The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons

The Invisible Gorilla Book Cover The Invisible Gorilla
Christopher Chabris, Daniel Simons,
Broadway Books

Review: We’re all so attracted to surety—it was refreshing to learn how wrong—and actually how downright dangerous—such surety could be. This book provided a good reminder that our expectations drive much of our perceptions in life—and taking a few moments to consider that we could, in fact, be wrong is time well spent.

The book examines the science behind six illusions that influence how we believe and behave: the illusions of attention, memory, confidence, knowledge, cause, and potential. The title refers to the experiment that asked participants to count the number of passes in a video of a basketball game. While participants were able to count the passes, up to 50% never saw the gorilla that appeared on screen for several seconds. The hypothesis that we see only what we expect to see was supported in several other studies they cover in the book.

The authors take the same approach to the other illusions they’ve identified which supports their conclusion that we think our mental abilities and capacities are much greater than they actually are. They also provide topline practical suggestions in their conclusion which was a helpful way to tie their research to the everyday workplace.

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life ( to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company,, and She lives in New Jersey with her family.

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