Why do we routinely choose options that don't meet our short-term needs and undermine our long-term goals? Why do we willingly expose ourselves to temptations that undercut our hard-fought progress to overcome addictions? Why are we prone to assigning meaning to statistically common coincidences? Why do we insist we're right even when evidence contradicts us?
In What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, science writer David DiSalvo reveals a remarkable paradox: what your brain wants is frequently not what your brain needs. In fact, much of what makes our brains "happy" leads to errors, biases, and distortions, which make getting out of our own way extremely difficult. DiSalvo's search includes forays into evolutionary and social psychology, cognitive science, neurology, and even marketing and economics - as well as interviews with many of the top thinkers in psychology and neuroscience today.
From this research-based platform, DiSalvo draws out insights that we can use to identify our brains' foibles and turn our awareness into edifying action. Ultimately, DiSalvo argues, the research does not serve up ready-made answers, but provides us with actionable clues for overcoming the plight of our advanced brains and, consequently, living more fulfilled lives.
"This lively presentation of the latest in cognitive science convincingly debunks what DiSalvo calls 'self-help snake oil.'" (Publisher's Weekly)
"DiSalvo offers 'science-help' (as opposed to self-help) by detailing the mental shortcuts our minds like to take but that don't always serve us well, with the assumption that understanding brain function helps us fight its stubborn behavior." (Psychology Today)
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Cursory but not instructive
The content of the book is relevant, interesting, and captivating. I had to listen twice, though, because he reads it a bit too fast. Awesome book and so useful, reminding me of topics I haven't studied for awhile, and adding new info and support in a way that is accessible to those versed or new to psychology concepts. It would be a lot better if the reader slowed down so I didn't have to listen twice :-)
Reviewing the concepts
- Nicole Van Ness