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Showing 1-10 of 17 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 25 reviews
on July 8, 2012
Brain Trust is a collection of random bits of knowledge and surprising or interesting facts. From deciphering body language and spotting a liar to learning how to lose weight, bet in sports, or teach toddlers perfect pitch, the book covers a broad large range of science and social science topics. The addition of mini exercises at the end of some of the points makes it more interactive. Were you actually absorbing the point, or in passive book scanning mode?

I liked that each subject came in small digestable chunks (nothing was more than a couple pages long) so that you can just pick up the book in between tasks when you just had a couple minutes to spare. Every topic also has the original research or researcher cited (with web links where applicable) so you can do more reading if you were so inclined. It's also nice that the topics are spread out pretty randomly so you go from building flying cyborg beetles to learning how to learn.

Beyond interesting factoids (like how to grow giant man eating plants), there are many practical applications too (set a time limit on small decisions to avoid decision paralysis).

Overall, while many of the topics are covered in other books (if you read books like Freakanomics, etc.) there are just so many things covered that it's

a) worth the mini refreshers and
b) likely you will find something new and entertaining worth knowing

This is a good book if you're the type of person who likes to learn a little about a variety of subjects.
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on September 18, 2016
There's a lot of interesting stuff in here! Some of the subjects should have been covered in more depth. My interest was piqued, but it was only an overview. At the end of most sections, websites/books from the scientists are listed. I will definitely be looking at some of those. Not every topic will interest you, but the book is set up so you can skip around. There are brain teasers scattered throughout, with answers included. I think the author may have felt intimidated by some of the scientists that he interviewed. The extraneous alliterations and obscure words got annoying after a while. It felt like Garth was trying a bit too hard.
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on March 13, 2012
What if you had your own brain trust, where you knew that everyone in it was truly one of the top people in their lines of work? People who have devoted years to what they do, and because they have, could answer almost any question you might ask them. Wouldn't that be pretty cool?

It just so happens that Garth Sundem has assembled his own brain trust and asked them almost anything! The results of that effort have now been published in his new book "Brain Trust".

In it, Garth shares what he learned after asking some 93 scientists the secrets to things like how to surf better, how to grow a man-eating plant, how to go about bribing a police officer to get out of a ticket, and how to build a world-record paper airplane. Oh, and how to get a job, along with getting their dating and dieting tips!

And perhaps most intriguingly: which lotteries in the U.S. are worth playing and when are they worth playing!

You hear a lot about many of these kinds of things in the media every day, but what sets this book apart are the people who make up Garth Sundem's "Brain Trust". They're not just your ordinary, everyday, run-of-the-mill scientists and mathematicians, but Nobel prize winners and MacArthur "geniouses". People who have been awarded actual medals for really high-level science.

And they just happened to be willing to answer some of the crazier questions Garth Sundem was willing to ask them.

Highly recommended. You can tell anyone who asks you about that copy of the book you're carrying or that you're reading on your electronic reader that the "brain trust over at Political Calculations" said so!
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on May 19, 2012
I read an article of his on how to win the lottery. It was intriguing enough for me to buy the book. This book is really fun to read. Perhaps the coolest thing that he teaches or researches is how to grow giant carnivorous plants. There's a lot to learn about a variety of topics, including dieting and mental hacks. If you like Lifehacker, Four Hour Work Week, or other productivity sites, this book is for you. There's solid research since he talked directly to the scientists doing the research and he's a good, entertaining writer.
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on September 23, 2012
I'm pretty easily entertained and usually like stuff like this, but I found the topics a little too basic or anecdotal and did not learn a whole lot from this book. I would have preferred a little more depth on each individual topic. It's still a decent read, and I don't wish to have the couple of hours of my life I spent reading it back.
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on December 25, 2012
I don't doubt the research of any of the small chapters of this book, but there are a lot of thin chapters. It's like the book is its own summary of a wide number of research projects. It sparks a lot of questions, but not necessarily a lot of answers.
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on February 23, 2015
...and where to look for more information. Suitable for quick dips as well as first pass research. Will appeal to readers who like Ariely
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on July 1, 2012
Author has a good style and provides some easily digestible stories about some of the most interesting science taking place today. It's a fun read that you can pick up and put down easily. Thought provoking in many cases, quite forgettable in others. Overall, a solid read.
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on March 11, 2016
Very cool stuff!
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on November 29, 2014
a lot of fluff with some useful tips
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