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Publisher's Summary

Why you are a different you at different times and how that’s both normal and healthy 

  • Reveals that each of us is made up of multiple selves, any of which can come to the forefront in different situations 
  • Offers examples of healthy multiple selves from psychology, neuroscience, pop culture, literature, and ancient cultures and traditions 
  • Explores how to harmonize our selves and learn to access whichever one is best for a given situation 

Offering groundbreaking insight into the dynamic nature of personality, James Fadiman and Jordan Gruber show that each of us is comprised of distinct, autonomous, and inherently valuable “selves". They also show that honoring each of these selves is a key to improved ways of living, loving, and working. 

Explaining that it is normal to have multiple selves, the authors offer insights into why we all are inconsistent at times, allowing us to become more accepting of the different parts of who we and other people are. They explore, through extensive reviews, how the concept of healthy multiple selves has been supported in science, popular culture, spirituality, philosophy, art, literature, and ancient traditions and cite well-known people, including David Bowie and Beyoncé, who describe accessing another self at a pivotal point in their lives to resolve a pressing challenge. 

Instead of seeing the existence of many selves as a flaw or pathology, the authors reveal that the healthiest people, mentally and emotionally, are those that have naturally learned to appreciate and work in harmony with their own symphony of selves. They identify “the Single Self Assumption” as the prime reason why the benefits of having multiple selves has been ignored. This assumption holds that we each are or ought to be a single consistent self, yet we all recognize, in reality, that we are different in different situations. 

Offering a pragmatic approach, the authors show how you can prepare for situations by shifting to the appropriate self, rather than being “switched” or “triggered” into a sub-optimal part of who you are. They also show how recognizing your selves provides increased access to skills, talent, and creativity; enhanced energy; and improved healing and pain management. Appreciating your diverse selves will give you more empathy toward yourself and others. By harmonizing your symphony of selves, you can learn to be “in the right mind at the right time” more often.

©2020 James Fadiman and Jordan Gruber (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about Your Symphony of Selves

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • M.
  • 04-15-21

Great book - terrible narrator

Barely got through the book . Ended up reading it as narrator was terrible. I hope that it will be re-recorded!

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Excited but audio quality is horrendous

I was really excited to listen to this book on my road trip after listening to a podcast between Sam Harris and James Fadiman.

Within the first minute you can hear the hissing and popping. Additionally there is metallic quality to the sound. This is unacceptable given when this was produced, a quality USB mic kit (Samson 2QU) runs for under $100 shipped and Audacity 3 is sufficient for mastering.

After listening to hundreds of hours of audio books and podcasts it too hard to listen to. I’m more that happy to read the book and will resort to that.

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Makes you feel crazier than crazy

This was recommended by someone in the medical field and I have tried to listen to this book over and over but I can’t get through it. The concept is questionable and baseless in science not to mention the concept, presentation, and narrator will make anyone feel crazy. I do not recommend this book if you are not in a mental state that can handle you question your sanity. Honestly, I don’t recommend this book or concept to anyone dealing with mental health treatment. Giving or receiving it for that matter.

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A self gathering sign post!

Once I finished this book I knew I would never be the same or that I would finally be myself. Extremely eye opening and I finally don’t feel crazy for talking to myself. Thank you so much James and Jordan. I don’t know how to return the gift you have given me. A must listen if you searching for a whole being.

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Changed my Life

I felt like there was something wrong with me because I was a chameleon and indecisive until I read this book. I used to have such a hard time making decisions and being content about my life choices, but now I see how there are so many selves at the decision making table. Now I always ask “who should be in charge here” and have been so much more empowered and confident moving through life while using all the parts of me at the right time. Brilliant.

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  • MS
  • 05-22-22

Super Important Perspectives

I am a huge fan and respect immensely Dr Fadiman and was not disappointed in this book produced with Jordan Gruber. I now have a deeper understanding of the selves within. And this program surely has leveled up my awareness to bring forth more order and understanding of my multitudes and the depth and framework of those I seek to connect more deeply with: friends, family, lovers, networks, etc. Bravo! Great work.

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I wanted, I tried to love it.

The book started by persuading the listener to believe in the concept of healthy multiplicity. And with the insisitance that the word "self" is the right word for the various aspects or versions of your self.

This seemed to occupy well over 50 percent of the content of the book and was a continuous refrain. It felt somehow burdensome. I already believed in the basic idea after it being introduced, as he points out several times that most people do. I did NOT like the word "self" as it seemed unnecessarily confusing. I preferred the words I used in the above paragraph of "version" or "aspect".

Also off putting was that nearly all the substance from this book came in the form of quotes. Very well over 50 percent. Additionally, the authors overtly refused to put forth a coherent theory or to ascribe to a specific one from another,opting instead to offer a smorgasbord of related theories. As I read this paragraph it sounds better than it comes across.

Lastly the book is FAR too long for what you take away fr it. it could have been less than half the length and been just as valuable or perhaps moreso. For me at least, I feel less certain regarding the subject than before I started.

All of this said, the subject is important and neglected. I cannot recommend this as the entry point for the above reasons.

I don't like giving Faideman a bad-ish review. I LOVED his previous work on psychedelics.

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Game-Changing Path to Self Awareness

James Fadiman asserts that unlike the common notion that we are ONE self with various assets & liabilities, we are actually many selves. Some are empowering, some strong, some child-like, some debilitating, some level/courageous, some that are scaredy cats, and everything in-between. The power in this concept is that it is NOT "us" (i.e. the ONE self) who fails, and therefore no reason that we are weak, shamed, powerless or any other dis-serving conclusion. It is only that as the captain of our ship, we chose the wrong self to lead the team. It becomes an issue of logic and leadership to choose the right self, which is a less vulnerable vantage point. That extra control gives us the skill & confidence to build successful lives. Very original concept, and highly recommended.

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A great way to recognize behavior

I often find that I am aware of my behavior after the fact, but not able to control as many aspects of it as I would like in the moment. And I can be rather punishing about those behaviors in retrospect as well.
This book points out a very good way to stay aware throughout the day of different behaviors/selves that will be most appropriate and useful for each situation. And I like the idea that positive interactions are likely to be teach you more than negative interactions... that’s not an approach I usually use and I find it useful.

Although I do like the narrator’s voice, and for me he is tolerable (actually much more than some narrators on Audible), he doesn’t pause between sections/paragraphs (topic changes) appropriately which makes things a bit robotic and definitely confusing. It’s like everything is a sentence pause. For me, the audio quality wasn’t perfect, but not “hissing and popping” in my ears at least. There are quite a few mispronunciations though they aren’t too distracting. I think he has a good voice he just needs a producer or something.

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Absolutely phenomenal

This book is a beautiful perception of consciousness and self. The authors take a deep dive into the human psyche and consciousness; and, the theories and information laid out in this work create an amazing perspective. I highly recommend checking this book out; it is a great read full of insightful and well thought out theories and information. A must read for anyone in the mental health field or doing healing yourself. - Dionysus

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  • Pete Sab
  • 07-03-21

Essential Read

Loved it. Challenging and thoughtful. Thoroughly engaging. Very easy to give 5 stars as the authors provide excellent references for their material, practical examples and applications.

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  • Mick
  • 06-16-21

very helpful

So intuitively obvious but rarely discussed mental sates we all encounter within ourselves. Very comforting for those of us who have struggled with coherence.