Editorial Reviews

A radical and confronting explanation of the human mind

Satire + Psychology + Neuroscience + Philosophy + Self-help + Fiction + Non-fiction => All in one place.

A book like no other.

The Art of Hunting Humans
The Art of Hunting Humans is a 2019 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner!

Kirkus Reviews

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 Book Review Directory

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.


An Ultimate Guide for the XXI Century Shallow Man — 15 commandments of stupidity

A Politically incorrect guide for understanding how we got here.

Sidney Mazzi – 5 min read

The following commandments will help you understand what guides any human born as a mediocre, ignorant baby during the extraordinary journey of becoming a mediocre and ignorant adult — a Shallow Man.

1: Communication

  • If someone misunderstands what I mean, it shall be their fault.
  • If I misunderstand someone, it shall also be their fault.

I will not ‘suffer fools.’

2: Dealing with conflicting opinions

  • I will ignore all conflicting information.
  • I will avoid listening to views that clash with mine. People who question my opinion are just trying to confuse me.

If I can’t follow this rule, I shall instead refer to commandment #3.

3Discussions: The hidden battle that only I can see

3 — Discussions: Soldier / Gladiator

Discussions shall provide an opportunity to show who is in control, who wins. ‘Losing’ a debate is for weak people. To me, every conversation is a battle that I must win. And, best of all, I get better at winning every time.

4: Anger and nervousness

I shall make the most of both feelings to increase my rationality — they show that I am in control. I shall use anger and nervousness as often as I can and be proud of doing so.

5: Tone of voice

Whenever someone challenges me, I shall raise my voice because the louder I speak, the more convincing my argument seems.

6: Facts are for pussies!

When it comes to topics like vaccination, the shape of the Earth — even Darwin’s theory of evolution — to me, conspiracy theories and mystical beliefs shall make more sense than reason and facts. They also make me feel more intelligent than other people, and I like that.

I shall trust headlines from newspapers, or any other source, that match my point of view, and I shall refer to them to prove that I’m right.

7: Uncertainty is a disease

Ask me anything about relationships, work — even the meaning of life — I’ve got it sorted. I shall always have the answer, and there is no room for doubt. There is no middle ground; either someone agrees with me 100%, or they are part of the problem. And, of course, if they persist with their point of view, I won’t try to explain my opinion better; instead, I shall repeat the same explanation more loudly than before (commandment #5) and use labels such as “Communist” or “Fascist.”

8: Never underestimate the power of blame

To make me feel better about my problems, there is always someone or something to blame: enemies, friends, parents, partners, co-workers — even entire ethnic groups.

9: Denial is a wild card to use when there are no other options

No matter the situation, how absurd or wrong I am, I can ALWAYS use denial.

Whenever I don’t like the consequences, I shall deny the cause.

10: One Marshmallow — Always! (short term vs long term)

Long-term rewards are a fairy tale. I want them now! Regardless of whether I lean to the left or right of politics, I shall use short-term rewards in many situations: when discussing immigration, the minimum wage, employment law, price regulation ….

Later, when facing the long-term consequences, I shall use commandments #8 or #9.

11: Politics

Regardless of whether I sit to the left or right of politics:

1) People on ‘the other side’ are stupid and traitors.

2) Anyone from the other side who says or does something stupid should be treated as a general representative of their tribe and beliefs.

3) Anyone from ‘my side’ who says or does something stupid:

a. did so because they were provoked

b. is an isolated case

c. is a victim of ‘fake news.’

12: Religion

On the topic of what happens after death, I shall fall into one of two groups:

1) If I’m religious: “I believe that all other religions have ridiculous stories/explanations and are for weak people who can’t see the truth.” Followed by: “My religion makes perfect sense. I can’t see why anyone would challenge it.”

2) If I’m non-religious: “I believe that all religions have ridiculous stories/explanations and are for weak people who can’t see the truth.” Followed by: “All religious people think that someone will save them. They need this certainty and to believe in magical stuff. ‘God botherers’ think they are 100% sure of what happens after death. I am not like them; I am 100% sure that nothing happens after we die.”

13: Psychology

Anything with the word consciousness or the expression emotional intelligence is for losers.

I believe that psychology is the only science that has failed to come up with anything useful in the past 100 years. And no, I haven’t read anything about psychology to challenge this belief. Why should I?

100 Years!

14: Books

I don’t read books. Period. Anything with more than 140 characters is not well summarised. Heck, if the issue is complex, send out two Tweets, instead of one. And if the story were any good, surely there would be a movie about it.

15: Repetition

My problems repeat because of anything BUT my stupidity and stubbornness.

To fight the Shallow Man (and even help you understand other humans too!), I wrote The Art of Hunting Humans: A radical and confronting explanation of the human mind.

Why not?

Not sure yet? Wanna read other articles first? This one (below) is – by faaaaaaar – the most praised and popular article:

Chasing Greatness I – The Return of the forgotten Virtue

A dream or a manifesto. I am not sure. You tell me.


Why not?


Sidney Mazzi – 10 min read

Chapter 8 – THE BRAIN’S PUPPET – Emotions & Desires

Now we will explain how a human becomes his Brain’s Puppet.

Note: Because the ideas in this chapter apply to all the others, we have kept it brief. Keep this concept in mind while reading Part IV: What drives the animal.


We’ll use two simple examples: one of an ancient sage and the other related to dog training.

Tell a human this story: The ancient sage

Imagine a human who, without question, follows all advice, suggestions and demands of a 200-year-old blind sage who is ignorant about technology and modern life. No matter what, at all times, the human obediently follows.

How does this example apply to humans? And how can you use it against them?

Any human would say it is wise to listen and learn from those who are more experienced. But they would also say that the example above makes no sense because this sage is out of touch and bound to give poor advice. So, it would make sense to listen but, at the same time, question any advice he provides.

Fair enough, no?

However, what happens in the example above is similar to what humans do when their brains instruct them, by way of emotions and desires, to do something. That’s right, the (ancient) brain, which developed several thousand years ago, and doesn’t understand modern life or technology, calls the shots. And, without question, humans follow orders. So, if the brain instructs to be scared, angry, or anything else, the ‘puppet’ obediently follows its ‘wise’ central system.

When the Messenger (or brain) detects a potentially threatening pattern, it switches to war mode. The human, though, might only be preparing for a class presentation, as explained in the Human Drawers chapter. For you, the hunter, this mismatch opens up opportunities.

So, emotions play a crucial role in how humans behave, and humans are hardly able to question them. And, of course, the brain’s signals (emotions) are not always right.

Check out this second example, and then we will jump to explanations.

Dog training:

Now, if you talk to humans about dog training, almost all will be familiar with the system of pleasure and pain, a simple method for reinforcing behaviour that the trainer wants and discouraging behaviour he doesn’t want. Humans know that to train a dog, they should give it a treat when it does something right and punish it when it does something wrong. As time goes by, the animal will learn to behave and do whatever the human wants. Simple.

For humans, this is obvious but would probably be a complete surprise (if it were possible to explain) to the dog. It’s safe to assume that the animal won’t understand the method being used to manipulate it.

However, should you confront a human with the fact that his brain has been training him, and at a much larger scale (24 hours a day since birth), he will probably enter into, what we call, “denial mode”.

Linking the ancient sage & dog training:

Humans struggle enormously to understand that what they feel is not necessarily right, wrong, or, in fact, anything at all. It is merely good or bad stuff that their central system uses to train and guide them. So, just like ‘Fido’, most humans have limited self-understanding — they are their Brain’s Puppets.

The previous examples show that the brain uses a human’s emotions to guide him to do what it believes is best — from avoiding pain, to seeking pleasure and feeling good about it.

The truth is that the human brain applies the same technique as a dog trainer; it reinforces good stuff with pleasure and the bad with pain. And, as one can expect, pain can be extremely persuasive. Ask a human if he would brush his teeth more often if failing to do so hurt.

The human brain, though, was designed thousands of years ago for animals clinging to survival in the jungle. Consequently, it still reinforces unnecessary behaviours — overeating sugar or fat, for example. Again, if a certain level of sugar started to hurt, humans would soon stop munching on sugary treats. You can bet on it.

Anyway, the essential thing to remember is that a human’s brain has been training him since birth, so most humans, like obedient dogs, are unaware of why they like some things and dislike others.

The same happens when humans are angry, nervous, scared, happy or in love, etc. These feelings are signals from the brain, and at times they are misleading due to the limitations already discussed. After all, keep in mind that the ancient sage isn’t always right — even though he has been around for many years.

Consequently, a human can consume extreme levels of fat or sugar, become irate with an inattentive waiter and fear losing things he doesn’t need — losing something feels like going to the Loser Drawer. Or, a human can even love an abusive partner because he feels familiar. The list goes on and on.


So, the ancient sage inside a human’s head is extremely powerful, don’t you agree? Check out this:

As you saw at the beginning of this book, the human brain (the Messenger) creates reality, with some editing, based on what it wants the Captain to see.

And, as if that’s not enough, the brain, training him like a puppet, also decides when to send a human pleasant or unpleasant messages.

That’s a lot of control. One could say it’s about time the Captain stopped trusting his Messenger so much and started asking questions.


Misleading desires are tricky for humans to understand. In the chapter Hidden Associations we explained that a human who expresses a desire to own a business, to become an entrepreneur, might actually long for freedom and recognition, not actually having a business.

Humans, most often, don’t really understand the real reasons for their desires. Like in the example above, when stalking your prey, it’s important to understand why it longs for freedom. Perhaps it has a terrible boss and feels pressured? Anyway, what matters is that if this human understood what he seeks is freedom and recognition, he could find plenty of easier ways to get those things than starting a business, which might not match his personality. Maybe the human should just change jobs, for example. But humans most often don’t fully understand their desires and just follow what their brains think they need.

Remember the obedient human (good student) who falls in love with the troubled student because of a desire to feel independent and mature? Of course, there could also be other reasons, but what matters is that humans don’t question or understand their desires. If the good student knew that, deep down, she sought independence and maturity, she would look at other ways of getting them.

Do you see how the human brain implants desires to get what it feels is needed? And how humans are often just puppets?

We address how the brain decides what it wants in Part IV: What drives the animal. For now, though, just keep in mind that humans rarely question assumptions that translate into desires and emotions — they feel too real.

The next case is a real situation that we have observed. We warn you that even for experienced hunters, it seems odd and, so, is hard to believe.

Disclaimer: Before you read on, we must acknowledge that, of course, there could be MANY OTHER REASONS for the human’s desire. For this example we explore ONLY ONE to show how ABSURD things can get.

The hidden & unbearable competition:

A human, who’d so far enjoyed a fairly successful career, moved to another city, and he had some excellent reasons to go — an amazing place, beautiful weather and beaches, etc. Later, though, after a period of observation, it became apparent to us that none of those reasons were true.

You see, in reality, the human’s desire to live far away from home originated from the fact that he couldn’t bear seeing his parents admire his more successful sister, even though he was unaware of the assumption his brain was making. If you were to ask him if he competes with his sister, he’d sincerely say, “What are you talking about? Of course not!”

You see, the human couldn’t realise that he COMPETES with his sister for his parents’ attention, love, or whatever you want to call it. Instead, he felt more comfortable living far from home — even though he got homesick. All the human knew was that he wanted to live far away. He recognised his desire but wasn’t entirely aware of his brain’s assumptions behind the scenes.

As weird as it sounds, the human’s sister hadn’t provoked his behaviour, nor did the ‘amazing’ new city. Instead, his brain’s assumptions (“I need to compete and win against my sister to gain my parents’ acceptance and love. I can’t stand losing and being in the Loser Drawer. If I can’t win, I’d better escape.”) created the desire to live away from home.

So, he didn’t fully understand the reasons for his desire to live far away from home and, when asked, he would often come up with the wrong explanation. By the way, yes, this sounds absurd, but it’s not uncommon.

Hidden competition happens more often on Earth than humans imagine — like between males of the same tribe (the mate and father of a female, for example) competing for dominance of the house/family. Often you can see hidden competition disguised in weird discussions and small actions.

Can you see how competition is far more prevalent in human behaviour than they can recognise and how it affects humans’ emotions and desires at a much deeper level than they know?

Humans are complicated animals, aren’t they? Their ridiculous Hidden Associations can create not just emotions, but also desires to instruct them to do what their brains believe they should. And, humans can make minor and major decisions about their careers, marriages, etc., while unaware of the real reasons why.

You see, like their emotions, humans usually don’t fully understand their desires either, and they, like puppets, just follow what their brain thinks they need. Best of all, things aren’t likely to change any time soon. We explain one of the reasons why next.


Tip: Carefully observe your human prey’s desire. “What does he long for? To live in another city? Change his job, even career?” Try to find the root. “Why does he desire that?” Determine if he is, in fact, ESCAPING from something, and if so, from what; this knowledge can be a weapon for manipulation. Your prey’s lack of self-understanding should make him easy to play with.



Humans struggle to observe themselves from the sceptical perspective of an outsider.

A lion, for example, doesn’t understand or question its instincts and just follows them naturally. A human scientist, however, is able to observe the lion from an outsider’s point of view, knowing the animal’s behaviours.

So, humans can only question their instincts, beliefs, emotions, Hidden Associations, if they study themselves from the sceptical perspective of an outsider, like a creature from another planet. But they hardly ever do.

After all, can you imagine a human about to lose his temper and then asking, “Why am I nervous? What does this situation mean to me? Should I feel this way? What can I learn from my nervousness? What does this desire mean to me? What I am really looking for here? Am I trying to escape from something?”

Can you imagine a human questioning his emotions or desires this way? No, right?

It is beyond most humans’ capacity to study their emotions sceptically as if from outside their bodies.

Imagine a human who has never left his country. He would find it nearly impossible to question his culture, rituals (weddings, funerals, human greetings, etc.), expected social behaviours, social structures and religious beliefs.

For this human, given that he has known no other life, everything seems natural and as it should be. How could he possibly feel otherwise? Meanwhile, a foreigner would have a very different perspective and be able to evaluate these things from an outsider’s perspective.

So, humans would enjoy enormous benefits if it were possible to observe themselves through the eyes of a sceptical outsider, an alien that was able to question their beliefs, emotions, desires and reality.

For most humans, however, seeing their lives from the outside is almost impossible. Consequently, they can’t understand themselves or question their emotions and desires. So, as we’ve mentioned before, things aren’t likely to change any time soon


Emotions play a crucial role in how humans behave, and, like their Brain’s Puppets, they don’t usually question them. Of course, signals from the brain are not always correct, as you have seen on pretty much every page of this book.

Also, due to humans’ lack of an outsider’s point of view, it is almost impossible for them to realise that they should question their emotions. So, they become the obedient puppets of an ancient central system designed for the jungle.

What you have learned so far regarding humans’ emotions and desires will be crucial for understanding Part IV where we look at the things that drive humans: vanity, Expanded Self-Interest and fear.

So, over the following chapters, keep in mind that Earth’s smartest primate has such a poor understanding of its emotions and desires that it, for example, also completely misunderstands Self-Interest, which is rather interesting.


Looks interesting? Want to read the entire book?

Why not?