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If you could sum up The Marshmallow Test in three words, what would they be?
Academic, through, long.
What other book might you compare The Marshmallow Test to and why?
I first started with "The Willpower Instinct" by Kelly McGonigal and wanted to learn more about the academic research behind it. The Marshmallow Test is a longer, more detailed version of it and to me it sounded more academic. I found the subject fascinating.
Would you be willing to try another one of Alan Alda’s performances?
Not the ones on non-fiction.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Small town boy holds on to his marshmallows, uses them to bribe the class bully and gets rich and famous later in life.
Any additional comments?
I am a fan of Alan Alda, however, I felt like this audio performance has been rushed a little. Most of the time, it gave me the impression that he got the gig and started reading it, without properly emphasizing the sentences. Yes, it was a long book and a lot to read, oh well, nobody can be perfect all the time.
31 of 31 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
I did enjoy the listen, but it was over before it really told me any more than what was in Joachim de Posada's TED talk on the marshmallow experiments.
So, lovely and enjoyable, but does not really add anything to a 9 min TED talk.
Alan Alda narrates beautifully.
62 of 65 people found this review helpful
Like Thinking Fast and Slow, this book examines how the two layers of the brain - system 1 and system 2, or the limbic system and pre-frontal cortex, or as Mishel generally prefers to say, the 'hot' system and the 'cool' one - muddle along together to run our lives for better or worse. Despite discussing largely the same topic, Mishel manages to take a completely fresh view from Kahneman (i.e. practically no direct overlap). Michel is also a more pithy writer, respecting the reader's intelligence, whereas Kahneman tends to be bit longwinded, a bit of an old woman, spelling out his ideas when you've already got the point.
I came across the Marshmallow Test originally in research for my own book about controlling obesity, through the (surprising) finding that the BMI of 40 year olds (in the US) correlated significantly with their ability to defer rewards at age 4, as measured by the Marshmallow Test in the 1960’s. This finding is mentioned, but Mishel ranges far wider - try this:
Brain imaging established that the same areas of the brain lit up when people felt physical pain (in fact, heat on forearm) as when they suffered the pain of emotional rejection (in fact, playing a video game and getting left out by the other two players). So this raised the question, ‘Could you take paracetamol to numb the pain of rejection?' And it turns out (at least under experimental conditions and for video games) that paracetamol does indeed protect people to some extent from emotional upset. (Which may shed some light on why people get addicted to painkillers.)
Mishel offers lots of implications for education, and even explains why people tend to boast so much - I'm always getting sat next self aggrandising idiots at parties - look out for the episode about Jake. The explanation is more subtle than you might guess.
Narration: good and natural, by which I mean totally unobtrusive - it was the voice I would imagine for Walter Mishel, but a professional performer.
41 of 42 people found this review helpful
The book goes way beyond what the title and 'byline' indicates. An educational look into the basis of human behaviors. It caused me to take a look at my up bringing and childhood and pin point the causal factors for all of my negative behaviors. It's helped me form new foundations to change my thinking and work ethics as well any destructive behaviors I might have.
This is a cliché but it really is a must read.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful