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How We Decide
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How We Decide [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition]

by Jonah Lehrer (Author), David Colacci (Narrator)
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (271 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

Since Plato, philosophers have described the decision-making process as either rational or emotional: we carefully deliberate or we "blink" and go with our gut. But as scientists break open the mind's black box with the latest tools of neuroscience, they're discovering that this is not how the mind works. Our best decisions are a finely tuned blend of both feeling and reason - and the precise mix depends on the situation. When buying a house, for example, it's best to let our unconscious mull over the many variables. But when we're picking a stock, intuition often leads us astray. The trick is to determine when to lean on which part of the brain, and to do this, we need to think harder (and smarter) about how we think.

Jonah Lehrer arms us with the tools we need, drawing on cutting-edge research by Daniel Kahneman, Colin Camerer, and others, as well as the real-world experiences of a wide range of "deciders" - from airplane pilots and hedge fund investors to serial killers and poker players. Lehrer shows how people are taking advantage of the new science to make better television shows, win more football games, and improve military intelligence. His goal is to answer two questions that are of interest to just about anyone, from CEOs to firefighters: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better?

©2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 33 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Release Date: February 9, 2009
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001SB91ZK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (271 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
584 of 624 people found the following review helpful
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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56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What you should know before you buy this book March 4, 2013
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but lightweight 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
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read from a much lauded author July 29, 2009
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific popular science
This one is well deserving of the praise it received. Lehrer knows how to explain science, and he does so in memorable and entertaining ways. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Librum
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book. I have purchased several copies for friends ...
Fascinating book.
I have purchased several copies for friends.
Published 1 month ago by Steven Lippman
5.0 out of 5 stars Free Will?
This is a fascinating read. The anecdotes and psychological study reviews are mind grabbing. Despite what may have happened to Jonah Lehrer's writing career, the value of this... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Eric Leberg
1.0 out of 5 stars Very lightweight...
Didn't like it at all. Based on the description on the back, I was expecting the book to be more analytical. Read more
Published 3 months ago by gottalove
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly presented
This book is a must read. No matter what you do, you have to make decisions and this book really teaches us to be aware of the complex processes of decision making.
Published 3 months ago by R. Grounds
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on how we think and the importance role of emotion in...
I enjoy learning how the brain functions, and this book to me clears up many questions. Why are our initial instincts often correct, and when should we listen to them. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Michael L. Workman
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
but not super engaging. Lot of really great info in this book and some neat anecdotes, but I often found myself slogging though it.
Published 5 months ago by J. Ault
5.0 out of 5 stars Decide
How we decide talks about the decision making process of the brain, it's a fantastic book and I've given it a gift many times.
Published 5 months ago by BVos
5.0 out of 5 stars How we decide
A great book that is easy to read and give insight into the decision making process. Very, very interesting and informative!
Published 6 months ago by reader
2.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic neuroscience
I'm biased because I actually am a neuroscientist, but this book throws around brain centers and pathways just enough to fool you that there actually is some science in what he's... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Robert Scaer
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