I found this book to be an interesting blend of philosophy and neurology. To me the take home point is the differential of wanting and desire. I believe people fall prey to passing neurological habit which prompts them to pursue that which they do not in fact desire, and this book presents some interesting alternative way to evaluate that which really gives us pleasure. This author takes the interesting proposition that true pleasure is an innately moral experience in that it fulfills an evolutionary drive that rewards empathy. The neurology is pretty basic, but I found it useful.
The reviewer who gave a 1-star rating (profoundly poor writing) gives a concise synopsis. Shoddy writing and poor discipline. It's OK and expected to inject opinions, some very speculative, in science books targeted at a lay audience, but the book has numerous scientific inaccuracies which is a no-no. Most problematic: the book contains little substantive information on its stated subject matter -- the pleasure center. A few (mostly forced) sentences are added at the end of each chapter to try to drag in some aspect of pleasure. Seems to indicate the author knew what shoddy output he was producing, but did it anyway. Anyone who reviews his research results might be wise to do so extra-extra carefully since poor workmanship and low standards are not easily compartmentalized.
I am always interested in anything to do with the brain.From this book I am learning how pleasure and pain shape our mental decisions.It is a book which can be used for reference purposes as well as good bedside reading.
Save your money. This book reads more like a collection of class notes taken by a cogsci undergrad than a book-length treatment of anything in particular. The chapters are very poorly organized, and the author does little to exploit his knowledge of the subject. You will find very little discussion of pleasure in this book, or of anything related to the chapter titles. I find it very hard to understand how Oxford could allow a book of this quality to go to press. I would recommend taking a look at Kringelbach's scientific papers, but not this book.