How We Decide

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009 - Business & Economics - 302 pages
38 Reviews
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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?
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - smbass - LibraryThing

Too much overlap with the behavioral economics books (of which I've read too many). But the neuroscience focus makes it different enough to be worth reading anyway. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Rascalstar - LibraryThing

As Ginger Campbell of Brain Science Podcast would say, this book is for everyone who has a brain. It's easy to read and provides many real life examples and situations, exposing what we know now about ... Read full review

Contents

1 The Quarterback in the Pocket
1
2 The Predictions of Dopamine
28
3 Fooled by a Feeling
57
4 The Uses of Reason
93
5 Choking on Thought
133
6 The Moral Mind
167
7 The Brain Is an Argument
196
8 The Poker Hand
219
Coda
251
End Matter
261
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About the author (2009)

Jonah Lehrer is a Contributing Editor at Wired and a frequent contributor to The New Yorker . He writes the Head Case column for The Wall Street Journal and regularly appears on WNYC's Radiolab . His writing has also appeared in Nature , The New York Times Magazine , Scientific American and Outside . He's the author of two previous books, Proust Was A Neuroscientist and How We Decide. He graduated from Columbia University and attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.