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The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us Paperback – June 7, 2011
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"Packed with evidence from hundreds of scientific experiments, it's a persuasive, surprising and even amusing book that will have you rethinking the way you think you see the world ..."--Fort Worth Star Telegram
"Engaging and humane...THE INVISIBLE GORILLA just might teach us to be more humble, understanding and forgiving."—New York Times
"As a thoughtful introduction to a captivating discipline, the book succeeds wonderfully... readers who heed the admonitions of Chabris and Simons may be rewarded with a clearer view of the world."- Wall Street Journal
"Thought-provoking, entertaining, educational and sobering, this book is a must read for those honest enough to realize they don't or can't, know it all."—El Paso Times
"Though Chabris and Simons threaten to pull the rug of reality itself from under us, their fascinating experiments and well-chosen examples keep our feet on the ground, perhaps even more than before."- SEED Magazine
"If the authors make you second-guess yourself 10 times today, they've done their job."—Psychology Today
"THE INVISIBLE GORILLA is a humbling journey into the fallibility of our thinking ... Chabris and Simons deliver a persuasive warning that intuition often fails us ... it should be required for anyone convinced of the truth of such intuitive beliefs as the accuracy of eyewitness accounts of important events, the cause-and-effect relationship between vaccinations and autism, and the role of Mozart's music in making babies smarter."--Minneapolis Star Tribune
"THE INVISIBLE GORILLA is filled with fascinating and revealing experiments that call into question assumptions we have about our mental abilities and those of others...a must-read for anyone who wants to better understand how the mind works."- Associated Press
"The illusion of attention is one of the most important, surprising, and least known flaws in human thinking. This lucid book examines it in detail." -- Nassim N. Taleb, author of THE BLACK SWAN
"[An] engaging treatise on how our intuitions often lead us astray...Illustrated with eye-opening, often humorous examples." - Booklist
"A fascinating look at little-known illusions that greatly affect our daily lives…[THE INVISIBLE GORILLA] offers surprising insights into just how clueless we are about how our minds work and how we experience the world."--Kirkus Reviews
"Full of humor and insight, this book is enlightening and entertaining ... Readers beware: your perception of everyday occurrences will be forever altered."--Library Journal
"Entertaining and illuminating ... We all have incredible confidence in the accuracy of our senses, and the tales they tell us about the world we live in. Through clever experiments and captivating stories, THE INVISIBLE GORILLA shows that our confidence is misplaced. This book is a surprising guide to everyday illusions and the trouble they can steer us into."--Dan Ariely, New York Times bestselling author of PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL
"From courtrooms to bedrooms to boardrooms, this fascinating book shows how psychological illusions bedevil every aspect of our public and private lives. An owner's manual for the human mind!"--Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and New York Times bestselling author of STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS
“Chabris and Simons’ experiments have become classics, and their influence extends well beyond psychology, with implications for our understanding of consciousness and rationality. Having taught their research to my students at Harvard, I was eager to read THE INVISIBLE GORILLA, and the book did not disappoint."--Steven Pinker, author of HOW THE MIND WORKS and THE STUFF OF THOUGHT
“A riveting romp across the landscape of our psychological misperceptions. Read this amazing book, but not while you are doing anything else. It will change the way you see the world, and yourself. With vivid examples, sneaky experiments, and everyday experiences, Chabris and Simons convincingly show not only that our minds play tricks on us, but also, more important, that we are -- at our own peril -- programmed to resist recognizing our own blindness. In THE INVISIBLE GORILLA, you should expect the unexpected, to your very great delight. If any work of social science could be a page-turner, this is it.”--Nicholas A. Christakis, Professor, Harvard Medical School, and co-author of CONNECTED: THE SURPRISING POWER OF OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS AND HOW THEY SHAPE OUR LIVES
"Too often thinking is depicted in its extremes as the triumph or travesty of intuition. Chabris and Simons present a uniquely nuanced understanding of the power and pitfalls of perception, thought, and memory. This book will delight all who seek depth and insight into the wonder and complexities of cognition."-- Jerome Groopman, M.D., Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School, and author of HOW DOCTORS THINK
"A breathtaking and insightful journey through the illusions that influence every moment of our lives.”--Richard Wiseman, author of QUIRKOLOGY: HOW WE DISCOVER THE BIG TRUTHS IN SMALL THINGS
"An eye-opening book. After reading THE INVISIBLE GORILLA you will look at yourself -- and the world around you -- differently. Like its authors, the book is both funny and smart, filled with insights into the everyday illusions that we all walk around with. No matter what your job is or what you do in life, you will learn something from this book."--Joseph T. Hallinan, Pulitizer Prize winning author of WHY WE MAKE MISTAKES
“Everyday illusions trick us into thinking that we see –and know more -- than we really do, and that we can predict the future when we can’t. THE INVISIBLE GORILLA teaches us exactly why, and it does so in an incredibly engaging way. Chabris and Simons provide terrific tips on how to cast off our illusions and get things right. Whether you’re a driver wanting to steer clear of oncoming motorcycles, a radiologist hoping to spot every tumor, or just an average person curious about how your mind really works, this is a must-read.”-- Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D, Distinguished Professor, University of California–Irvine, and author of MEMORY and EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY
"Cognitive scientists Chris Chabris and Dan Simons deliver an entertaining tour of the many ways our brains mislead us every day. THE INVISIBLE GORILLA is engaging, accurate, and packed with real-world examples -- some of which made me laugh out loud. Read it to find out why weathermen might make good money managers, and what Homer Simpson can teach you about thinking clearly."--Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D., co-author of WELCOME TO YOUR BRAIN and former Editor, Nature Neuroscience
"THE INVISIBLE GORILLA is not just witty and engaging but also insightful. The authors offer a fascinating set of examples that show how poorly we understand the limitations of our own minds in business, medicine, law enforcement, journalism--and everyday life. Reading this book won't cure you of all these limitations, but it will at least help you recognize and compensate for them."
--Thomas W. Malone, author of THE FUTURE OF WORK and Founder of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence
"In the long history of psychology a handful of experiments stand out as epochal in their impact on our understanding of human behavior—Milgram's obedience to authority shock experiments, Zimbardo's role playing prison experiment, Asch's conformity experiments, and Harlow's baby monkey experiments. In that league is the now-famous "gorilla" experiment by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, demonstrating how blind we all are to objects clearly in our midst, and especially how unreliable eyewitness testimony is in any criminal investigation (or any other walk of life). THE INVISIBLE GORILLA should be required reading by every judge and jury member in our criminal justice system, along with every battlefield commander, corporate CEO, member of Congress, and, well, you and I...because the mental illusions so wonderfully explicated in this book can fool every one of us."--Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and the author of WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE WEIRD THINGS
“It isn't often you come across a book that is rigorous but also witty, one that is sound science but also relevant to everyday life -- but here it is! Clever, illuminating, by turns shocking and delightful, this book, if you take it to heart, will change a lot of your bad habits and could even save your life."--Margaret Heffernan, CEO and author of WOMEN ON TOP
“Wonderfully refreshing…THE INVISIBLE GORILLA makes us smarter by reminding us how little we know. Through a lively tour of the brain's blind spots, this book will change the way you drive your car, hire your employees and invest your money.”
--Amanda Ripley, Senior Writer for Time magazine and author of THE UNTHINKABLE
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
CHRISTOPHER CHABRIS and DANIEL SIMONS are cognitive psychologists who have each received accolades for their research on a wide range of topics. Their “Gorillas in Our Midst” study reveals the dark side of our ability to pay attention and has quickly become one of the best-known experiments in all of psychology; it inspired a stage play and was even discussed by characters on C.S.I. Chabris, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard, is a psychology professor at Union College in New York. Simons, who received his Ph.D. from Cornell, is a psychology professor at the University of Illinois.
From the Hardcover edition.
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I was tickled to read about how I self delude daily in complacent mindless non-thinking. But other authors use a graphic novel approach which is more visually stimulating, for example:
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative Austin Kleon
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir Roz Chast mental physical social spiritual and financial realities of end of life decisions
An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments cartoon version of
Attacking Faulty Reasoning T Edward Damer.
I enjoy both text and visual formats of presenting data
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information Edward Tufte.
When I do not emotionally link with a write
Writing Alone and with Others Pat Schneider text for the Amherst Writing Initiative
I find that following the Great Books' Shared Inquiry process
Great Books of the Western World University of Chicago selections 1930s
How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading Mortimer Adler
I read the selection twice. The first time I highlight and underline, write questions in the margin: factual questions (investigative journalist what when why where how who), interpretive questions (what did that mean? why the use of that word, that color? why did the author say it in that way? what colors come to mind as I read? what do I think the author is trying to imply? which forms the bulk of my queries), evaluative questions (very brief assessment of emotional responses, did the author succeed in conveying what I perceive was the author's goal with producing the work? did I like it? did I learn something?)
After a first read, when I am convinced, alarmingly, that I understand what is happening in the write, I reread and repeat the process using a different color pencil. Only on second reading do I realize that I never really understood what I read the first time.
Then I meet with a Great Books Group who have shared the exact same text, and the exact same process in solitude, and we share questions. I am shocked, informed, and my mind is broadened by the wealth of unexpected responses others provide to what I thought was a cut and dried conclusion, my conclusion. As I have engaged with this process over the years, from school age when my parents were Great Books Leaders, to my 40s when a group of friends formed a Great Books Group, to now in our 70s and 80s as we are rereading these oldies but goodies I am discovering ever new depths of understanding, and entirely different understandings of classic writes.
I apply the same read it twice and think about it alone before discussing with others approach to contemporary writes
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (Penguin Classics) Hannah Arendt.
But the most informative discussions surround decades old readings. Since I retain my old books, underlining margin notes and all, I can see how my thinking has evolved with time. More particularly I see how arrogance, self importance, confidence (extrovert delusion) of youth is embarrassingly revealed in my portentous former notations.
With age I am growing more and more humble, as memories of puerile strutting self assurance resurface.
Susan Cain relates the experience of high school reunions: you notice many of your classmates as more introverted than you remember, quieter, more self contained, less in need of excitement. . . more emotionally stable, agreeable, conscientious . . . Psychologists call this "intrinsic maturation." p318
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking Susan Cain
Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy Michael J Fox, Christopher Lloyd
fascinating bonus disc features, interviews with the actors in the present, commentary behind each of the 3 episodes on what was in the minds of the film producers at the time, who the characters were based on, making of featurette.
The same process can be seen in the PBS series about Queen Victoria her husband Albert, her Prime Ministers and growing oneself up to meet the challenges of governance
Masterpiece: Victoria - Seasons 1 & 2 DVD Set With Bonus Self-Portrait Postcard
I read the footnotes, appendices and look up references as questions arise and find more than sufficient to keep my curiosity engaged for which I grant it 5*.
The illusions that they illustrate do seem to be common human failings:
o We overestimate our ability to multi-task
o We overestimate the accuracy of our memories
o We mistake confidence for capability
o We confuse causation with correlation
One particular peril that the authors justly explicate is the faultiness of eyewitness identification. No one who reads this book is likely to trust an eyewitness in a court of law.
The book, however, feels padded. The descriptions of the clever experiments are worthwhile, as are the critiques of faulty studies. But the authors expend a lot of verbiage on speculation, trying to squeeze whole chapters out of information that could be conveyed in two pages. They also seem to be rather confident that the next study won't contradict what the last one seemed to prove.
I also don't understand why they take a few illusions that humans fall prey to and declare that intuition is the culprit. We also are vulnerable to optical illusions, but we don't walk around with eyes shut.
So if your customer research is more anecdote than actuality, take a fascinating side trip through "The Invisible Gorilla." The book addresses six everyday illusions: Attention, Memory, Confidence. Knowledge, Cause, and Potential.
Warning! This hard-to-put-down book will be hard on you--if you've based your customer research on the wrong hypotheses, incorrect associations (versus cause), and "change blindness blindness." I'll read this book again--maybe three times!