The social animal explores the unconscious mind through the biographies of Harold and Erica, both fictional characters. It bears some resemblance to Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking fast and slow in its focus on what Kahneman called System 1 thinking. But its story book style makes it a more enjoyable book to read for the most part, although it drags somewhat in the second half. In places, it is extremely funny. One such is the description of Harold’s parents first meeting and first date. If you want to understand better how you wound up with the partner you did, then this book will tell you. We agonise over such choices and it is sobering to see how much of our behaviour and feelings lies outside our ‘conscious control’. Brooks has written a knowledgeable, well researched and accessible book.

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