The Compass of Pleasure

  • by David J. Linden
  • Narrated by Sean Pratt
  • 6 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A leading brain scientist's look at the neurobiology of pleasure - and how pleasures can become addictions. Whether eating, taking drugs, engaging in sex, or doing good deeds, the pursuit of pleasure is a central drive of the human animal. In The Compass of Pleasure Johns Hopkins neuroscientist David J. Linden explains how pleasure affects us at the most fundamental level: in our brain. As he did in his award-winning book, The Accidental Mind, Linden combines cutting-edge science with entertaining anecdotes to illuminate the source of the behaviors that can lead us to ecstasy but that can easily become compulsive. Why are drugs like nicotine and heroin addictive while LSD is not? Why has the search for safe appetite suppressants been such a disappointment? The Compass of Pleasure concludes with a provocative consideration of pleasure in the future, when it may be possible to activate our pleasure circuits at will and in entirely novel patterns.

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What the Critics Say

“Linden's conversational style, his abundant use of anecdotes, and his successful coupling of wit with insight makes the book a joy to read.” (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Holy smokes! This is a clinical journal.

This is a great book if you are looking for a clinical understanding behind the motivation of pleasure. I was looking forward to gaining an understanding of what drives our pleasures. But, this book was not meant for the common reader. It is technical and extremely detailed.
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- J Emmons

Mechanics of Pleasure & Addiction

Focused on neuroscientific explanation of physiological mechanisms of pleasure, particularly dopamine circuits, and addictions. Though the book is organized into chapters around the topics listed in the subtitle, each topic is just a another way to look at Linden's main underlying theses, and those (e.g. the addiction process) are of primary interest and worth pondering over. The individual topic chapters then vary in quality based on how strongly the underlying idea is presented, and I think the book peaks somewhat in its first half because by then Linden has explained the thrust of his arguments. Still, he chose some great examples to illustrate.
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- David Everling "Skipper"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-31-2011
  • Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC