How We Decide

How We Decide

4.3 18
by Jonah Lehrer
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0618620117

ISBN-13: 2900618620110

Pub. Date: 02/09/2009

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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

Overview

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 lean on which part 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 by Daniel Kahneman, Colin Camerer, and others, 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?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900618620110
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
02/09/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256

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How We Decide 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
oxoImmortaloxo More than 1 year ago
The first thing I'd like to point out is that this book is very versatile, in that I believe general readers will love this book just as much as I did as a student/scholar. The examples, stories, and research Lehrer used were captivating. Any football fan will love the story of Tom Brady in the chapter Quarterback in the Pocket. This study of decision making is an incredible piece of literature in the field of psychology and has been a great asset to my understanding of the mind. One of the key messages of this book was to think about how we think, in order to improve the process. Don't be alarmed by terminology if you're a general reader, as Lehrer explains the technical terms in an artful way while being informative. I could go on, but the thing I really want to say is: READ THIS BOOK!
parish_mozdzierz More than 1 year ago
Although an engrossing and entertaining read, when finished, I found myself hardpressed to take much away of any practical value from the book. I had a similar reaction to a related book, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. The applications and implications of this line of study still seems in its infancy, at best.
writejanice More than 1 year ago
I've given this book to two of my friends as gifts. It changed how I made decisions.
apollo1682 More than 1 year ago
Lehrer does a great job at introducing neuroscience to a broad audience. Before reading this book I had never heard of prefrontal cortex or amygdala, and mistakenly viewed credit cards as a convenient tool for everyday life! From the Patriots winning the Super Bowl to a story about a psychopath hiding bodies under his house, this book is sure to keep you entertained. Even though he uses quite a few scientific terms, he does so in a way easy to understand and relate to. Great book!
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
Fascinating. The introduction has this author in a flight simulator in Canada. The first chapter discusses Tom Brady of the Patriots making a Superbowl decision. Lehrer goes on to discuss the problems one man had making decisions after the "emotional" portion of his brain was impaired. While some of the examples Lehrer chooses to illuminate his thesis are familiar from other books on psychology and neuroscience, many are new and absorbing. I came away with insights on how we make decisions under stress, and how psychology experiments are devised to test decision-making.
Aarondipity More than 1 year ago
This book is exactly what I look for - new ideas, compelling presented, backed by research, and effective in presenting a new way of seeing things and acting.
M_L_Gooch_SPHR More than 1 year ago
Lehrer is a good wordsmith and made reading this book an enjoyable experience. I learned new research on the brain's reasoning centers and how they are easily fooled, causing us to make decisions based on illogical factors. This book will help everyone understand their thought processes and their decision making. I am a great fan of Blink. As such, I appreciated the author filling in some of the missing pieces that was left out of Blink. We can all something new from the practical lessons from new neuroscience. Continued research in neuroscience and behavioral economics will continue to revolutionize our understanding of human decision-making. As the field progresses, it would be my desire that Lehrer will once again explain what it all means and how to fit it into our reality. I hope you find this review helpful Michael L. Gooch - Author of Wingtips with Spurs: Cowboy Wisdom for Today's Business Leaders
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THROUGHLY ENJOYABLE