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Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect Hardcover – October 8, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the perhaps the fifth layperson's guide to neuroscience that I've read in the past few years. Not all have been easy or pleasurable to read. Much of neurology seems inherently difficult, but it doesn't have to be. It the right hands it can be accessible and mesmerizing. In my estimation, this book compares very well to last year's bestselling neuroscience book by V. S. Ramachandran entitled, "The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human." If you are not familiar with Ramachandran, saying this is high praise for Lieberman and this book. After all, Ramachandran is considered one of the leading lights of the academic neuroscience community. He is also a profoundly gifted writer. Lieberman is not far behind; like Ramachandran, he shows an extraordinary ability to convey difficult concepts clearly and personably.
I've always loved psychology. Over my lifetime, I've read at least a master's degree equivalent of academic psychology books.Read more ›
This is an example of a university professor taking his careful scientific research and turning it into an accessible book for a layperson. The stories he writes about his research are illuminating and striking. This is a page turner that makes a reader want to learn more about our wonderful human brain. Lieberman is on the cutting edge of understanding how our brain presents the world to human understanding. I am grateful that he has taken time to share his work with the public when he could have used his time publishing in scientific journals. I like it when scientists make the effort to release their important findings to the public.
This is not a single annoying sentence at the beginning of the book, it is pounded home every few pages. For example, "People often talk as if their company, job, or workplace is solely about getting a paycheck and helping the company increase profits. This is all predicated on the norm of self-interest--the belief that material self-interest is the only thing that motivates people individually and corporately. We have been bombarded with this idea for so long that it's the only conversation we know how to have about the workplace." Huh? Someone may be following the author around bombarding him, but I have seldom heard that idea expressed. Read any book, watch any movie or TV show, and you see it's about people pursuing goals with respect to other people: love, sex, respect, kindness, fear and lots of other stuff. Most organizations are not for-profit corporations, they have explicit social goals and often no material ones.Read more ›
The title ends "Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect," leading the reader to expect this book to be largely about evolutionary psychology -- explaining *why* the brain does what it does requires investigating the adaptive value of brain features over the history of humans and beyond. That is absolutely *not* what this book is about. Just striking the word "Why" from the title would make it much more appropriate to the book's actual content.
In fact, there were places where I thought the author *should* have dived into the evolutionary mechanics but did not. For example, in the discussion about altruism there was nothing about the fact that altruism is perfectly explained when you stop focusing on individuals as the unit of selection and correctly focus on the genes themselves. No mention of Tit-for-Tat and related strategies, ESSes, or anything of the sort. In fact the author seemed to imply that explanations from other quarters got it wrong, and the book was setting the record straight. Hmmm. In another section the author talked about our social wiring as though it had evolved for the good of the species, but again, evolution operates primarily at the level of genes, not species. A gene or gene combination that makes an organism more successful at reproducing will increase in frequency in a population, that's all -- evolution is not a mystic hand trying to make a better species. A for-the-good-of-the-species argument is not a good one.
The margins of my copy of the book are filled with notes, many of which are objections to conclusions drawn or the way something was presented.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book offers a lot of scientific insight as to why we all need social interaction. Our brains are actually, physically wired to benefit from others around us. Read morePublished 2 months ago by S. Ito
This book is awesome, it's got something for everyone. Makes you think and perceive things differently. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Somewhat disappointed. I thought the author would show us experimental results that explain why humans are unique in the way they connect and socialize. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Walid K.
Real deep dive into science research into how our Bains evolved to operate socially.
Not a how to book. Read more
I had a lot of A-Hu moments. I realized and learned a lot about myself and relationships. A must read.Published 6 months ago by gina campbell
This book truly makes us see ourselves and our relationship to others in a different light. It's one of those books I found hard to put down.Published 6 months ago by Brian Harbel
This book is life changing. Helps understand the psychology of the human mind. Great scientific research behind each experiment to show its authenticity.Published 6 months ago