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How We Decide Hardcover – January 1, 2009


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How We Decide + Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions + Thinking, Fast and Slow
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1st Printing edition (2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618620117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618620111
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonah Lehrer is a Contributing Editor at Wired and the author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist. He graduated from Columbia University and studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He's written for The New Yorker, Nature, Seed, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. He's also a Contributing Editor at Scientific American Mind and National Public Radio's Radio Lab.

Customer Reviews

It is a very enjoyable read and an outstanding book which I highly recommend.
Shalom Freedman
This is one of those books that is very interesting, fascinating, and written in a clear manner that makes reading it a pleasure.
Steve Burns
Most of us believe that people who are rational and dispassionate always make better decisions.
E. Bukowsky

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

585 of 627 people found the following review helpful By Sreeram Ramakrishnan VINE VOICE on February 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps my expectations of one of my favorite authors/editors in Seed magazine and from his earlier book Proust Was a Neuroscientistwas too high...nevertheless, this book is a disappointment. Not that there is anything structurally or factually incorrect - it just doesn't add any value to a reader that is familiar with this field. The examples and studies mentioned in the book, for the most part, have been repeated many times in several books of this genre. Instead of providing additional insights or alternative interpretations, or any follow-ups to the experiments and studies, Lehrer, for the most part repeats the key points from these studies and attempts to make some points in the context of decision making. Despite best efforts, the book merely ends up reinforcing known and well-popularized concepts (even in popular literature) such as recency bias, cognitive dissonance, loss aversion, etc. If you have read books like Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness you will be hard pressed to find enough value in this book to invest in this. Other books such as ...Read more ›
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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on March 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Quoted from NPR: [...]

"Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has decided that disgraced journalist and author Jonah Lehrer's second book, How We Decide, will be taken off shelves at bookstores after the publisher's internal investigation uncovered "significant problems," The Daily Beast reports. Lehrer, who publicly apologized (in exchange for a substantial fee) last month for fabricating Bob Dylan quotes in his third book Imagine, resigned from The New Yorker in July. Imagine was pulled from shelves last year. The publisher didn't go into specifics about the problems with How We Decide, but Daily Beast's Michael Moynihan had previously flagged some "problematic passages.""

Sigh...I was looking forward to this read. Is originality dead?
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130 of 142 people found the following review helpful By M. Hyman VINE VOICE on January 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book describes the neuroscience behind decision making, and in particular the various parts of the brain that are involved in different parts of problem analysis. It is filled with interesting examples from real world situations such as airplane near-disasters, poker playing, and Parkinson's patients, and uses these examples to illustrate various parts of our brain machinery.

The book is an easy read, interesting, and informative. It is, however, a lightweight read. Do not expect great depth into any of the studies -- it is more like a survey course or cliff notes in many respects. This makes it approachable for an audience without any science background, but it also left me wanting a lot more depth. I also found the concluding chapter to be forced... it didn't really have much to offer.

I am glad to have read the book, but I didn't walk away feeling amazed.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Chicago Book Addict TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read this book because I am teaching a course in consumer behavior this fall and was wondering if this book might be worth making required or optional reading. Neuroscience and neuromarketing are gaining a lot of attention in the marketing field and I thought this could be a good introduction. Unfortunately, I was disapointed by this book. I agree with previous reviews that a lot of the content seems similar to books like Blink and Buyology. I love colloquial examples but I couldn't help feeling like I had heard these exact same stories and examples before. Granted, this is less of an issue if you've never read a book on neuroscience, neuromarketing or decision making, but I would have expected the author to source more examples that are less common.

I think I would have had less of an issue with the similar content if the book was told in a way that was compelling and interesting. However, this was just not the case for me. I found that the storytelling paled in comparison to books like Buyology and Blink. It's completely subjective but there was just nothing pushing me along to keep me engaged in the book. I generally have a high tolerance for dry writing but I found myself consistently putting this down and having to encourage myself to pick it back up. Granted, reading examples I had heard before probably contributed to this, but the writing didn't help in my opinion either. I think the one strength of this book is that it is very well researched and it is clear that Lehrer really knows what he is talking about.

Overall I think this book was just too similar to others I had read on similar topics and not written as compellingly as those books either.
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