43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK - FASCINATING, INFORMATIVE, & FUN
How Pleasure Works is a great book - it's entertaining and informative, and also surprising - as well as surprisingly funny. It examines different sources of pleasure - from food, to sex, to art, different forms of entertainment, and so on - and discusses recent findings in cognitive science (including a few of the author's own) that tell us about the surprisingly...
Published on June 2, 2010 by Avid Reader
86 of 100 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing: More philosophy than scientific rigor
With "new science" in the title, I was expecting more from this book. Although a few research studies are mentioned here and there this is more of a philosophical discussion resolving around an essentialist theory of pleasure than something based on scientific research. Whole sections consist of speculative discussions with no evidence to back them up. The author...
Published on August 3, 2010 by _LARS_
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9 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A total pleasure,
This review is from: How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like (Hardcover)If you enjoyed books like *Blink* or *Stumbling on Happiness* or *How the Mind Works*, you'll find this book to be a total pleasure. It's engaging, interesting, readable, and full of fascinating ideas. Highly recommended!
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Questions Inspired by 'How Pleasure Works',
This review is from: How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like (Hardcover)--How come I did not know about Yale's Paul Bloom and was surprised to come across his beautiful book, How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like?
--When am I going to find the time to watch his Introduction to Psychology Class on the Open Yale Courses site?
--Who else in my learning and technology world is also reading this book, and how can I connect with them to discuss and share ideas?
--Why is it that Audible.com has such terrible social networking features around their audio books, not letting me see who else has downloaded "How Pleasure Works" and the books in their library?
--Does writing a book like How Pleasure Works that popularizes and synthesizes cutting edge academic research, much of which is done by the author, contribute to the academic career and reputation of the writer as much as a book aimed at a narrow scholarly audience?
--If reading "How Pleasure Works" provides so much pleasure (and I think opportunities for authentic learning), how come popular nonfiction academic books like this one are rarely features on course syllabi?
--What is the factor that determines if a nonfiction book will have an audio version, where other books I'd like to read, are available only in paper or e-book format?
--Where will the next great academic who can write for a popular audience come from and what are the conditions that encourage their development?
What are you reading?
15 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Superficial Science,
This review is from: How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like (Hardcover)The subject of human behavior interests me, and I have taken several courses about this from the Teaching Company. I have always been impressed with the professors who taught these classes. But I am not impressed with Mr. Bloom. If I were to summarize his book in one word, it would be: cute.
This subject has fascinated people forever, including the Greek philosophers and dramatists - and everyone since then. The wise have always recognized the obvious: that life is a mystery, but one that can be explored endlessly - as we all learn in our individual lives. Science is just beginning to discover the relationships between the mind and the brain - something he does not deal with at all.
He talks about food first. He gives us some gory details about cannibalism - why, we can only guess. He tells us our tastes in food are largely socially determined - again, not something new. He goes into sadism and masochism - without giving it those names. The only new thing I learned is that sometimes people use their tastes in food to signal how socially advanced and aware they are. He ends without saying anything about eating disorders - an omission that astonished me.
I decided not to read the rest of the book.
11 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very little about pleasure,
This review is from: How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like (Hardcover)Most of the examples are classic studies about perception, not pleasure. Ex: experts were given white wine in dark glasses. The experts were then asked to rate the RED wine. The expert described the white wine with terms used only for REDs. Thus, the experts sense of taste was overridden by their expectation of red wines.
While interesting, what did this have to do with pleasure?
Also, way to much time spent on people who eat human body parts.
This seemed more of a collection of studies on WHAT people like, but none on HOW pleasure works.
6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really really interesting book,
This review is from: How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like (Hardcover)The ideas explained in How Pleasure Works were absolutely fascinating - and unlike any I've ever read before.
A completely original cutting edge book.
7 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barnes and Noble is selling the E-Book for $9.99!,
This review is from: How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like (Hardcover)I thought the high price of the Kindle edition was determined by the publisher. But B&N is selling the e-book for $9.99.
1 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wrong perspective,
This review is from: How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like (Hardcover)How Pleasure Works by Paul Bloom is an interesting work, with a number of studies cited, supporting his basic thesis. This is a new book, 2010 from Norton and Company of New York City. Bloom is professor of psychology at Yale University.
Bloom wanders around the human experience, talking about areas of life, like sex, toys, food, etc. He connects what we do with the intended pleasure expected from them. Much of what Bloom reports deals with what he calls "essentialism." This, apparently, is taken to mean there are aspects of things and behaviors which are not so obvious.
The major problem with this effort is that Bloom bases everything on something that doesn't exist. Countless times he says this or that is related to evolution. The sad thing is there is no such thing as evolution, in the sense of biological evolution. It would be stupid of me to say such a thing on my own but something like 300,000 evolutionists across the globe have been challenged to bring their best evidence for evolution to a neutral court. So far, not one person has stepped up to the table. Therefore, the evolutionary community loses by default.
That Bloom doesn't see the problem comes as no surprise. As a discipline, modern psychology tries to explain nearly everything on the basis of evolution. However, since there is no evidence for evolution, Bloom might just as well attribute human behavior to Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. It is all a fantasy.
It is interesting that on page 119 Bloom claims that "Origins matter." Being shortsighted, he is apparently unwilling to accept the idea that human beings are here by virtue of God, not because of some imaginary force. Since individuals have come from God, their behavior needs to be viewed in terms of what God says about the human family, not through the lens of naturalism.
It is fair to assume the reason Bloom stands in the evolutionary camp is that he receives pleasure from the stance. Now it is important to see something crucial here. There are literally thousands, perhaps millions of individuals who felt the same way. They took special pleasure in accepting evolution as part of their world view. For much of their lives they couldn't see reality in any other manner. Some, like Bloom, taught evolution, wrote about evolution, spoke about evolution. Now they don't. They have given up on the "adult fairy tale."
Somewhere along the line the pleasure they had felt from evolution has vanished. Why should this happen? It would be like saying a "Chevy" man suddenly turned to be a "Ford" man. The Chevrolet marketing people would want to know why. This is serious business. Bloom and others of similar ilk can start to get an answer by checking:" Persuaded by the Evidence" which came out recently. This book details how professional as well as lay scientists abandoned the evolutionary perspective. It is also a good idea, in the quest to understand the "why" question, to visit: [...] and look at the many, many reasons people have posted for their change of heart and mind.
Bloom has a distorted view of Christianity. "To be a Christian," he says (page 212), "for instance, is to engage in certain rituals and to affiliate with certain people." This, sadly, is a common view but it is far from Jesus who said, "follow me." This, undoubtedly, reflects his own experience which, apparently, is stilted. To be fair, many Christians engage in particular rituals and associate with certain people... but this doesn't make them a Christian. To think otherwise would be like saying `standing in a garage turns a person into a car.' Christianity is not a religion, as so many say, but is a relationship with God.
The awful thing in all this is that Bloom and others like him is paid to convince others of the evolutionary nonsense. Just consider the many lives which have potentially been destroyed in his classrooms. Perhaps someday he will see his error.
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How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom (Hardcover - June 14, 2010)