The Chimp Paradox Book Review

I’ve done a LOT of scrum and agile posts recently. Time for something a little different.

I recently read The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters.

The Chimp Paradox

It’s an interesting book, especially if like me you like a little simplified physcology. Simply put Dr Peters has a model for explaining human brain functions which breaks us down to three constituent parts, the human, the chimp, and the computer.

The human represents the rational part of our mind. The computer our pre-programmed responses and habits. The chimp our fight or flight mechanism. He explains that when we feel threatened our chimp often wrestles control from our human. Much like you hear described in 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Crucial Conversations, and other similar books which discuss safety. What I quite like about the chimp analogy is the recognition that our chimp has moods and a personality of its own. Personally I know I have a sulky and grumpy chimp!

It’s worth mentioning that Dr Peters had also written a related book called The Silent Guides which extends this model to children.

Definitely an interesting amateur physcology and personal development book. Nice and accessible if you’re trying to make your first steps into understanding the weirdness of other people’s (and your own) minds.

Have you read The Chimp Paradox? What did you think of it?

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