The Chimp Paradox – Book Review

‘The golden rule is that whenever you have feelings, thoughts or behaviors that you do not want or welcome, then you are being hijacked by your chimp’ – Steve Peters

I’ve never been a big reader. I joke with my friends that I read a book that brings out a new chapter every week full of short stories about celebrities called Heat. But Steph recommended I read The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters after telling her about some issues I had been having at work.


What the back cover says:
Do you sabotage your own happiness and success? Are you struggling to make sense of yourself? Do your emotions sometimes dictate your life?
The Chimp Paradox is an incredibly powerful mind management model that can help you become a happy, confident, healthier and more successful person. Dr Steve Peters explains the struggle that takes place within your mind and then shows how to apply this understanding to every area of your life so you can:
– Recognise how your mind is working
– Understand and manage your emotions and thoughts
– Manage yourself and become the person you would like to be
The Chimp Mind Management Model is based on scientific facts and principles, which have been simplified into a workable model for easy use. It will help you to develop yourself and give you the skills, for example, to remove anxiety, have confidence and choose your emotions. The book will do this by giving you an understanding of the way in which your mind works and how you can manage it. It will also help you to identify what is holding you back or preventing you from having a happier and more successful life.

How Was It To Read?
It wasn’t the kind of book you simply cannot put down, I read it on and off over about 2 months. For a ‘self help’ book, it isn’t written with a load of long winded sentences and psychobabble, all the concepts are explained in plain English with plenty of examples and diagrams to relate the theories to your own life. The book is split into two sections; the first is explaining the concepts of the Difference between your human side, which is rational and reacts to fact and your ‘inner chimp’ which is gut reactive and emotional.The inner chimp is something we all have and some people have better control of their chimp than others. It goes into great detail about why our inner chimp behaves the way it does and how that can prevent us from thinking rationally therefore making us un happy or unable to succeed. Once you understand why your chimp behaves the way it does, you’re better placed to notice chimp like behaviours and keep them under control.

As a chronic over thinker (see my recent post about that here) I have a tendency to be very untrusting and hard on myself and react on how I might be feeling rather than react on fact. This book has taught me that when this happens, when I over analyse every word that comes out of someone’s mouth, that’s my chimp, up and out of it’s cage and throwing poo all over the place. It’s taught me to start thinking more rationally and base my reactions on the facts that I know, not what I’m assuming is going on.

I’ll give my own case study for clarity. Recently, there were some changes made at work, a reshuffle if you like. My instant gut reaction was that I would be caught up in this reshuffle and my job would be in jeopardy. As a result, I went into self-preservation mode and starting looking for new jobs. The FACTS of the situation were, I hadn’t seen or been hold anything to indicate that my job was in trouble, it was pure assumption on my part that I would be affected. And I wasn’t. So all that stress and worry and filling out applications that never got sent was a waste of time, all because I listened to by chimp, instead of me.


I probably enjoyed the first half of the book more if I’m honest, just having the theory explained is a great help and with the case studies, you automatically find yourself saying ‘OMG, I do that!’ however further into the book there are theories of Goblins and Planets and Moons and the analogies get a little confusing. That being said it’s such an interesting and easily understood theory that I wouldn’t be surprised if they started teaching in in schools soon enough, I definitely think it’s a concept that everyone can relate to, whether they want to admit they have a chimp or not. And in my experience it’s the people who would swear they’re in control of their chimp who would probably benefit from this book the most!

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