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Can a football game affect the outcome of an election? What about shark attacks? Or a drought? In a rational world the answer, of course, would be no. But as bestselling historian Rick Shenkman explains in Political Animals, our world is anything but rational. Drawing on science, politics, and history, Shenkman explores the hidden forces behind our often illogical choices.
Political Animals challenges us to go beyond the headlines, which often focus on what politicians do (or say they'll do), and to concentrate instead on what's really important: what shapes our response. Shenkman argues that, contrary to what we tell ourselves, it's our instincts rather than arguments appealing to reason that usually prevail. Pop culture tells us we can trust our instincts, but science is proving that when it comes to politics our Stone Age brain often malfunctions, misfires, and leads us astray.
Fortunately, we can learn to make our instincts work in our favor. Shenkman takes readers on a whirlwind tour of laboratories where scientists are exploring how sea slugs remember, chimpanzees practice deception, and patients whose brains have been split in two tell stories. The scientists' findings give us new ways of understanding our history and ourselvesand prove we don't have to be prisoners of our evolutionary past.”
In this engaging, illuminating, and often riotous chronicle of our political culture, Shenkman probes the depths of the human mind to explore how we can become more political, and less animal.
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Rick Shenkman is an award-winning investigative reporter, a New York Times best-selling author, and the publisher and editor of the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. An elected fellow of the Society of American Historians, he appears regularly on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Mismatch: Why We Can't Trust Our Instincts
PART I: Curiosity
1. The Michael Jordan Lesson: Why people who don't vote and don't follow the news don't think they need to
2. We're Political Animals: So why aren't we better at politics?
3. Your 150 Closest Friends: How many people do you know?
PART II: Reading People
4. Why We Are Surprised When Our Leaders Disappoint Us: The mistake even smart voters make
5. 167 Milliseconds: The amazing speed at which we draw conclusions about people
PART III: Truth
6. Lying to Ourselves: The high cost of self-deception and why we can't stop ourselves
7. Do We Really Want the Truth?: Why we often seem less interested in the truth than we profess
8. Everything Happens for a Reason: It's not just kids we prefer fairy tales
9. It's Like It Was Still 1974: Why people make arguments so transparently feeble they leave others dumbstruck
PART IV: Empathy
10. When It Happens to You: The limits to empathy
11. The Accountant's Error: The danger of relying on our gut
Conclusion: A Way Forward: Solutions are at our fingertips if only we grasp them
Coda: The Widow's Advantage: And What We Can Learn From Her