What You Don't Know Can Kill You

Non-Fiction - Social Issues
208 Pages
Reviewed on 11/12/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

As children grow, they adopt their view of the world from their surroundings. By the time we reach adulthood, most of us learn to form our own opinions but are these factual or accurate? In What You Don't Know Can Kill You by Meghan Hansen, we learn the good and bad sides of how the human mind can be persuaded, coerced and sometimes even hypnotized to hold certain beliefs. Sometimes for good but also to incite hatred and bias. These methods of mind control have been used throughout history, but how did these notorious dictators manage to brainwash others to perform unthinkable actions? Are there certain types of people that are more prone to becoming victims of mind control? The strategies used by Hitler, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Donald Trump, and even ISIS are broken down and examined for any similarities. We discover if they shared any personality traits or patterns of behavior, so we might spot the warnings signs for ourselves and not become one more victim in the history books of dictatorship. Joseph Goebbels: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

What You Don't Know Can Kill You by Meghan Hansen is a spine-chilling read and a well-researched look into the psyche of the human mind. I think many of us would not believe we are susceptible to mind control, but it is shocking to learn the tactics used throughout history to gain such horrendous results. The similarities of behavior, personality traits and the wording of certain speeches are a must-read for anyone. I was especially moved by the speech given by Jim Jones. This is an extremely detailed in-depth examination of the methods used to manipulate people. The revelations are not only a warning not to take any information at face value but also an invaluable insight into mind control in general. The references for further reading were a great addition. The subject matter of this book will stay with me for a long time. I think it is impossible not to question your belief system once you have read this. A book that will hopefully bring people closer together and not divide certain groups in our society because of malicious intentions.

Gisela Dixon

What You Don't Know Can Kill You by Meghan Hansen is a non-fiction book in which Meghan delves into the psychology of hypnosis and, especially, mass hypnosis which has been used historically in mass movements and developments of cults. In this book, Meghan starts off with a detailed introduction to the subject that explains what this book is about, its organization and main themes, an introduction to hypnosis and brainwashing, certain categories of people and youth who are particularly susceptible to this, the warning signs and what to watch out for, deprogramming, and examples of people who have used this technique. The book is then divided into several chapters on notorious figures such as Adolf Hitler, Jim Jones, Donald Trump, ISIS or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, to name a few, and how they made use of this. At the end of each chapter is a list of links and references.

I liked reading What You Don't Know Can Kill You and thought there was a lot of truth and sense in Meghan’s analysis of this phenomenon. As a society, we are all highly conditioned with thoughts and ideas of everything around us and cult leaders, infamous religious leaders, and extremists of all kinds have successfully made use of this fact. I liked how Meghan decodes this puzzle and lays out clear facts that show how hypnosis, persuasion, and conversion work and also presents solutions to “deprogram” ourselves and be aware of this fact. Her recap of these deprogramming strategies at the conclusion of this book is very useful. Meghan’s straightforward and fact-based writing style makes this a worthwhile read. It is a must-read in a world of increasing extremism and violence and so I would highly encourage everyone to read it.