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If you have no scientific background and are unfamiliar with the quirks of cognitive biases, then this book can give you a good introduction to the topic. The author gives a brief, superficial tour of many areas of cognitive study, but doesn't explore any of them enough to satisfy a reader who has any familiarity with the subject. If you are familiar with the terms "neuron", "bias" and "conditioning" you will probably want a different book.
He discusses our fear bias, various heuristics and some basic evolutionary biology. His style is scatter shot and he seems to wander from topic to topic without much structure. More annoyingly, he gets halfway through certain chapters and says "maybe this isn't really a bug because it mostly works OK."
Other books do a better job discussing the topics touched on in this book. For an evolutionary biology perspective try "The Accidental Mind," for a cognitive psychology point of view read "How We Decide" or "The Blank Slate", for a behavioral perspective "Mistakes Were Made", for an in depth discussion of fear "The Science of Fear."
I would recommend this to someone looking for a brief introduction to our brain's quirks, but the book will likely leave even the casual reader wanting more.
57 of 58 people found this review helpful
I saw and heard a couple interviews with this author which made the book sound interesting, but after listening, I can not recommend it. The only audience that might find it truly interesting is a first or second year college student considering psychology or neurology- it seems to read like a very general cliffs notes of past studies in these fields.
After slogging through the early chapters of studies, facts, and details, I expected to be rewarded with some practical examples of brain bugs in modern society and how to defeat them. Instead, all the book seemed to do was sum up with "the human brain hasn't evolved, so some tasks aren't easy, and, uh, that's that."
I've never been inspired to write a negative review of a book until now. I don't disagree with the author; I just feel like the book read like a wikipedia entry- there are some background facts and figures and there are a couple juicy ideas that some contributor started writing about, but then became bored and let them die on the page. The interviews with the author had me really excited to read the book, but he left the fun and excitement out of the actual text for some reason.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
I thoroughly enjoyed this book finding its coverage of this topic very good, the details just right. It brings together information on how our brains work, and what problems this causes for us, the brain bugs.
Very good read for any one wanting to get overall understanding of the brain, how it works and what issues that causes us.