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The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us
Synopses & Reviews
Reading this book will make you less sure of yourself—and that’s a good thing. In The Invisible Gorilla, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, creators of one of psychology’s most famous experiments, use remarkable stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to demonstrate an important truth: Our minds don’t work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we’re actually missing a whole lot.
Chabris and Simons combine the work of other researchers with their own findings on attention, perception, memory, and reasoning to reveal how faulty intuitions often get us into trouble. In the process, they explain:
• Why a company would spend billions to launch a product that its own analysts know will fail
• How a police officer could run right past a brutal assault without seeing it
• Why award-winning movies are full of editing mistakes
• What criminals have in common with chess masters
• Why measles and other childhood diseases are making a comeback
• Why money managers could learn a lot from weather forecasters
Again and again, we think we experience and understand the world as it is, but our thoughts are beset by everyday illusions. We write traffic laws and build criminal cases on the assumption that people will notice when something unusual happens right in front of them. We’re sure we know where we were on 9/11, falsely believing that vivid memories are seared into our minds with perfect fidelity. And as a society, we spend billions on devices to train our brains because we’re continually tempted by the lure of quick fixes and effortless self-improvement.
The Invisible Gorilla reveals the myriad ways that our intuitions can deceive us, but it’s much more than a catalog of human failings. Chabris and Simons explain why we succumb to these everyday illusions and what we can do to inoculate ourselves against their effects. Ultimately, the book provides a kind of x-ray vision into our own minds, making it possible to pierce the veil of illusions that clouds our thoughts and to think clearly for perhaps the first time.
From the Hardcover edition.
"Chabris and Simons provide an eye-opening exploration of the miscalculations and false logic that surround our senses. From cellphone use to courtroom identification, the authors illustrate a variety of ways our sight and memory are unpredictable. Their insightful research will inevitably make listeners reconsider their own sensory awareness and challenge assumptions about everyday actions. Dan Woren has a deep and gentle voice that guides listeners through anecdotes and intellectual discussions; he is playful with stories and patient with the research and detailed analyses. However, some sections of the book, particularly the details of studies, might be better read than heard. A Crown hardcover (Reviews, July 5). (May) Kabat-Zinn guides listeners through this healing meditation practice. Offering listeners a chance to connect with the sensations of their body and breath, Kabat-Zinn brings a soothing and reassuring voice to a guided meditation that brings mindful awareness to the entire body in a secular, nonjudgmental manner that is perfect for beginners. Paired with gentle original music from Georgia Kelly, Kabat-Zinn's well-intentioned instructions sound spontaneous and unscripted and will immediately put listeners at ease as they slow down, breathe, and relax into a state of inner peace and tranquillity. (May) The former first lady recounts her early years growing up in Midland, Texas during an oil boom, her role in a tragic accident that took the life of her childhood friend, and meeting--and marrying--the hard-living scion of the Bush dynasty. Her years of working as an elementary school teacher and librarian have prepared her well to narrate her memoir; her reading is smooth, fluid, and exceptionally warm. Eschewing addressing the more controversial aspects of George W. Bush's presidency, she sticks to an affectionate reminiscence of her years in the White House and her literacy and health initiatives with sincerity and unexpected flashes of humor. A Scribner hardcover. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
CHRISTOPHER CHABRIS and DANIEL SIMONS are cognitive psychologists who have each received accolades for their research on a wide range of topics. Their “Gorillas in Our Midst” study reveals the dark side of our ability to pay attention and has quickly become one of the best-known experiments in all of psychology; it inspired a stage play and was even discussed by characters on C.S.I. Chabris, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard, is a psychology professor at Union College in New York. Simons, who received his Ph.D. from Cornell, is a psychology professor at the University of Illinois.
From the Hardcover edition.
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