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This fantastic book proves that top-flight academics can write in a clear, engaging way, and, more importantly, that the work they're doing is utterly necessary. As they reveal the illusions that inhabit all of our minds, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons manage to strip us of some highly cherished beliefs while offering non-illusory hope. That in and of itself is a mighty trick to pull off.
But The Invisible Gorilla accomplishes so much more. It is the exact opposite of "pop psychology" (the oversimplification of ideas that are associated vaguely with the field of psychology). Rather than diluting science so we all "get it," Chabris and Simons help us think better, more complexly. They never talk down to their readers, and this indicates more than just politeness or an ability to communicate with a broad audience. Instead, The Invisible Gorilla creates an inclusive, enlightened worldview that imagines--in a realistic rather than illusion-based way--a real possibility for dialogue between people with very different political convictions and social backgrounds. The highly compelling and encouraging (although certainly not coddling!) conclusion lets us glimpse a world in which more reliance on the facts, and less flight into illusion, would mean less anger, less condescension, and less danger. Far from showing that our minds are weak, the authors have demonstrated how much we need to turn to the facts--and, in fact, to each other--to corroboration and data-based consensus. The promise of this intensely reality-based book would seem utopian, if it weren't so realistically conveyed.
By making occasional use of personal anecdotes, Chabris and Simons show that the world of hard science can still include anecdote--the things we experience and retell, and recreate in the retelling, are also the stuff of science. In the fascinating and sobering chapter on the "illusion of cause," which (among other things) explains and debunks the popular association between vaccines and autism, the authors state that narrative is more compelling than lists of data gleaned from studies; one person's story moves us in ways that the results of large-scale scientific experiments do not. But by telling the history of their own experiments and discoveries about illusions in such a fascinating and suspenseful way, Simons and Chabris ultimately help preserve a place for narrative within the world of science, and this is perhaps their greatest accomplishment.
Chabris and Simons remind us that the only way to establish the reality behind our illusions is to stop kidding ourselves and run some experiments--and they show us what it means to do that. The Invisible Gorilla gives us access to science, but the fact that Simons and Chabris make it look easy doesn't mean it is. Reading this book, though, you get a sense of what might be possible--if we were as open to fact as we are susceptible to illusion.
Review: The Invisible Gorilla and Other Ways Our Intuition Deceives UsUser Review - Petra - Goodreads
Instead of writing a full review, I'd like to take up some issues with the low-star reviews, which seem to have strong patterns to them that should be adressed. As a disclaimer - I am merely a reader ... Read full review
Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive UsUser Review - Chris - Goodreads
This book was fascinating and actually had a significant impact on how I think. The authors describe various things scientists are learning about how the human mind works, and then they compare these ... Read full review
Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive UsUser Review - Mike Vardy - Goodreads
This book offers a lot of discussion and experimentation as to why our experiences are affected by our intuitions. It also offers a lot of acknowledgments to people and footnotes. This is all well and ... Read full review
Review: The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive UsUser Review - Viktor Davion - Goodreads
Nice psychological book, written in simple and easy understandable language. Book is collection of examples illustrated several illusions (authors called them everyday illusions ) with general ... Read full review
Review: The Invisible Gorilla and Other Ways Our Intuition Deceives UsUser Review - Mohamed Al Marzouqi - Goodreads
The book seeks to tackle 6 common illusions that deeply influence our lives. They are the illusions of attention, memory, confidence, knowledge, cause, and potential. For each illusion, the authors ... Read full review
Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive UsUser Review - Stephen - Goodreads
So...this book got published because it's by a pair of celebrity scientists (not to say that that affects their other work, but I think it effected the book). The problem that I see with it, generally ... Read full review
Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive UsUser Review - Evan Wondrasek - Goodreads
This book contained some great fact-based studies of how human memory works, and mainly how fallible our memory actually is. It can be sort of depressing I suppose, but the main point of this book is ... Read full review
Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive UsUser Review - Alex - Goodreads
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 ... Read full review
Review: The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive UsUser Review - Ru - Goodreads
In two words: eye-opening. The title of this book is derived from an experiment (which readers can take for themselves) that yieled some very surprising results. The readers won't necessarily have the ... Read full review