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Mind Over Mind: The Surprising Power of Expectations Hardcover – October 11, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Current Hardcover (October 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591845092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591845096
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Fascinating.”
New Scientist

Mind Over Mind takes us deep into the human psychology of expectation through the worlds of wine tasting, penalty kicks, compulsive gambling, and police lineups. Berdik delivers an optimistic message with a convincing punch: understanding the power of imagination can challenge our assumptions about what it means to be human and liberate us from the tyranny of self-fulfilling prophecies.”
—Colin Ellard, author of You Are Here; director, Research Laboratory for Immersive Virtual Environments, University of Waterloo
 
Mind Over Mind is a captivating read, a mix of great stories and compelling science that shows us how expectations can influence our success—for better and for worse. Berdik gives us the tools to change our own behavior and influence others.”
—Sian Beilock, author of Choke; professor of psychology, University of Chicago
 
“This is a delightful book: a mind-bending survey of what scientists are beginning to learn about the remarkable powers of the imagination. Fascinating, illuminating, and full of surprises, Mind Over Mind will forever change the way you think—about the way you think.”
—Toby Lester, author of Da Vinci’s Ghost and The Fourth Part of the World
 
“Chris Berdik’s vivid portrait of the placebo effect and related phenomena reveals that our brains are the clumsiest of time travelers, altering life in the present by anticipating outcomes in the future. So many books about the brain focus on what’s going on in other people’s heads. Mind Over Mind helps you see what’s going on in yours.”
—Michael Erard, author of Babel No More
 
“From the French court of King Louis XVI to today’s neuroscience labs, Mind Over Mind surveys the too often neglected and misunderstood power of our expectations—over our health, performance, and preferences. With wide-ranging examples from the worlds of sports, business, politics, and medicine, Chris Berdik has whipped up an engaging soufflé of a book brimming with quirky and surprising detail.”
—Seth Shulman, author of The Telephone Gambit

About the Author

Chris Berdik is a science journalist and a former staff editor at The Atlantic and Mother Jones. He has written for numerous publications, including New Scientist, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The San Diego Union-Tribune. He lives in Boston.


More About the Author

Chris Berdik is a freelance science journalist and a former staff editor at the Atlantic Monthly and Mother Jones.

His work has appeared in New Scientist magazine, Salon, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe, among other publications. His radio and multimedia pieces have appeared on Smithsonian.Com, WBUR (Boston's NPR affiliate), and Sciencestage.com.

Mind Over Mind: The Surprising Power of Expectations (Current, 2012) is his first book. Interested in an author talk or reading? Go here: http://www.togather.com/chris-berdik

Customer Reviews

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Very fun information book.
Mcconn 318
We all like to think that we are in control of our own actions, but it is amazing to recognize the extent to which we might be affected by our own expectations.
Kara Kling
This book does exactly what its title implies it will: it surprises you how much power your own expectations can hold.
KP

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Book Fanatic TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a good book about how expectations matter and matter a lot. It started out with sports and that sort of turned me off but after that it took off well. It roughly covers sports, consumption, relationships/people, and medicine. I thought the final couple of chapters on the placebo effect were particularly good.

The book goes into these topics in medium depth. It is not just light breezy stuff you often find in science-lite writing. The book drew me in and I learned something. This book has Amazon's "Search Inside" feature which lets you preview the book before you buy and I strongly recommend you make use of that wonderful feature.

Recommended for people who are curious about the human mind.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bob Imberman on November 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Very interesting survey and discussion of what we've learned (and haven't yet figured out) about how the mind often "operates in the future tense," and the surprising breadth and strength of impact on our bodies, behavior and performance.

Each chapter covers a specific domain in which our expectations - broadly speaking - somehow impact our "real" world. Berdik's syntheses of experiment results were often mind-blowing and had me reacting out-loud. Chapters on placebo effect are especially strong, as is the section on the impact of self-image on performance. Specific, applicable historical events are well-chosen, well-integrated and provide spark and humor.

Something that was important to me - a scientist at heart - the tone is appropriately modest given the limited volume and replication of these provocative experiments. At the same time, Berdik is quite persuasive that a simplistic, black-and-white model that treats the mind as intangible and separate doesn't fully describe our world or our experience, and ignores real and significant interactions.

It was great for me - a layperson interested in cognitive / behavior science who likes Gladwell-type books - but I could also imagine it being useful to someone in a self-help way, suggesting areas in which a reader might seek to improve his or her performance in some specific domain (e.g., presentation skills at work, dating).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kara Kling on November 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you enjoyed Nurture Shock or The Tipping Point, you will also love Mind Over Mind. It is a brilliant combination of science and story-telling - a non-fiction book that manages to inform and entertain at the same time. Different chapters will obviously have different appeal to different readers, but the book covers a variety of interesting topics, from sports to wine tasting to medicine to money, all of which skillfully intertwine current neurological, psychological, and physiological research with humor and a compelling, and often surprising, narrative. I loved the study about the milkshakes, for example. While I might have anticipated that the group drinking a supposedly "low calorie" shake would feel entitled to consume more, I found it fascinating that the subjects' brains were actually sending a chemical signal telling their bodies that they must be hungry just because they thought the shake was low cal! We all like to think that we are in control of our own actions, but it is amazing to recognize the extent to which we might be affected by our own expectations.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Book-Movie-Music Lover on May 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On the plus side, the information in this book is interesting - very interesting, if you happen to be someone who is interested in why people do goofy things and think goofy thoughts. Also on the plus side, the author is an EXCELLENT writer. His style is very engaging, and his prose races along. It would be difficult to be bored reading this book.
On the minus side, the author doesn't really provide any insights on what you can do with the information. It's really more of a, "Based on the research presented here, people really are goofy." If you find that interesting, then you will find the book interesting.
However, if you're looking for the next logical step: "OK, People are prone to do goofy things and think goofy thoughts. What are some specific steps I can take to help me and my family members improve our lives as a result of this information?", forget it. The author provides no insight into this at all, other than two or three generic paragraphs on the last page of the book that basically say, "Now that you realize how goofy people are, you can try not to be so goofy."
Unfortunately, it's not that easy, because, according to the author's research, a lot of the goofy things people do and think really are HARD-WIRED into human brains, or, at very least, are at very subconscious levels. So, changing ones beliefs and behaviors isn't as easy as just saying, "Well, I'm not going to do THAT anymore!"
This book would have been much better, and been of much more value to readers, if the author had spent the first two-thirds of each chapter talking about the goofy things people do and the goofy things people think in various areas of their lives, and the final third of each chapter talking about specific ideas and strategies that readers can implement to address and overcome these natural tendencies.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phil Simon on January 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I have always wondered about the science behind placebos, the mind-set of athletes during big moments, and even what our own physical posture conveys to others--and ourselves. In this fascinating book, Berdik covers these subjects and quite a few more.

Berdik's style is at once informative, intelligent, and conversational. This was a pleasure to read and I can't wait to see more from this author.

Get. This. Book. Now.
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