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Mind Over Mind: The Surprising Power of Expectations by [Berdik, Chris]
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Mind Over Mind: The Surprising Power of Expectations Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Although journalist Chris Berdik covers most of the usual topics, such as the famous placebo effect, he also delves into areas neglected in other books on the subject.... In the process, he uncovers some truly surprising phenomena.....MIND OVER MIND is a fascinating account of the power of conscious and unconscious expectations to alter our experience and our behaviour. If you think you might enjoy it, your expectations won't be shattered." - Irving Kirsch, New Scientist

"Explores the far-reaching influence of expectations - and reveals how you can use them to your advantage." - Emma Haak, O: the Oprah Magazine

"[Berdik] offers captivating case studies on the power of expectations, as well as valuable advice on how to use this knowledge advantageously." - Library Journal

About the Author

Chris Berdik is a science journalist and a former staff editor at the Atlantic and Mother Jones. He has written for numerous publications, including New Scientist, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and the San Diego Union-Tribune. He lives in Boston.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1451 KB
  • Print Length: 286 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1591846579
  • Publisher: Current; Reprint edition (October 11, 2012)
  • Publication Date: October 11, 2012
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007P7HURC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,705 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Book Fanatic TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a good book about how expectations matter and matter a lot. It started out with sports and that sort of turned me off but after that it took off well. It roughly covers sports, consumption, relationships/people, and medicine. I thought the final couple of chapters on the placebo effect were particularly good.

The book goes into these topics in medium depth. It is not just light breezy stuff you often find in science-lite writing. The book drew me in and I learned something. This book has Amazon's "Search Inside" feature which lets you preview the book before you buy and I strongly recommend you make use of that wonderful feature.

Recommended for people who are curious about the human mind.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On the plus side, the information in this book is interesting - very interesting, if you happen to be someone who is interested in why people do goofy things and think goofy thoughts. Also on the plus side, the author is an EXCELLENT writer. His style is very engaging, and his prose races along. It would be difficult to be bored reading this book.
On the minus side, the author doesn't really provide any insights on what you can do with the information. It's really more of a, "Based on the research presented here, people really are goofy." If you find that interesting, then you will find the book interesting.
However, if you're looking for the next logical step: "OK, People are prone to do goofy things and think goofy thoughts. What are some specific steps I can take to help me and my family members improve our lives as a result of this information?", forget it. The author provides no insight into this at all, other than two or three generic paragraphs on the last page of the book that basically say, "Now that you realize how goofy people are, you can try not to be so goofy."
Unfortunately, it's not that easy, because, according to the author's research, a lot of the goofy things people do and think really are HARD-WIRED into human brains, or, at very least, are at very subconscious levels. So, changing ones beliefs and behaviors isn't as easy as just saying, "Well, I'm not going to do THAT anymore!"
This book would have been much better, and been of much more value to readers, if the author had spent the first two-thirds of each chapter talking about the goofy things people do and the goofy things people think in various areas of their lives, and the final third of each chapter talking about specific ideas and strategies that readers can implement to address and overcome these natural tendencies.
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Format: Hardcover
Very interesting survey and discussion of what we've learned (and haven't yet figured out) about how the mind often "operates in the future tense," and the surprising breadth and strength of impact on our bodies, behavior and performance.

Each chapter covers a specific domain in which our expectations - broadly speaking - somehow impact our "real" world. Berdik's syntheses of experiment results were often mind-blowing and had me reacting out-loud. Chapters on placebo effect are especially strong, as is the section on the impact of self-image on performance. Specific, applicable historical events are well-chosen, well-integrated and provide spark and humor.

Something that was important to me - a scientist at heart - the tone is appropriately modest given the limited volume and replication of these provocative experiments. At the same time, Berdik is quite persuasive that a simplistic, black-and-white model that treats the mind as intangible and separate doesn't fully describe our world or our experience, and ignores real and significant interactions.

It was great for me - a layperson interested in cognitive / behavior science who likes Gladwell-type books - but I could also imagine it being useful to someone in a self-help way, suggesting areas in which a reader might seek to improve his or her performance in some specific domain (e.g., presentation skills at work, dating).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you enjoyed Nurture Shock or The Tipping Point, you will also love Mind Over Mind. It is a brilliant combination of science and story-telling - a non-fiction book that manages to inform and entertain at the same time. Different chapters will obviously have different appeal to different readers, but the book covers a variety of interesting topics, from sports to wine tasting to medicine to money, all of which skillfully intertwine current neurological, psychological, and physiological research with humor and a compelling, and often surprising, narrative. I loved the study about the milkshakes, for example. While I might have anticipated that the group drinking a supposedly "low calorie" shake would feel entitled to consume more, I found it fascinating that the subjects' brains were actually sending a chemical signal telling their bodies that they must be hungry just because they thought the shake was low cal! We all like to think that we are in control of our own actions, but it is amazing to recognize the extent to which we might be affected by our own expectations.
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Format: Hardcover
I have always wondered about the science behind placebos, the mind-set of athletes during big moments, and even what our own physical posture conveys to others--and ourselves. In this fascinating book, Berdik covers these subjects and quite a few more.

Berdik's style is at once informative, intelligent, and conversational. This was a pleasure to read and I can't wait to see more from this author.

Get. This. Book. Now.
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