Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious

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Overview

Gerd Gigerenzer is one of the researchers of behavioral intuition responsible for the science behind Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller Blink. Gladwell showed us how snap decisions often yield better results than careful analysis. Now, Gigerenzer explains why our intuition is such a powerful decision-making tool.

Drawing on a decade of research at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Gigerenzer demonstrates that our gut feelings are actually the result of unconscious ...

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Overview

Gerd Gigerenzer is one of the researchers of behavioral intuition responsible for the science behind Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller Blink. Gladwell showed us how snap decisions often yield better results than careful analysis. Now, Gigerenzer explains why our intuition is such a powerful decision-making tool.

Drawing on a decade of research at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Gigerenzer demonstrates that our gut feelings are actually the result of unconscious mental processes—processes that apply rules of thumb that we've derived from our environment and prior experiences. The value of these unconscious rules lies precisely in their difference from rational analysis—they take into account only the most useful bits of information rather than attempting to evaluate all possible factors. By examining various decisions we make—how we choose a spouse, a stock, a medical procedure, or the answer to a million-dollar game show question—Gigerenzer shows how gut feelings not only lead to good practical decisions but also underlie the moral choices that make our society function.

In the tradition of Blink and Freakonomics, Gut Feelings is an exploration of the myriad influences and factors (nature and nurture) that affect how the mind works, grounded in cutting-edge research and conveyed through compelling real-life examples.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
You can think of this book as an explanation of the science behind Blink. Author Gerd Gigenrenzer isn't just piggybacking Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller. In fact, his breakthrough research at Berlin's Max Planck Institute provides some of the deepest proofs of the power of intuition as a decision-making tool. Gut Feelings probes the unconscious mental processes that provide shortcuts to problem solving in countless everyday situations. The psychologist's insights about "fast and frugal heuristics" are both fascinating and accessible to lay readers.
New York Times
Before his research, this was a topic dismissed as crazed superstition. Gigerenzer is able to show how aspects of intuition work and how ordinary people successfully use it in modern life.
Seed
Goes beyond Gladwell's Blink to reveal the evolutionary basis of intuition.
Men's Health
Logic be damned! Gigerenzer delivers a convincing argument for going with your gut.
Publishers Weekly

Gigerenzer's theories about the usefulness of mental shortcuts were a small but crucial element of Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller Blink,and that attention has provided the psychologist, who is the director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, the opportunity to recast his academic research for a general audience. The key concept-rules of thumb serve us as effectively as complex analytic processes, if not more so-is simple to grasp. Gigerenzer draws on his own research as well as that of other psychologists to show how even experts rely on intuition to shape their judgment, going so far as to ignore available data in order to make snap decisions. Sometimes, the solution to a complex problem can be boiled down to one easily recognized factor, he says, and the author uses case studies to show that the "Take the Best" approach often works. Gladwell has in turn influenced Gigerenzer's approach, including the use of catchy phrases like "the zero-choice dinner" and "the fast and frugal tree," and though this isn't quite as snappy as Blink, well, what is? Closing chapters on moral intuition and social instincts stretch the central argument a bit thin, but like the rest will be easily absorbed by readers. Illus. (July 9)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Intuitions and hunches are neither wild guesses nor unreliable pathways to the truth, asserts German behavioral scientist Gigerenzer; they are generally dependable, though unconscious, techniques based on our evolved brain's structures and processes. Sounds a bit like Blink (2005), doesn't it? And no wonder, since Malcolm Gladwell based portions of his bestseller on research done by Gigerenzer and his associates at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. Here, readers will find an engagingly brisk summary of current knowledge about the heuristics of intuition-the "rules of thumb" we often employ. How do outfielders know where a fly ball will come down? What are the differences between the intuitive powers of men and women? How do people who know very little about specialized fields like tennis or the stock market match the predictive powers of experts? How do peahens select peacocks? Why do people follow the crowd? These are among the questions Gigerenzer explores, assisted by numerous graphs, illustrations and optical effects. He points to research that locates in the brain a "judgment" area we use to "decide" whether to employ gut feelings to a given issue. Near the end, the author takes a close look at the quick judgments physicians must make, at the unconscious rules we use to guide our moral decisions, at the ways we yield to the imperatives of our families and social groups. Gigerenzer's prose-no translator is credited, so presumably he writes in English-is lively and at times even evocative. "Simplicity," he writes in his discussion of such traditional moral codes as the Ten Commandments, "is the ink with which effective moral systems are written."A pleasing,edifying tour of territory that has long been dark and unexplored.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143113768
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/24/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 586,361
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Gerd Gigerenzer is the director of the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.

Reader of over four hundred audiobooks, Dick Hill has won three coveted Audie Awards and been nominated numerous times. He is also the recipient of several AudioFile Earphones Awards. AudioFile includes Dick on their prestigious list of Golden Voices.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    Delilah

    Thank you, except I cant rp as delilah anymore.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    HEADMISSTRES ANNAS OFFICE

    Why not??

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Annotated study on the value of instinctive responses over rational ones

    According to Freud and other intellectuals and philosophers, intuition is unsound and has no merit. Freud warns not to put any value on gut feelings. Instead, people should trust logic and reasoning. German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer begs to differ. He claims that intuition often works far better than reason to solve problems and make decisions. Gigerenzer details numerous studies that repeatedly demonstrate intuition's ability to trump logic. He illustrates how people with less information often make better decisions than experts. getAbstract recommends Gigerenzer's book to people who want to understand and improve the way they make decisions. As Alexander Pope said, "Who reasons wisely is not therefore wise." Gigerenzer might agree. What do you think? More to the point, what do you feel in your gut?

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  • Posted July 1, 2009

    My gut feeling was to buy this book.

    This was a disappointment. If you are looking for advice--'how-to'--on tuning into your gut feelings, look elsewhere. This isn't going to help much.

    On the other hand, it does offer a certain amount of encouragement to simply trust your gut more than you may.

    Unfortunately, my gut said 'read this', but I don't know if that was the best use of my time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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