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  • Anne Pemberton

"The You You Don't Know"

Updated: Jan 5

Dear Interwebs,


The first conference I ever attended was the Tennessee Library Association Conference in 1999 in Nashville, Tennessee. Looking at the Winter 1999 issue of "The Tennessee Librarian" reminds me just how long ago that was and how much has changed and yet how much is the same. There are (were) a few titles listed under "Tennessee Bibliography 1998" that have me on the edge of laughing and crying.


In addition to "A Simple Football Handbook for Women: A Mom's Answer to Tuff Turf Questions" by Cheri Gowen and "The Savvy Woman's Success Bible: How to Find the Right Job, the Right Man, the Right Life" by Tina Santi Flaherty and Kay Iselin Gilman there is "The You You Don't Know: Covert Influences on Your Behavior" by W. Webster Riggs Jr.. I was desperately curious to find out the nature of that last one and I am so glad I went down that rabbit hole. It was epic.


Published in 1997 by Dr. Webster Riggs, a pediatric radiologist on the staff of LeBonheur Children's Medical Center and Baptist Memorial Hospital East in Memphis, Tennessee.


Description From Google Books:


"Unrecognized factors affect human behavior every day: room air humidity, genetic commands, unconscious ulterior moves, misinformation provided by a biased media, and more. We underestimate the infinite number of influences on our actions and tend to lurch from one simplistic conclusion to another to explain human behavior. Intended as a popular, science-oriented book, The You You Don't Know combines analysis of cultural and psychological factors with basic scientific pursuits such as physiology and genetics. Skepticism and candid self-analysis pervade, while superstition, the paranormal, and political rhetoric are treated as they deserve. Dr. Riggs recognizes our control by a dishonest, media-dominated world and tells the reader how to recognize, accept, and handle these many human influences, including popular "feel good" books.


This work synthesizes current thought from a broad array of scientific disciplines and distills it to the most fascinating content relevant to causes of human behavior. It is unique in presenting the relationship between our conduct and the chaos-complexity theory. The You You Don't Know remains scientific, humanistic, and forthright and will appeal to a large audience of rational, independent thinkers."


According to a website (his blog?), Dr. Riggs "attributes his success as a pediatric radiologist to his being patient with reality. He reads radiology and medical journals and dedicates his spare time to beekeeping, tennis and post-modern philosophy."


A review on Amazon by "smf" posted on January 15, 2007:


"I checked this book out at the library because after reading a few random lines, it really piqued my interest. No one book can change your life, but will instead give you insight if you allow an author's words without blocking their affect, and casting too much judgement onto another's perspective.


I found this book on amazon and researched it, but was discouraged to see only 1 review- which in turn motivated me to write one of my own. This book was amazing and each chapter promised a new insight into things that I have never had much knowledge or interest in learning. I would suggest this book to anyone who is willing to have an open mind and is constantly looking to better their understanding of life and the world around them. Some topics may already be familiar to some, but all in all- most people will walk away with a new awareness and may even discover something new about themselves.


I personally feel this is one of the best books I have ever read and the author writes beautifully- avoiding the use of words that are out of the average person's vocabulary. He definitely speaks my language, but the power of his message is in the perspective of the individual reader..."


A review from Choice from August 1, 1997:


"This reviewer was particularly intrigued by Riggs's book title. Although most of us are aware, on some level, that our behaviors are not entirely self-controlled, few of us could put those thoughts together with such force and clarity. Riggs explores the covert influences that affect the choices individuals make and calls into question the degree to which they can control those choices. The book is interesting and provides insights into how better to consider the role that guesswork or estimations play in our decisions. On the other hand, there are many statements made as factual that can definitely be challenged. Riggs states, for example, that spoken slips, such as "queer old dean" instead of "dear old queen," represent mistakes that betray our unconscious feelings. Certainly, findings in the language literature alone cast doubt on such statements. Overall, the book is intriguing, and one may applaud Riggs for his serious attempt to integrate many diverse disciplines in approaching the myriad of ways that our personal choices are covertly influenced. Recommended for researchers and faculty. R. E. Osborne; Indiana University East"


From the Index (Andre Agassi, Alabama (country-western band), and Antioxidants!


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