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Editorial Reviews

Paul Bloom is a very down-to-earth guy for a professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale. In How Pleasure Works, his third book about what makes humans do what they do, he explores why we like what we like with clear language and a plethora of humorous examples. Jeremy Johnson gives voice to the book in the straightforward manner common to nonfiction narrations, committing to the scientific gravitas of this study in a way that remains engaging, and ultimately elevating the many funny bits by delivering them with a professional tone. It's not unlike one of the many informational videos seen on The Simpsons that begin with, "Hi, I'm Troy McClure..."
You'll wonder how Johnson avoids cracking up as he relates the evidence Bloom has collected over the years. Among so many delightful morsels of food for thought is the consideration of why people don't want to eat chocolate shaped like a turd, why granny has been sleeping with the same pillow for 86 years, why nobody tips an internationally famous violinist when he plays a free concert in the subway, why your significant other's identical twin isn't sexy, and why people watch movies that make them cry. Regaling us with oh-so-practical psychological information concerning the taboos of cannibalism and incest, Johnson does a terrific job of keeping one foot on the ground as he relates Bloom's amusing take on what makes us tick.
This book is a must-listen for anybody who eats, has sex, wonders what to save when the house burns down, goes to a museum, or has any imagination whatsoever. Bloom's plainspoken inquiry and Johnson's uncomplicated delivery are a winning combination, keeping this terrifically witty look at our everyday lives both easy to follow and engaging from start to finish. It is, as Bloom would say, mental cheesecake. —Megan Volpert
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Publisher's Summary

Yale psychologist Paul Bloom presents a striking new vision of the pleasures of everyday life. The thought of sex with a virgin is intensely arousing for many men. The average American spends over four hours a day watching television. Abstract art can sell for millions of dollars. Young children enjoy playing with imaginary friends and can be comforted by security blankets. People slow their cars to look at gory accidents and go to movies that make them cry.
In this fascinating and witty account, Paul Bloom examines the science behind these curious desires, attractions, and tastes, covering everything from the animal instincts of sex and food to the uniquely human taste for art, music, and stories. Drawing on insights from child development, philosophy, neuroscience, and behavioral economics, How Pleasure Works shows how certain universal habits of the human mind explain what we like and why we like it.
©2010 Paul Bloom (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Roy on 08-01-10

Everything You Ever Would Want to Know

Paul Bloom has written a wonderfully informative book about pleasure and how it works. A gifted writer and professor of psychology at Yale, Bloom simply tells us everything that might interest us in a pleasing way. He presents his research and that of others in a way that is very inviting and approachable. There are revelations on every page er everyminute or so. I am always looking for books that will fill in gaps in my knowledege and this worked very well. Jeremy Johnson could not improve on the reading of the text. If you take this book up, it will be a sheer pleasure.

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13 of 14 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Robert on 06-15-10

Easy to understand, well read.

Though most of the content isn't new for those exposed to the recent wave of mass market books on cognitive neuroscience, this is the clearest and easiest to understand. Bloom did a terrific job organizing the material and illustrating concepts with good examples. All in all, this is very accessible to the average reader.
Johnson's narration is well-paced and enjoyable.
The credits listed were many, but that's the way it is for academics -- everyone involved in the research deserves acknowledgment. Bloom is essentially a primary source for much of the material, so this understandable.

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41 of 46 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Linda on 01-30-11


I enjoyed this book and found it suprisingly easy to listen to unlike some other non-fiction books.
Unlike another reviewer I didn't find anything wrong with the narrator. Maybe not a silver tongue but definitely better than most university lecturers. I felt like the narrator was talking to me about the subject which is what I was looking for.

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2 out of 5 stars
By Chris on 11-08-10

Good content. Bad reading.

The content in this book is pretty good and gets better after Paul Bloom stops talking about eating people. However, even the parts that could be entertaining or funny are sucked completely dry by Jeremy Johnson who gave less pizazz than a divorce lawyer. I want to listen to this book again to review the content but I know I will avoid it as the reading just bored me to frustration.

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