Cover image for Battling the inner dummy : the craziness of apparently normal people
Battling the inner dummy : the craziness of apparently normal people
Weiner, David L.
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Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 1999.
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466 pages ; 23 cm
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BF175.5.I4 W45 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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From the sexcapades of Bill Clinton to the unbelievable story of Hugh Grant and the prostitute; from the 15-year-old who weighs only 82 pounds but believes she's obese, to the professor who screams profanities at other drivers in snarled traffic--we wonder out loud, "What are they thinking?!" What drives so many apparently normal, intelligent people to act irrationally, harming themselves and others?

According to Sigmund Freud, such behavior may be caused by the "id," our built-in mental invitation to everything from dangerous fun to horrendous acts of irrationality. For popular psychology writer David Weiner, "id" stands for "Inner Dummy," the part of the brain that we must come to understand if we are ever to know why we do foolish, irrational, and compulsive things. Drawing on the groundbreaking theories of evolutionary psychology, Battling the Inner Dummy localizes the source of our irrationality in the limbic id-the most primitive part of our brain that endlessly thirsts for status, sex, territory, nurturance, and survival. "We become captured by these drives," Weiner says. "By understanding our Inner Dummy, we can avoid disasters in our own lives."

Along with sound advice from clinical psychiatrist Dr. Gilbert Hefter on how to handle our own Inner Dummies with built-in rewards and punishments, Weiner brilliantly interweaves delightful, imagined conversations with Freud and staffers at a mythical advertising agency, who have been given the assignment of communicating the nature of the id's irrationalities to the general public (e.g., t-shirts that say, "Would someone please fix my Inner Dummy before I fall in love with another idiot?" and a bathroom scale that allows you to weigh eight pounds less each time you use it).

This inviting, humorous romp with Inner Dummies who have made the news illustrates how we can apply "ID prevention" in our daily lives and includes all the major strategies science and medicine have developed over the years to counter Inner Dummies that threaten our well-being. See how well you're handling your own inner dummy by taking the quizzes at

Author Notes

As a top business consultant for four decades, David L. Weiner (Chicago, IL) has dealt with many CEOs who have wrestled with the Inner Dummy. He is also the author of Brain Tricks: Coping with Your Defective Brain, Power Freaks, and Reality Check: What Your Mind Knows, but Isn't Telling You

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In this informative, entertaining, and well-researched book, Weiner explores why it is that people do irrational and compulsive things, sometimes against their better judgment. He intersperses his text with an imaginary conversation with Sigmund Freud, engaged in an advertising campaign to market his concept of the id, or Inner Dummy. The Freud device is meant to simplify the psychiatric concepts of id, ego, and superego, but Weiner does a fine job of that himself. The book is meant to explore the "underlying causes and nature of irrational, neurotic outlooks in a way that would be comprehensible to most of us." Weiner examines a range of irrational behavior, from that of President Clinton in the Monica Lewinski affair to the murderous activities of Slobodan Milosevic and Adolf Hitler. We all have some sort of personality disorder, some better managed or concealed than others, according to Weiner. He also examines treatments for personality disorders. Coauthor Hefter, a clinical psychiatrist, offers commentary at the end of each chapter. Vanessa Bush

Library Journal Review

Drawing on evolutionary psychology theories, imaginary meetings with Sigmund Freud, and a fictitious advertising agency, popular psychology writer Weiner weaves a logical and understandable explanation of why apparently normal people sometimes behave in a totally irrational manner. His collaborator, psychiatrist Hefter (Northwestern Medical Sch.), gives a short, academic-oriented commentary at the end of each chapter. Weiner brings into play Freud's premise that the "id" is what causes people to commit foolish, irrational, and even horrendous acts; he labels this part of the brain the "Inner Dummy." This refreshing book is both interesting and readable; the use of Freud as a literary device adds to the book's uniqueness and value. Highly recommended for popular psychology collections in public and academic libraries.√ĄElizabeth Goeters, Georgia Perimeter Coll., Dunwoody (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Gilbert M. Hefter
Acknowledgmentsp. 9
Forewordp. 13
Introductionp. 17
1. "What Were You Thinking?"p. 25
2. Our Upstairs Computer Was Delivered to Us without a Manualp. 33
3. Priority Mail to the Late Dr. Freudp. 42
4. Our Brain/Mind: It Appears to Have Two Separate Operating Systems, One with Its Own Stubborn Agendap. 44
5. If Dr. Freud Had Been a Better Communicator ... We Might Have Been Way Ahead of the Game Todayp. 55
6. Can the Limbic Brain Literally Capture Our Rationality? Or, Who Is Really in Charge Up There?p. 61
7. Dr. Freud and the Theory of "Limbic Capturing"p. 71
8. Our Core Limbic Drives: The Search for Who and What We Arep. 76
9. Dr. Freud and the "Dummy Programs"p. 87
10. The Intensity Levels of the Power Drive: What's the Level of Testosterone in Our Tanks?p. 94
11. Dr. Freud Challenges the Processp. 111
12. The Strength of Our Sex Drivep. 118
13. Dr. Freud Meets an Image of Himselfp. 136
14. The Strength of Our Territorial Drive: "Please, I Need My Space"p. 145
15. Dr. Freud Weighs the Scalesp. 160
16. Our Capacity to Love and Nurture: Troubles on Both Sides of the Scalep. 165
17. Dr. Freud Meets a Scale Firsthandp. 181
18. Our Drive for Survival: Measuring the Level of Our Irrational Fearsp. 186
19. Dr. Freud Meets a Screen Saverp. 212
20. Limbic Expectations: How the Brain Rewards Us for Doing Stupid Thingsp. 218
21. Dr. Freud on the Pleasure Side of the Pleasure Principlep. 238
22. How Our Limbic Brain Punishes Usp. 243
23. Dr. Freud Confronts the Issue of Punishing Emotionsp. 267
24. The Need for Vengeance: Why We Find It So Hard to Turn the Other Cheekp. 274
25. Dr. Freud on Irrational Vengeancep. 286
26. Shaping Our Limbic Drives: Genes and the Traumas of Lifep. 291
27. Dr. Freud's Encounter with a Punching Bagp. 307
28. How the Power of Reason Can Create Craziness: Our Limbic Drive for Purposep. 314
29. Dr. Freud and the Focus Groupp. 333
30. What Have We Learned?: Coping with and Changing Irrational Outlooks and Behaviorp. 342
31. Dr. Freud and Ego Defensesp. 361
32. Reaching the Inner Dummy: The Value of Talk Therapyp. 365
33. Dr. Freud at the Edgep. 398
34. Other Remedies for Penetrating the Inner Dummyp. 401
35. Dr. Freud's Decisionp. 420
Epiloguep. 437
Bibliographyp. 443
Indexp. 455