On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits

On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits

by Wray Herbert

Hardcover

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Overview

On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits by Wray Herbert

Our lives are composed of millions of choices, ranging from trivial to life-changing and momentous. Luckily, our brains have evolved a number of mental shortcuts, biases, and tricks that allow us to quickly negotiate this endless array of decisions. We don’t want to rationally deliberate every choice we make, and thanks to these cognitive rules of thumb, we don’t need to. 
 
Yet these hard-wired shortcuts, mental wonders though they may be, can also be perilous.   They can distort our thinking in ways that are often invisible to us, leading us to make poor decisions, to be easy targets for manipulators…and they can even cost us our lives. 
 
The truth is, despite all the buzz about the power of gut-instinct decision-making in recent years, sometimes it’s better to stop and say, “On second thought . . .”  
 
The trick, of course, lies in knowing when to trust that instant response, and when to question it.  In On Second Thought, acclaimed science writer Wray Herbert provides the first guide to achieving that balance.  Drawing on real-world examples and cutting-edge research, he takes us on a fascinating, wide-ranging journey through our innate cognitive traps and tools, exposing the hidden dangers lurking in familiarity and consistency; the obstacles that keep us from accurately evaluating risk and value; the delusions that make it hard for us to accurately predict the future; the perils of the human yearning for order and simplicity; the ways our fears can color our very perceptions . . . and much more. 
 
Along the way, Herbert reveals the often-bizarre cross-connections these shortcuts have secretly ingrained in our brains, answering such questions as why jury decisions may be shaped by our ancient need for cleanliness; what the state of your desk has to do with your political preferences; why loneliness can literally make us shiver; how drawing two dots on a piece of paper can desensitize us to violence… and how the very typeface on this page is affecting your decision about whether or not to buy this book.   
 
Ultimately, On Second Thought is both a captivating exploration of the workings of the mind and an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to learn how to make smarter, better judgments every day. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307461636
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/14/2010
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 11.12(h) x 1.04(d)

About the Author

Wray Herbert, who has been writing about psychology and human behavior for more than twenty-five years, currently writes two regular columns for Newsweek and Scientific American Mind.

Dan John Miller has earned multiple Audie Award nominations, winning for The Wrecking Crew by Kent Hartman; has twice been named a Best Voice by AudioFile magazine; and has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards.

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