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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 Intuitions Deceive Us

User Review  - Leslie Nelson - Goodreads

Fascinating book. I read this a few months ago and I find myself still thinking about it. If you read this you'll never look at the world or your own mind the same way again! ;) Read full review

Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us

User Review  - Richard Williams - Goodreads

illusions of attention, memory, confidence, knowledge, cause, potential. excellent well organized, informative, important book. each chapter is an illusion caused by our mental structures, like ... Read full review

Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us

User Review  - Heather - Goodreads

The authors conducted a experiment a while to see how many people would see something right in from of them while focused on another task. People were asked to watch a video. They were instructed to ... Read full review

Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us

User Review  - Brittney - Goodreads

Any book that I am ever assigned to read for class I initially dread. The Invisible Gorilla, however, was great. I didn't even finish the first chapter before I was hooked. It was an easy and ... Read full review

Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us

User Review  - T. Edmund - Goodreads

The Invisible Gorilla discusses six cognitive illusions that plague the human mind and how these illusions affect individuals and society. While at times the authors perhaps try to put too much on ... Read full review

Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us

User Review  - Deb - Goodreads

* * Do you think you would notice if a gorilla ran into a basketball game that you were diligently counting passes for? Think again! As _The Invisible Gorilla_ reveals, we're all deluded by how ... Read full review

Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us

User Review  - Chris Wood - Goodreads

Captivating topic, perfect examples & study dives, and excellent delivery – The Invisible Gorilla had my attention on page one and maintained it while Chabris & Simpons challenged my perception on how ... Read full review

Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us

User Review  - Michelle - Goodreads

This is an awesome book. I loved the part about the illusion of memory, I loved the part where they warned about correlation becoming causation, and I loved the part about the gorilla experiment. The ... Read full review


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