Nicole Kubista, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Nicole Kubista)
Do you ever wonder why you think the way you do? This book had me reading, thinking, and sharing with friends. The ideas were accessible and the information that Lehrer imparted was both interesting and useful. After reading this book, I got excited about the topic of thinking and found a rich world of reading. Better than Malcolm Gladwell, but definitely up his alley! If you like thinking and want to know more about it, try this book out.
Debra K, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Debra K)
I tend to be a fiction reader so I'm nominating a great non-fiction book that explores brain science and how we make decisions. The examples of good and bad decision-making in this book, including those made under extreme pressure (think about trying to land a plane with over 200 passengers on board with no hydraulic system,) are fascinating. I love all of the work being done on the parts of our brains that are involved in various activities, emotions, etc. and this book dissects the way our gray matter works when a choice is necessary. It also considers whether it's better to make a decision using logic only, the Spock theory, or if emotions can help us make the right decision, the Captain Kirk theory. The answer is yes. A great read.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"What is going on in the brain of a pilot deciding how to handle an emergency or a man trying to escape a wildfire? Does reason or emotion rule our decision making? Seed magazine editor-at-large Lehrer (Proust Was a Neuroscientist) brings recent research in neurobiology to life as he shows that the view, dating back to Plato, of the decision-making brain as a charioteer (reason) trying to control wild horses (emotions) comes up short. As Lehrer describes in fluid prose, the brain's reasoning centers are easily fooled, often making judgments based on nonrational factors like presentation (a sales pitch or packaging). And Lehrer cites a study of investors given varying amounts of financial data to show that our inner charioteer also can be confused by too much information. Even more surprisingly, research shows that 'gut instinct' often does make better decisions than long, drawn-out reasoning, and people with impaired emotional responses have trouble coping with the decisions required in everyday life. Lehrer is a delight to read, and this is a fascinating book (some of which appeared recently, in a slightly different form, in the New Yorker) that will help everyone better understand themselves and their decision making." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail,
"Should we go with instinct or analysis? The answer, Lehrer explains, in this smart and delightfully readable book, is that it depends on the situation. Knowing which method works best in which case is not just useful but fascinating. Lehrer proves once again that hes a master storyteller and one of the best guides to the practical lessons from new neuroscience."
by Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us),
"Cash or credit? Punt or go for first down? Deal or no deal? Life is filled with puzzling choices. Reporting from the frontiers of neuroscience and armed with riveting case studies of how pilots, quarterbacks, and others act under fire, Jonah Lehrer presents a dazzlingly authoritative and accessible account of how we make decisions, what's happening in our heads as we do so, and how we might all become better deciders. Luckily, this one's a no-brainer: Read this book."
by Antonio Damasio, author of Descartes Error and Looking for Spinoza,
"Over the past two decades, research in neuroscience and behavioral economics has revolutionized our understanding of human decision making. Jonah Lehrer brings it all together in this insightful and enjoyable book, giving readers the information they need to make the smartest decisions."
by Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational,
"Jonah Lehrer ingeniously weaves neuroscience, sports, war, psychology, and politics into a fascinating tale of human decision making. In the process, he makes us much wiser."
From the acclaimed author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist comes a fascinating look at the new science of decision-making. Lehrer explores two questions: How does the human mind make decisions? and How can those decisions be made better?
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