finished this book and it will take a lot of practice for some of this stuff to sink in. It’s definitely worth having a look at if you tend to be an emotional type of person. You will have to look past the silliness of it and just run with it. I was a bit surprised by my ability to go with it.

I even named my chimp.

Yep, you read that right.

You might wish to give your Chimp a name and introduce yourself because it plays one of the biggest parts in your life. Throughout your life, you (the Human) and your Chimp (your emotional thinking machine) will often do battle.

I would like to introduce you to Sanchez. My emotions tend to be angry ones and so I visualise my chimp as being large and muscley. He might even be a gorilla. I’m not sure why I’ve made him Latin American, but I wanted to give him a badass name and I think that Sanchez is pretty tough.

My husband has become worried that I might develop a split-personality. I don’t think that will happen but I’m pretty sure that there’s a different book on that subject.

Anyway, it was a really entertaining and interesting read. It definitely wasn’t dry as some self-help books can be. It’s worth reading if you can get past the initial “What the hell…?” reaction.

  1. I enjoy books like these, but now I have ‘Shock the Monkey’ playing in my head and it’s all your fault!

  2. Great review! Although it’s a much simplified and fun model, it can give some some real insight into how your mind works, and why we behave the way we do. I’m learning to manage my Chimp although I haven’t named him.
    Nb I wrote a Chimp blog recently, if you’re interested in a fellow Chimp student!

    • Thanks! I named my chimp because it freaks people out whew I talk about him like he’s not part of me. I love the looks I get when I say something like “Sanchez is displeased”. I probably need help…

      Thanks for the link! I shall check out your review!

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