- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (August 6, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393342220
- ISBN-13: 978-0393342222
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives 1st Edition
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“[An] intriguing take on behavioral economics, marketing and human foibles.” (Kirkus Reviews )
"Writing a book about the hardware and software flaws of the human brain is an ingenious idea, and Buonomano has fully delivered on its promise. To a degree that is difficult for most of us to imagine, much less understand, our successes and failures, joys and sufferings, are the product of protein interactions and electrical changes taking place inside our heads. Brain Bugs is a remarkably accessible and engaging introduction to the neuroscience of the human condition."
Sam Harris, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Moral Landscape, and The End of Faith
"In Brain Bugs, Dean Buonomano has brilliantly pulled off what few psychological scientists can do. In elegant and clear writing, he masterfully conveys the astonishing capability of the human mind, along with its flaws and limitations."
Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Irvine, and author of Eyewitness Testimony
"He takes readers on a lively tour of systematic biases and errors in human thinking, citing examples that are staples of psychology courses and other popular books. What is new, however, is Buonomano’s focus on the mechanisms of memory, especially its "associative architecture," as the main causes of the brain’s bugs."
Christopher Chabris, New York Times
"What makes the book all the more compelling is the lucidity with which Buonomano recognizes, amidst its weaknesses, the brain's insurmountable strengths, feats artificial intelligence is ages from reaching--most notably, its remarkable penchant for pattern-recognition and what Buonomano calls "the inherent and irrepressible ability of the brain to build connections and make associations."
Maria Popova, The Atlantic
"One of the things I liked most about this book was the way it leaps from neuron to brain and then to person and on to society and back again, making useful comparisons all the way."
Susan Blackmore, Focus Magazine
About the Author
Dean Buonomano is a professor of neurobiology and psychology at UCLA and a leading theorist on the neuroscience of time. His previous book, Brain Bugs: How the Brain’s Flaws Shape Our Lives, was a Wall Street Journal bestseller.
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Top customer reviews
The main argument: As much as we rely on our brains to navigate the complex world before us, anyone who has ever forgotten someone's name, or misread a situation, or made a poor decision in the heat of the moment knows that the brain does not always work as we would want. In his new book `Brain Bugs', neurobiologist Dean Buonomano explores the brain's many pitfalls and mistakes (and how and why it makes them), and also offers up some advice on how we can best manage these so called `brain bugs' in our everyday lives.
Buonomano identifies 3 major sources whence brain bugs originate. The first has to do with the fact that our brains are the product of evolution, and have evolved as they have to answer the specific challenges that we faced in our evolutionary history; therefore, while our brains may be well adapted to perform functions that were particularly important in our survival and reproduction in the environment in which our species evolved, they may not do as well at functions which, though handy, did not figure as prominently in our evolutionary past (remembering names seems to fall under this category). The second source of our brain bugs may be attributed to the fact that while evolution has brought us a host of useful mental abilities that have allowed us to survive and thrive, it is still a rather clumsy process, and as such does not always offer up perfect, or even optimal solutions; thus the mental systems that we have are sometimes prone to error and quirky behaviour (hence optical illusions, the ever raging and somewhat awkward battle between our reason and our impulses, and a number of other interesting effects). Finally, the third source of our brain bugs stems from the fact that while many of the brain systems that we have inherited were well adapted to the environment in which our species evolved, this environment has changed considerably in the recent past, to the point where some of the adaptations themselves may be ineffective and even counter-productive today (our craving of sugary, fatty foods, for instance, would have been very useful in the environment in which we evolved--where starvation was much more of a threat than heart disease, but can be positively disastrous in the modern world, where the opposite is more often the case). A full executive summary of the book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com.
that clearly resonate with my personal thoughts and theories. Occasionally I'll think about subject matters such as time, temporal distortions,
memory, and consciousness, also seeking the author with a similar grasp, but a far reaching intellectual prowess. Dean Buonomano succeeds here, with one of the lesser known greats.
The author uses the metaphor of a computer program to explain the hierarchy of the brain. The conscious brain acts as the main program, while the various facets of the unconscious brain are subroutines, which are called as required by the main. What an excellent metaphor.
The book contains several very good examples of brain "flaws" which the reader can perform. These demonstrations are entertaining and enlightening. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys playing with ideas.