The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters - Notes & Highlights

The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters - Notes & Highlights


This book provides great mental models to help you understand your thoughts and emotions and live a more controlled and stable life.

Table of contents

🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. You can divide your brain into three parts; the human (Logical), the chimp (Emotions), and the computer (Automation) part. These interact which each other all the time. Make sure you manage them properly.
  2. Your inner chimp is 5x as strong as you. Don't try to fight it because you won't win. Manage it and learn from it. The more you become aware of it and let your human side take control, the better your life will get.
  3. The computer decides most of what is happening in your brain. Your computer is a set of beliefs, habits, and knowledge that helps you make decisions without thinking about them. The computer consists of the Autopilots (positive beliefs or habits), Goblins (Negative beliefs or habits that are hard to remove), Gremlins (Negative beliefs or habits that are removable), and the Stone of life, (A record of values and beliefs you live by). Turn the Goblins and Gremlins into Autopilots and clearly envision your stone of life.

🎨 Impressions

This book reads very pleasantly. It makes psychological ideas very easy to understand because good metaphors describe them. Many books have touched upon these concepts, but I still need to find a book about the topic that is so easy to understand. It does take a lot of effort and time to internalize these concepts and put them into practice, but that's life. Sidenote: Also very useful when you have kids.

How I Discovered It

Recommendation from a colleague.

Who Should Read It?

I recommend parents who have to deal with the chimps of their children every day; pick up this book. Prof. Steve Peters also has a kids' version of the book, My hidden chimp. Unfortunately not in my native language, but if your kids know English, I would highly recommend this.

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

💡 How my life / behavior / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.

  • Giving a name (chimp) to such an essential process in my brain helped me to recognize it more frequently and accurately. "Ah, there is my chimp." It's surprising how often he comes around.
  • Recognizing Goblins and Gremlins and turning them into auto-pilots. (Continuous process)
  • I am putting even more emphasis on my stone of life. Love. Honesty. Gratitude. Discipline. Precisely in that order.

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

  • “The very simple question, therefore, is to begin with ‘Do I want…’ and then finish the sentence. For example: ‘Do I want these feelings?’ or ‘Do I want these thoughts?’ or ‘Do I want to be behaving this way?’ If the answer is ‘no’ then you are in Chimp mode and if the answer is ‘yes’ then you are in Human mode.”
  • “A golden rule for understanding people and situations is to always try to establish the facts before you make your assessment.”
  • “When you decide to do something, remind yourself that it is commitment not motivation that matters.”