Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment [NOOK Book]

Overview


“A discussion that is meaty, contemporary and expansive . . . Berns artfully blends social critique with technical expertise.”—The Washington Post Book World
In a riveting narrative look at the brain and the power of novelty to satisfy it, Dr. Gregory Berns plumbs fields as diverse as neuroscience, economics, and evolutionary psychology to find answers to the fundamental question of how we can find a more satisfying way to think and live.
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Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment

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Overview


“A discussion that is meaty, contemporary and expansive . . . Berns artfully blends social critique with technical expertise.”—The Washington Post Book World
In a riveting narrative look at the brain and the power of novelty to satisfy it, Dr. Gregory Berns plumbs fields as diverse as neuroscience, economics, and evolutionary psychology to find answers to the fundamental question of how we can find a more satisfying way to think and live.
We join Berns as he follows ultramarathoners across the Sierra Nevadas, enters a suburban S&M club to explore the deeper connection between pleasure and pain, partakes of a truly transporting meal, and ultimately returns home to face the challenge of incorporating novelty into a long-term relationship.
In a narrative as compelling as its insights are trenchant, Satisfaction will convince you that the more complicated and even downright challenging a life you pursue, the more likely it is that you will be satisfied.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Emory University associate professor Gregory Berns is an unconventional neuroscientist. To research the nature of satisfaction, he followed ultramarathoners across the Sierra Nevada; visited a suburban S&M club; and studied the surprising unhappiness of lottery winners. Blending cutting-edge discoveries from brain science, economics, and evolutionary psychology, he offers surprising insights into seeming paradoxes of human behavior.
Publishers Weekly
Berns kicks off this thought-provoking exploration with a simple question, "What do humans want?" He challenges the belief that we are driven primarily to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. Rather, Berns finds that "satisfaction comes less from the attainment of a goal and more in what you must do to get there." With a series of experiments using cutting-edge MRI scanning technology, he sees that the interaction of dopamine, the hormone secreted in the brain in anticipation of pleasure, and cortisol, the chemical released when we are under stress, produces the feelings people associate with satisfaction. Berns, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory, ventures into the physical world to prove his thesis, looking at bruised and reddened s&m enthusiasts and ultramarathoners collapsing after a 100-mile run. The author then brings his journey home, confronting issues in his own marriage and the sexual dissatisfaction that so often plagues long-term relationships. His conclusion is simple and compelling: people are wired for novel experience, and when we seek it out, we are satisfied. This will be a highly satisfying read for anyone interested in what gets us out of bed in the morning day after day. Agent, Susan Arellano. (Sept. 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Berns has given us a fascinating and thought-provoking look at what science knows about finding fulfillment.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Nothing escapes the author’s investigative eye . . . Berns’s gumshoe approach to scientific theory offers its own proof that a fresh take on the familiar can be most gratifying.”—Fortune

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429900133
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,117,731
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author


Gregory Berns, M.D., Ph.D., is an associate professor of
psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University. Profiled twice in the
Science section of The New York Times, Berns and his research have been featured in Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, Nature, Money, New Scientist, Psychology Today, and on CNN, NPR, ABC, and the BBC. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Read an Excerpt

There is no reason to think that the pleasures of sex would be completely spared the fate of the hedonic treadmill. Familiarity leads to boredom, and with it the incessant reduction of all pleasures that can threaten the sexual glue binding many couples together. While novelty is a sure-fire way of creating great experiences, the belief that matrimonial harmony depends on stability, fidelity, and constancy stands in direct opposition to this. As in everything related to satisfaction, and perhaps also relationships, the tension between what is predictable and safe versus what is novel and dangerous, is constantly being played out.

Satisfaction—that state of blessed contentment, mystical enlightenment, tranquility, a sense of something beyond your own existence—is ephemeral at best. Everything I have encountered inside the lab and out in the world suggests that satisfaction is not the same as either pleasure or happiness, and that searching for happiness will not necessarily lead to satisfaction. It is in the quest for satisfaction that you find it; within any quest you encounter novelty and your brain changes as a result. Novelty can take you far, but like everything, it too is subject to habituation, and the risks associated with pursuing novelty for its own sake may be substantial. How, for example, can you incorporate it into a long-term relationship?

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Table of Contents

1 The slave in the brain 1
2 For the love of money 18
3 Puzzling gratifications 47
4 The sushi problem 71
5 The electric pleasuredome 99
6 It hurts so good 120
7 Running high 146
8 Iceland : the experience 175
9 Sex, love, and the crucible of satisfaction 210
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