How We Decide

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009 - Business & Economics - 302 pages
36 Reviews
The first book to use the unexpected discoveries of neuroscience to help us make the best decisions

Since Plato, philosophers have described the decision-making process as either rational or emotional: we carefully deliberate, or we "blink" and go with our gut. But as scientists break open the mind's black box with the latest tools of neuroscience, they're discovering that this is not how the mind works. Our best decisions are a finely tuned blend of both feeling and reason--and the precise mix depends on the situation. When buying a house, for example, it's best to let our unconscious mull over the many variables. But when we're picking a stock, intuition often leads us astray. The trick is to determine when to use the different parts of the brain, and to do this, we need to think harder (and smarter) about how we think.

Jonah Lehrer arms us with the tools we need, drawing on cutting-edge research as well as the real-world experiences of a wide range of "deciders"--from airplane pilots and hedge fund investors to serial killers and poker players.

Lehrer shows how people are taking advantage of the new science to make better television shows, win more football games, and improve military intelligence. His goal is to answer two questions that are of interest to just about anyone, from CEOs to firefighters: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better?
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
17
4 stars
14
3 stars
3
2 stars
2
1 star
0

Review: How We Decide

User Review  - Cheryl - Goodreads

“Plato, for example, couldn't help but imagine a utopia in which reason determined everything. Such a mythical society- a republic of pure reason- has been dreamed of by philosophers ever since. But ... Read full review

Review: How We Decide

User Review  - Carly - Goodreads

False attributions and self-plagiarism and plain old plagiarism... oh, my! I'm not a journalist; honestly, I have trouble understanding the ethical dilemmas of "self-plagiarism." Yes, I understand ... Read full review

Contents

The Quarterback in the Pocket
1
The Predictions of Dopamine
28
Fooled by a Feeling
57
The Uses of Reason
93
Choking on Thought
133
The Moral Mind
167
The Brain Is an Argument
196
The Poker Hand
219
Coda
251
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
263
BIBLIOGRAPHY
274
INDEX
288
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Jonah Lehrer is editor at large for Seed magazine and the author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist (2007) and How We Decide (February 2009). A graduate of Columbia University and a Rhodes Scholar, Lehrer has worked in the lab of Nobel Prize–winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel and has written for the New Yorker, Wired, Boston Globe, Washington Post, and Nature, and writes a highly regarded blog, The Frontal Cortex.  Lehrer also commentates for NPR’s Radio Lab.