What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite

  • by David DiSalvo
  • Narrated by David DiSalvo
  • 5 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Cursory but not instructive

The book provides a decent tour of current psychology and behavior science but does not offer any substantive tips about how to use the information.

As a science author (as opposed to a scientist) he does a good job of explaining subtle concepts. The other side of this coin is that most of the information is presented in layman's terms. So if you are looking for a more scientific exploration of these issues you should look at other titles.

Like most books in this category, the author spends a great deal of time describing how we are led astray by cognitive biases without offering any insight about how to avoid them. I would like to see a book that tried to tackle that problem more seriously.

Unfortunately, the author chose to read his own book, which is almost always a mistake. The delivery is rather flat--not monotone, but it doesn't really hold your attention.

Overall, the content is accurate and informative and the performance is adequate. If you are looking for an introduction to cognitive bias then the book will be interesting. If you want a more in depth scientific approach I would recommend "Thinking Fast and Slow."
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- Sean

slow down

What did you love best about What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite?

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 :-)

What was one of the most memorable moments of What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite?

Reviewing the concepts

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Read slower

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- Nicole Van Ness "Nicole Van Ness"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-17-2012
  • Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC