- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Oppositeby David Di Salvo
Synopses & Reviews
This book reveals a remarkable paradox: what your brain wants is frequently not what your brain needs. In fact, much of what makes our brains "happy" leads to errors, biases, and distortions, which make getting out of our own way extremely difficult.
Author David DiSalvo presents evidence from evolutionary and social psychology, cognitive science, neurology, and even marketing and economics. And he interviews many of the top thinkers in psychology and neuroscience today. From this research-based platform, DiSalvo draws out insights that we can use to identify our brains’ foibles and turn our awareness into edifying action. Ultimately, he argues, the research does not serve up ready-made answers, but provides us with actionable clues for overcoming the plight of our advanced brains and, consequently, living more fulfilled lives.
"Science writer DiSalvo analyzes the relationship between human consciousness and our brains, challenging the notion we should make important decisions with our brains before conscious thought has a chance to weigh in. As he argues: 'Our brains are prediction and pattern detection machines that desire stability, clarity, and consistency — which is terrific, except when it's not.' Our brains evolved to help us survive in less complex situations where rapid decision making was often a matter of life and death. We like to feel that we're in a charge of a situation, and dislike uncertainty. DiSalvo provides many examples to bolster his argument that it's important to train ourselves not to respond too quickly to our impulses — jumping to unwarranted conclusions, failing to consider the long-term ramifications of our actions, and overestimating our ability to control our impulses, from overeating to addiction. But, he believes, the final decision remains with us, even though 'wrestling with the stubborn tendencies of the happy brain is at times frustrating, exhausting, and even infuriating,' if we're to live meaningful lives. This lively presentation of the latest in cognitive science convincingly debunks what DiSalvo calls 'self-help snake oil.' (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
Although this book is for general readers, it is not a self-help book; instead, it interprets recent scientific insight from behavioral science and cognitive and experimental psychology to explore the ways in which the human mind relies on irrational thinking, stereotypes, inflexible internal scripts, and distortion to make automatic decisions. Author DiSalvo, creator of the science blogs Neuronarrative and Neuropsyched, explains that our brains' default mode is weighted toward maintaining certainty, avoiding risk, and preventing loss, but these same tendencies can become obstacles. Using real life examples and anecdotes, he explains when and how to go against our brain's natural leanings. The book closes with 50 tips on life in general, drawn from the research discussed in the book, plus an extensive, annotated list of books, web sites, and blogs for general readers, as well as scientific journals. The cover offers a funny color photo of the brain as a frayed rubber-band ball, but otherwise the book contains no pictures. The author has written for Psychology Today and Mental Floss. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
David DiSalvo (Atlanta, GA) is a science, technology, and culture writer whose work appears in Scientific American Mind, Psychology Today, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Mental Floss, and other publications. He is also the writer behind the well-regarded science blogs Neuronarrative and Neuropsyched.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like
Engineering » Construction » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Cognitive Science
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mind and Consciousness
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Neurobiology