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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of How to be Human: The Manual written and read by Ruby Wax with Ash Ranpura and Gelong Thubten.

It took us 4 billion years to evolve to where we are now. No question, anyone reading this has won the evolutionary Hunger Games by the fact you're on all twos and not some fossil. This should make us all the happiest species alive, yet most of us aren't. What's gone wrong? We've started treating ourselves more like machines and less like humans. We're so used to upgrading things like our iPhones: as soon as the new one comes out, we don't think twice, we dump it. (Many people I know are now on iWife4 or iHusband8, the motto being, if it's new, it's better.)

We can't stop the future from arriving, no matter what drugs we're on. But even if nearly every part of us becomes robotic, we'll still, fingers crossed, have our minds, which, hopefully, we'll be able to use for things like compassion rather than chasing what's 'better', and if we can do that we're on the yellow brick road to happiness.

I wrote this book with a little help from a monk, who explains how the mind works and also gives some mindfulness exercises, and a neuroscientist who explains what makes us 'us' in the brain. We answer every question you've ever had about evolution, thoughts, emotions, the body, addictions, relationships, kids, the future and compassion. How to be Human is extremely funny, true and the only manual you'll need to help you upgrade your mind as much as you've upgraded your iPhone.

©2017 Ruby Wax (P)2017 Penguin Books Ltd

What listeners say about How to Be Human: The Manual

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Funny, clever and insightful

Ruby Wax is a charmer, she’s sharp witted and super clever. She’s the aunt you wish you had. By weaving psychology, neuroscience and mindfulness into compelling personal stories she makes this book an all round winner.

Get onto it!

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Great read

I really enjoyed this book, the 3 perspectives, and strategies for mindful living and self acceptance

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Fantastic book. if you want your life to change.

If you want your life to change for the better, this book is a must read. Thank you Ruby Wax.

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Terrific: info packed, funny, on my wavelength

Brilliant! Insights into my own brain and the healing it needs post- acquired brain injury.

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Pretty good!

Pretty good book! It's not highly intellectual but therefore actually easier to follow and more approachable to the average reader or the reader with ADHD who gets easily distracted therefore struggles to follow complex wording and heavy scientific jargon. (I'll go look up the word and then the Internet has me - there's no coming back!) Also, a narrator with a dynamic personality such as Ruby Wax's (yes that definitely shines through even just in audio!), holds my attention better too, despite her very STRONG American accent which I kind of found grating sometimes. Sorry! But it's definitely a voice that is easy to focus on! 😂 I also liked her little 'my story's'. I thought they were kinda cheesy at first but I quickly realized how wrong I was and that they were actually great little tid bits to help the reader relate neuroscience and mindfulness to real life examples.
It was also a great idea to have written the book the the input of both a neuroscience, and a Buddhist monk in each chapter. People might think these disciplines are worlds apart but they actually both study the same thing and both of their beliefs are based from scientific experiments. Not many people actually know what Buddhism is about but Buddha basically wanted to study consciousness so he could figure out how to end suffering and improve happiness. And the way he went about doing this was through doing neuroscience experiments/experiments with consciousness. He then wrote many books to pass on his findings to others - all 87,000 conclusions to his 87,000 hypotheses through 87,000 experiments!

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Extradinary humility

Ruby, you are a star. Not only have you shown great humility sharing your own painful experiences, but you have done so whilst balancing a wonderful trifecta of story tellers. Keeping it real and keeping it amusing..loved it.

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Disappointed

This book was confusing. I have no clue how the title is meant to relate to the actual content and felt this was more a biography on ruby wax or her opinion on how to live that was not at all relevant to mindfulness or compassion. I found Ruby’s attempts at humour frustrating as they diverged hugely from the intended content of the book. I felt the same book could have been written a quarter of the size and it would still be ‘beating around the bush’. I didn’t like the conversational style of writing with the neuroscientist and the monk and ruby and personally found ruby difficult to continue to
listen to as she goes on at length about her own life or puts others down (her co-writers, therapists, etc). I think the gems of the book were the neuroscientist and monks input but that ruby was like the unwanted comedian of the book.
Nothing personal against ruby but I felt this book was awful. There are much better books out there that are way better written and with better content. A personal favourite: ‘why Buddhism is true’.
This book might be good for some but it definitely wasn’t good for me. Unfortunately, I’ll be returning it.

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Annoying

I found the author to be very irritating. Her attempt at humour was not amusing and her attitude condescending. I could not finish it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

excellent book.

gives you great insight into the human condition. makes me feel im not alone. other people suffer and have similiar emotions, thoughts and feelings

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  • Mark
  • 29-03-2018

Clarity on mindfulness

This is one of the clearest, helpful books on mindfulness I’ve listened to so far - read brilliantly by Ruby, with additions from Ash and Gelong. I teach mindfulness, and shall be recommending it in all my classes.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Fabfiveoh
  • 24-06-2019

A Comedian, a Neuro Scientist and a Monk = Brilliant

I was so impressed w/ this audio book presentation, I also purchased hard copy of book. It's a comedic textbook w/valuable proven scientific data, accompanied by Ruby's personal experiences and research, w/ wonderful explanations and exercises for mindful practices.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 25-11-2020

funny and smart insights

start with yourself and understand how your mind and body can be friend or foe. really relatable stories and examples sprinkled with humor and openness.

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  • Stephanie Stabile
  • 02-10-2020

Insightful, witty, and entertaining! 

I loved this book. I didn't feel like i was reading a book- well listening to a book... I felt like I was being let in on a conversation explaining to me why i am not my fault; from a science perspective, enter the neuroscientist,  from a philosophical perspective, monk,  and then Ruby being the translator, making it so i could understand and more importantly making me feel like i needed and wanted to know all this information while not forgetting to smile and laugh along the way! Insightful, witty, and entertaining! 

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  • Shane
  • 20-05-2019

A pick-me-up

Lighthearted, easy to listen to and great mindfulness tips. Would recommend if down in dumps!

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  • lucia reidel
  • 27-08-2018

One off the best books I we ever read !!

Gave me so much sense off reality and everyday‘s life !! Absolutely love it !! By the way I we already hear it tree times !!

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  • CJ Gordon
  • 25-08-2018

Life changer!

Loved every minute & continue listening to different chapters when I need reminders and inspiration! Truly courageous work and a gift. Thank You!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-05-2018

Veey enjoyable, insightful and humorous!

I loved listening to this book. Ruby is really funny and made heavy topics seem light and approachable. It was soothing, warming and inspiring.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 16-04-2018

loved this book

loved this book. I wish more books had discussions between experts. Super informative. I hope there is a sequel.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-02-2018

l am now a little bit in love with Ruby Wax

l am bi polar and have struggled with hospitalisation, depression, psychosis. l am also spiritual, Wax is commendable, her style accesible, honest with good humour. l very much enjoyed how she draws in the knowledge of the monk and neuroscientist, a fascinating and holistic viewpoint. All experts in their fields..all humble and likeable, no high brow pontification..just authentic information sharing. How to be human is full of heart, compassion and kindness, if everyone would read it our world would be a better place...lm off to search more publications penned by Ruby Wax!

22 people found this helpful

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  • Trish
  • 30-01-2018

Psychology book with a difference

I listen to lot of Psychology books, but this so different from all the rest.. Ruby and her team have a nice way about telling this story .
Plus having Ruby tell the story made it more true to life with her Monk Friend and Neuro Friend ..
Only down fall their not a PDF to print of for the Mindfulness exercise in Chapter 11

30 people found this helpful

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  • Rianna
  • 02-02-2018

Brilliant

I really enjoyed this book. The conversations between Ruby, the monk & the neuroscientist were a brilliant addition. Very fascinating & highly recommend!!

14 people found this helpful

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  • MrsM
  • 01-03-2018

Another fantastic book from Ruby

This book definitely lived up to expectations. Having listened to Ruby’s other books I was unsure if this may feel like ‘more of the same’. Whilst there was overlap with the others, there was also a lot of fresh content. I loved the idea of three contributors with various perspectives and I thoroughly enjoyed the wisdom of the monk and the neuroscientist. I did find the humorous exchanges between the three a little forced. What they were saying was engaging enough on its own, the choreographed jokes weren’t needed. That’s me being picky though. Overall the book was fantastic. Interesting, informative and very touching. Ruby bravely opens up about her own challenges and the chapter around her ‘who do you think you are’ journey were incredibly moving. I love her raw honesty and of course her humour is always on point.

6 people found this helpful

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  • MarkPT
  • 07-06-2018

Mind scrunching!

I've read a few books on mindfulness, neuroscience and studied a year long course on the latter, so thought I'd get Ruby's take on it as the rating were good!

I couldn't last more than an hour - yes she's got her 'way' of explaining and talking about things, but man my mind was the opposite to being mindful, it was been washed and crunched all over the place by her inane references and chit chat - it may well have got better but to me this subject is about calming and slowing down, being more focussed and I was far from able to with this book!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Gwen Kennedy
  • 02-02-2018

love this refreshing book ,a school with wit👏

Loved it many deep belly, laugh out loud moments.
Accessible Humerous , Scientific and Wise minds within these pages.

5 people found this helpful

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  • M S Rowe
  • 11-03-2018

Mind the gap

It was an entertaining book to listen to. Ruby and her contributors were warm and wise but I found it a bit general and when Ruby described the male population as either alpha or beta I felt like it had rolled about 10years backwards in terms of human understanding. I thought this was about how to be 'human' and although I understand there are some general differences between the sexes, I think these might be more hormonal and cultural than neurological.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Paul J.
  • 14-08-2018

The book started off well ...

The book had a good premise and started well. I particularly liked Ruby's self examining and the inter-play between the 3, then the book went flat as the sales pitch was '...' don't want to say as it is a spoiler. The problem is the sales pitch isn't anything mind blowing, but is the end point of each chapter, so you end up thinking should I jump to that chapter.

Now this is not a long book, so some content is skimmed, I can only guess edited out as Ruby has a tendency to wander. So unfortunately some areas are not covered fully and, as ths is the first RW book I have read, being referred to another book didn't do it for me. As the book proceeded, the content got thinner and thinner, to the point I gave up and jumped to the end chapter. I didn't go too far into that chapter :-|

3 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 29-01-2018

Brilliant a must read/listen Mindfulness Magically captured

Insightful, Delightful & Ruby Wax on form delivering nuggets of knowledge - loved listening to Ash & Thubten give their insights - a must have listen for any human 👍🙏❤️

3 people found this helpful

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  • lucinda davies
  • 30-01-2018

it's definitely ruby's show

it's definitely ruby's show loved it feel very human. Def recommend it to any one

3 people found this helpful

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