A work with a preposterous premise offers a look at humans.
What if an alien were to write a manual that instructs compatriots how to “hunt a human”? This fantastical, fictional concept forms the basis of a story by Mazzi (Tainted by Fire, 2016), who maintains the charade until the very last page, wherein he reveals his rationale for writing the book. This is the kind of creative exercise that is likely to split its audience; some will be taken with the prose and play along while others will dismiss it as nonsense. The objective, though, is to expose the many foibles humans share and assess them as if viewed through an alien lens. The introductory chapter sets up the strangely insightful volume nicely by summarizing “some of the weaknesses” of humans that “we will explore.” These include emotions, fear, vanity, and widespread ignorance. The six short parts of the work provide an intriguing take on what generally makes humans tick. The titles of the parts, such as “DIGGING DEEPER INTO YOUR PREY’S REALITY” and “WHAT DRIVES THE ANIMAL,” are clearly constructed to reinforce the text of the simulated guide. The content is cleverly written, if forced at times, describing elements of humanity like language (“Just a system of codes and symbols that are ripe for misinterpretation”), critical thinking (“It’s the emotions inside their heads that matter to humans”), and feelings (“Humans can suffer and feel better—they can take pleasure from sacrifice”). The most intriguing aspect of the book is the way the alien observes human behavior, as if it is being evaluated from an outsider’s perspective. This can be amusing, disconcerting, perceptive, or bizarre depending on how readers process the material. If nothing else, it is an exercise that serves to point out the absurdities of the species. At the end, the author explains that his purpose for the novel format “is to raise attention to the importance of self-reflection and the pursuit of wisdom.” Hopefully, those who plow through this unusual work will be enlightened—or perhaps chagrined.
An offbeat, unconventional, and imaginative exploration of the human race.
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The human mind has fascinated countless experts in various fields, from biology to psychology and everything in-between, since time immemorial. The Art of Hunting Humans continues in the same vein in its attempt to help readers understand why people behave the way they do. In addition, its objective is to help people use this understanding to effectively gain advantage over their fellow human beings.
The chapters are laid out in a sequential and logical manner. It explains individual concepts, which will be used later on, in separate sections before moving on to the actual self-help part of the book. It makes the book easier to follow, even though readers may benefit from reading certain chapters twice just to make sure they fully grasp what is being explained.
Most readers will already be, at least in some way, familiar with the concepts being presented in this book. The idea that past experiences shape how we perceive our realities, and that the same situation may mean different things to different people, is nothing new. The book simply reframes these already known facts within the context of using said facts to “hunt” other people, adding a new twist to an often-studied subject.
The idea of people as prey can seem somewhat aggressive and hostile. The book makes no qualms about its intent to help readers manipulate and one-up their intended opponents. However, readers know from the outset what they’re getting into when they crack open this book. In a way, the straightforward method in which human perception and motivation are dissected for this very purpose is almost refreshing in its honesty.
Despite the nearly confrontational nature of some of the chapters, the author manages to keep things lively and almost humorous. The writing style is conversational. Sidney Mazzi adds personal touches here and there to draw readers in and to compel them to listen to his arguments. He also makes use of examples and metaphors to emphasize some of the points he’s trying to make.
However, he has the tendency to present these examples as universally applicable truths. This may put off some readers, as it can also be seen like an oversimplification of the complexity of the human psyche. There was also a noticeable lack of references from other experts in relevant fields, which could have lent more credibility to the author’s more provocative statements.
Both the stimulating tone and language of the book were perhaps meant to intrigue and titillate readers. Indeed, some people will feel compelled to finish this book if only to refute some it claims. Conversely, the author runs the risk of alienating and antagonizing his audience, some of which may object to him describing humans and human behavior as “ridiculous.”
Whether or not they agree with its assertions, whether motivated by the need for a deeper understanding of humanity or something less altruistic, the one thing that cannot be denied is that readers will find this book interesting. It will simultaneously polarize and bring people together, if only to engage in a debate about its merits. Deceptively simple and almost terrifyingly accurate, it is an unflinching examination of what drives human beings and is a worthy addition to the self-help genre.
Foreword Clarion Reviews
Taking a satirical approach to human psychology, The Art of Hunting Humans removes the baggage from study and uncovers ideas that feel fresh and exciting.
Sidney Mazzi’s tongue-in-cheek psychology book The Art of Hunting Humansanalyzes humanity from an alien perspective.
Playful and aiming to spur self-reflection, the text is framed as a guidebook for alien trophy hunters looking to bag a human being. It provides psychological distance as it covers the foibles and contradictions that humans display. Exploring topics like sensation and perception, culture, theories of the mind, and a wide range of lived experiences, the book seeks to define and describe what it means to be human.
The book’s questions regarding how meaning is defined, how assumptions are formed, and how behaviors are determined are answered with parables, secondary observations, and extended hypothetical examples that cover psychological ideas about how humans interact with their environments and project, or “hallucinate,” their own realities. Such notions recall Gestalt psychology, if they are not named as such. The book takes the same approach to unconscious desires, including academic notions but leaving out specifics from theories and the names of key theorists. This strategy removes the baggage from studying psychology and uncovers ideas that feel fresh and exciting.
Metaphors—including “captain” for consciousness, “cabin” for the brain, and “crew” for the body—run throughout the text, drawing on the notion that hidden associations drive unconscious desires and are like “personal codebooks.” The central, and grim, metaphor of hunting humans is never far away. These illustrations are often compelling, but they require unpacking.
Matter-of-fact language, expletives, and a snarky, biting tone keep the book light and approachable. Its Hunting Tips and notes on topics like human communication styles and religion are alternately amusing and flat.
Each chapter is divided into clear sections with defined subheadings that make for easy reading. Accessible summaries of important points are included and incorporate engaging lists and graphics. Summary material also comes in at the end, helping to clarify the text’s purpose, but it does not include citations about where the underlying ideas come from.
While it aims to encourage superior living, the book’s separate and contradictory work of poking fun at human beings and working to inspire honest consideration of psychological ideas is not always reconciled. Its approach is original, but sometimes at the expense of clarity, and the trade does not always seem worth it.
The Art of Hunting Humans is a satirical psychology book that considers human beings through the scope of an alien’s rifle.
THE ART OF HUNTING HUMANS is an exploration of the intricacies of the human mind and behavior.
In THE ART OF HUNTING HUMANS, author Sidney Mazzi explains the foundations of human behavior. He argues that once one understands why humans behave the way they do, they will be easier to control. More importantly, understanding the unconscious impulses of the mind allows us to avoid being manipulated—either by others or by our own desires and fears.
THE ART OF HUNTING HUMANS begins by exploring how human communication and perception are often clouded. According to Mazzi, human communication is not only “highly inefficient,” it also reveals a lot about an individual. Paying careful attention to how a person communicates can divulge a lot of information to the observer—information which can be used to the observer’s advantage.
Like human communication, human perception is also often distorted and unreliable. Mazzi employs the metaphor of the “Captain in the Cabin” to show how a person’s perception controls his or her behavior. This perception can become muddled and confused by individual assumptions, subconscious associations, and defense mechanisms.
THE ART OF HUNTING HUMANS also shows how our emotions and desires influence nearly everything we do. Mazzi applies the concept of a “Holy Grail” to illustrate the goal that each person pursues, whether consciously or unconsciously. Understanding someone’s “Holy Grail” is essential to influencing his or her behavior.
A great resource for those interested in human psychology, THE ART OF HUNTING HUMANS explores how human weaknesses (such as fear, ignorance, vanity, and pride) drive an individual—often without his or her knowledge. Readers can learn to exploit these weaknesses in others and attempt to eliminate them in him- or herself.
While THE ART OF HUNTING HUMANS presents a lot of information on human psychology, it does so in a humorous way. Readers need not worry about information-overload as Mazzi illustrates psychological concepts using easily understood metaphors and maintains a humorous tone. The result is a fun, absorbing and satirical read that entertains as it informs, resulting in a self-help book that offers humor, psychological insight, and practical application.
IR Verdict: A satirical take on self-help books, THE ART OF HUNTING HUMANS provides a unique and humorous way to understand human psychology—and how readers can use it to their advantage.
A few customer reviews
I consider myself very informed in this area and yet this book managed to impress me greatly
THE ART OF HUNTING HUMANS is brilliant. It's so good, in fact, that I almost wish it wasn't readily available to the type of people who would actually seek out a book with this title and focus.
Sidney Mazzi is an exceptionally astute observer of human nature and how communication (or the lack thereof) influences our behavior, from sales to media (as if those are really so different) to interpersonal relationships. He lays out the process--and provides more than enough background knowledge to understand the reasoning behind the process--for manipulating weak-minded people easily and most other people with some preparation and ill intent.
Of course there have been other books about manipulating people, but they're usually written from a gentler perspective. This book says explicitly, "Here's how humans and the the human thought process are flawed and weak, and here's how yo can capitalize on that to make people think and do what you want." I hope Mazzi's persistent reference to other humans as "prey" is simply an over-the-top literary mechanism, a la "A Modest Proposal," and not his genuine outlook on his fellow humans, but either way, a theme and style are maintained throughout and it works. (Even while being a little bit upsetting if you take it seriously.)
This book strikes me as especially appropriate for our current political climate in the U.S., in which many of these techniques are being employed by the sitting administration, much to the horror of those of us who are cognizant enough to recognize what's happening.
Enlightening read with an unexpectedly hopeful ending
At first glance, The Art of Hunting Humans by Sidney Mazzi seems to be a cynical series of bleak observations based on a Machiavellian precedent—that is, an expose of the inner workings of the human mind and how to manipulate them to your desired ends.
However, by the end of the book, it becomes apparent that the author is only trying to inculcate a self awareness about many of the internal processes we take for granted on a daily basis, which often steer us in the wrong direction.
In conclusion, there are Superior humans who have reached an enlightened state and realized that they (or more precisely, their faulty internal go-to behaviors and thoughts) are their own worst enemy.
Very interesting and enlightening read that (contrary to the title) leaves the reader with some hope for awakening.
The Art of Hunting Humans is a fantastic book that starts with a simple idea and keeps expanding on it until it alters your entire view of how the human mind works.
I have read many books on psychology before but have never heard the ideas presented in this book. The analogy of hunting sets up the perfect scenario to learn about human behavior and the way the mind works. You will learn a lot about yourself and the reason you are the way you are.
It is a fun read that's easy to understand and hard to put down. You will find yourself "hunting" immediately after reading, and the way you look at the world will be changed forever.
Humorous but potentially controversial so be prepared
As readers, there's a neverending supply of self-help and psychology books to help people grapple with the bottomless supply of internal and external dilemmas we struggle with every day, but rarely do readers find a genuinely hilarious and unique approach to understanding our minds and behaviors as Mazzi has provided with his novel. Despite not being a psychologist and having no formal education in the matter, the material is easily understandable and well researched, making it accessible in its simplicity but also enjoyable through its quirky brand of humor. This book may not be for everyone since the approach is satirically focused on exploiting human weaknesses so to speak, but Mazzi clearly does this with the intention of lightening the mood and bringing down our defenses and predisposed predilections, yet also provoking readers to challenge our behaviors and negative tendencies and consider more controversial issues we may be conditioned to immediately defending.
Very fun and enlightening book on human behavior
I am a fan of books related to human behavior, but I confess I didn't know what to expect before starting this one. It was one of the books that hooked me the most because besides being very enlightening and interesting, it is also fun and an easy read since the author gives very illustrative examples to explain key themes. Even though it invites us to reflect on our actions and behavior, it is quite different from self-help books that are filled with obvious statements - this one gives us insights we probably never thought or heard of before.
A challenging and rewarding read
I've got to say that I wasn't sure what to think when I got my hands on a copy of The Art of Hunting Humans. Sure, I knew it wouldn't be about actually hunting humans. I’m not that gullible. However, I did wonder whether the book would be some kind of manual for ‘mind-fucking’ our opponents. Well, I’m pleased to report that it isn’t. Basically, The Art of Hunting Humans is about understanding the workings of the human mind and, ultimately, ourselves. I learned a lot, and I recommend this book to anyone with the courage to have a good look at themselves and ask some tough questions.
Barnes & Noble
Human beings are the smartest animals on earth. The Art of Hunting Humans: A radical and confronting explanation of the human mind by Sidney Mazzi is an engaging book that delves into the key aspects of human behavior. There are tips in the book that will guide readers on how to take advantage of the ignorance humans display about their nature. It will also help readers to know themselves better and understand human behavior and evaluate it. The book gives interesting insights about human behavior, how to identify the patterns that can be explored, choosing the perfect prey to hunt and how to manipulate weaker humans. There are tricks and tools in the book that are helpful when it comes to hunting prey and it will also encourage humans to get out of their survival mode and get to know themselves.
The author speaks about a topic that has not been discussed much before in a very different way. The concept is simple but since humans are complicated beings, it might take readers a while to understand and incorporate the teachings of the book in their lives. It is also interesting to read how the author describes superior human beings. Reading this book is good for awareness of how the human mind actually works and the importance of communication. It is a good book for all those readers who are looking to make changes in their lives and want to change their perception of the world around them.
Amazing concepts everyone should know about!
The core concepts presented in "Hunting Humans" have the power to be life-changing (if you let them). A must-read for anyone wanting to truly understand themselves and others better. The author has a unique way of explaining complex problems that we all face in our day to day lives, and if you're open to his ideas you'll be rewarded with incredibly valuable insights you can start applying to your life, work, and relationships immediately.
An interesting interpretation of human behaviour
An interesting and well executed concept, this book attempts to dissect human behaviour by looking at it from the perspective of a hunter. The author does a fantastic job breaking down human behaviours to their most basic forms in an attempt to help you better understand and use to your advantage, which will then help you 'hunt' a human. I found the author's perspective interesting, and breaking things down in a way that is not complicated and using terms everyone can understand made this book seem very accessable. I would recommend it to people who are interested in human behaviour and to writers who want to add a different dynamic to their writing, which is something I will personally use it for.
really liked it
The Art of Hunting Humans was a bit of a different take on studying the human mind and behaviors than I am accustomed to. I'll be honest; at times I found it a bit disturbing when thinking about the types of things that the knowledge gained from reading this could actually be used for.
Overall, however, it really kept my interest and I often found myself attempting to use some of it in my own life when interacting with other people. I found myself quite drawn to the subject matter even when I was questioning whether I really should be.
The author does use a satirical approach to writing the book, yet I could still see different types of readers using the given material for different purposes (some of which I'd prefer not to think about). All in all, I enjoyed the book, even if I hate to admit it!
Initially the title of this book, The Art of Hunting Humans by Sidney Mazzi was disturbing and off-putting for me. However, once I started reading this book, I was intrigued by the writing style and the comparison that the author applied with the analogy of hunting and human Psychology. I obtained my minor in Psychology years ago and I have read many books, articles, and research material on the topic, and I have yet read anything this unique. The writing style is easy to follow compared to other scholarly books on the subject. The first chapter started with a dark, nearly Machiavellian approach to viewing humanity and its inter workings of the mind. The rest of the book provided great detail about self-awareness and how to become more enlightened and aware of ones own psychological defenses and fear-based habits in communication. Reading the entire book will most likely facilitate a new perspective on the world and how the human mind interacts with everything and everyone.
Overall, a great book for learning more about human behavior and how the mind works. Also the book does provide the readers with ample information for dealing with humans and the psychological barriers that we all tend to face in communication, or lack of communication.