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Your Brain Is (Almost) Perfect: How We Make Decisions Paperback – September 25, 2007
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I consider Read to be quite exceptional.
Francis Crick, Nobel Laureate, co-discoverer of DNA
aA fascinating introduction to an important new area of research in the science of the mind.a
aSteven Pinker, Johnstone Professor, Harvard University; "The Blank Slate"
aCompellinga]Montague knows that cool reason is not enough to explain decisions.a
aAntonio Damasio, University of Southern California; author of "Descartesa Error"
aA gripping story of what makes me, me.a
aPatricia Churchland, MacArthur ageniusa award winner
aI consider Read to be quite exceptional.a
aFrancis Crick, Nobel Laureate, co-discoverer of DNA
?A fascinating introduction to an important new area of research in the science of the mind.?
?Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor, Harvard University; "The Blank Slate"
?Compelling?Montague knows that cool reason is not enough to explain decisions.?
?Antonio Damasio, University of Southern California; author of "Descartes? Error"
?A gripping story of what makes me, me.?
?Patricia Churchland, MacArthur ?genius? award winner
?I consider Read to be quite exceptional.?
?Francis Crick, Nobel Laureate, co-discoverer of DNA
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a fascinating introduction to the mechanisms behind the choices we make. I highly recommend it to people who are looking for a basic understanding of the neuroscience of choice, as we understand it currently. All the information you need is included and discussed, and the book is filled with interesting stories and illustrations that make the author's train of thought easy to follow. My few complaints fall into two categories: writing and content. On the writing side, the transitions between topics inside a chapter can be choppy, which makes it difficult to connect everything together. Also, his writing style tends to be a bit wordy. On the content side, the book skims over a lot of information I would have liked to know, such as what is happening at the cellular level when we feel regret or trust. However, the book makes no claim to be an end-all resource and does have a large bibliography to allow further reading. Each of the book's eight chapters cover several topics, but they relate to each other well and Dr. Montague (the author) does a good job tying them all together. For the purposes of a summary, I have divided the book into three parts: background, elements of choice (models, valuation, goals, etc.), and the big picture. Also, while this book covers a wide range of topics, I wanted to cover just a couple of the ones I found especially interesting to give potential readers an idea of what the book is like.
The background chapters, one and two, build a framework to hang the rest of the book on. They introduce ideas such the differences between the hardware and software of a computation device, and principles of efficient computing.Read more ›
I guess this was not selling with the other name, or the title was badly chosen in terms of describing what the book was about.
I was hoping that this book was going to be a refinement and elaboration of his ideas in "Why Choose This Book" instead of the same book.
Montague takes a more or less unified academic approach, trying to sketch out an overall theory of the brain as computational machine that assigns values and makes choices in an efficient manner. As a comparaison, it is an easier read and takes less of a textbook approach than Paul W. Glimcher's superb Foundations of Neuroeconomic Analysis. Those two books plus Neuroeconomics: Decision Making and the Brain, a book of readings edited by Glimcher, Camerer, Fehr, and Poldrack would be an excellent starter library for someone with a strong interest in neuroscience and decision making.
Montague's overarching idea is that a biological system such as the brain uses energy efficiently as a result of evolutionary processes. He uses the idea of the energy-efficient brain to connect a variety of different aspects of neuroscience for the reader. He covers in a fair amount of detail reinforcement learning, dopamine gating, reward-prediction error models of the dopamine system, and temporal-difference reinforcement learning models. I found his discussion of addiction in the context of the David Redish's temporal-difference reinforcement learning model to be very good.Read more ›
There are many things that Montague covers in this book - Turing's Computational Theory of Mind (CToM), Natural Selection/ Evolution, Reinforcement Learning, Neuroeconomics, Free Will and Philosophy of Mind - which to some reader's, may be overwhelming. However, in my view, it is well worth the effort to try and comprehend what Montague is proposing - a newer "Efficient Computational Theory of Mind (ECToM). His theory is a form of Physicalism, which simply means that what we regard as feelings and emotions are only physical states in the brain. And the brain is hardwired to find 'value' in these emotions; hence, it is possible for humans to disregard their instinct for survival in order to fulfill something that has a greater 'value' to that individual.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is excellent. It has given my computational pedagogy research a boost.Published 4 months ago by Osman Yasar
Having read rather a lot about cognitive psychology and neuroscience, Montague's book is refreshing in that he takes a very computational, evolutionary view of the brain. Read morePublished on January 5, 2014 by Hugh Seaton
I really enjoyed this book when I read it many years ago. At the time i read it, I was on a vacation during medical school and had just learned a lot of in-depth neuroscience. Read morePublished on March 17, 2013 by KP
There is a great book waiting inside this one. The author introduces some excellent ideas however I'm struggling to stay focused for more than a page at a time. Read morePublished on January 24, 2011 by Mark Levison
Beware of books that claim to tell how we think or offer a guaranteed weight loss method. It may happen some day, but it has not happened yet. Read morePublished on January 13, 2011 by Martin P. Cohen
I found the book interesting, but the author's conclusions are at best highly speculative. This type of thinking at best represents a combination of confirmatory biases... Read morePublished on November 17, 2009 by Curly Man
AWESOME BOOK! I saw a blurb in Sci American about emotional computing, searched and then luckily found this book. Read morePublished on October 25, 2009 by Amazon Customer
I wanted to like this book but Mantague's ability to make a compelling, understandable, and satisfying story out of this mountain of data fell well short of my expectations. Read morePublished on July 25, 2009 by Zander
Although Montague goes in the right direction, and probably gets most things spot on, his writing ability is non-existent. Read morePublished on May 16, 2008 by B. Hanik