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Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal Kindle Edition
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An eye-opening exploration of the intersection between philosophy and science and a fascinating peek into our innermost selves.-- "Kirkus Reviews"
Science journalist Vance takes an inspired journey into the profound and often unnoticed powers of our brains...offer[ing] an understanding of the ways in which beliefs can lead to a better life.-- "Publishers Weekly" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
About the Author
Erik Vance is an award-winning science writer based in California and Mexico City. Raised as a Christian Scientist, he graduated with honors from the Christian Science school, Principia College in 1999 with a degree in biology. After working as a scientist on research projects dealing with dolphin intelligence and coastal ecology, he became an educator and then an environmental consultant. In 2005, he attended UC Santa Cruz's famed science communication program and discovered a passion for journalism. There he learned that only through compelling characters can stories touch and inspire us. Since then, he has built his career around science-based profiles of inspiring, dedicated, or controversial figures in society. His work has appeared in Harper's Magazine, the New York Times, the Utne Reader, Scientific American, and National Geographic. He is also a contributing editor at Discover magazine.
Paul Michael Garcia, an AudioFile Earphones Award winner and former company member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, received his classical training in theater from Southern Oregon University, where he worked as an actor, director, and designer.--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- Publication Date : November 8, 2016
- File Size : 1129 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 277 pages
- Publisher : National Geographic (November 8, 2016)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B01C1LB09U
- Lending : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Best Sellers Rank: #385,908 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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One place this is especially evident is his take on traditional Chinese medicine, suggesting it works only as a result of the Chinese believing it is effective because otherwise it wouldn't have been used for thousands of years, and offers quotes to that effect. For one, the author misstates several things about traditional Chinese medicine, including grouping massage and reflexology as a part of it, which is actually not accurate. Meridians in traditional Chinese medicine are not on the bottom of the foot.
He also claims that since different Chinese doctors might prescribe different combinations of herbal prescriptions for a similar problem, that it must be placebo because it works regardless. Chinese herbals are not sugar pills, but contain various chemical compounds that affect our bodies just as modern pharmaceuticals do. In fact, some modern pharmaceuticals were originally obtained from herbals. For example, digitalis was originally derived from foxglove, which is used as a Chinese medicine. There are more than a dozen conventional medicine pharmaceutical diuretics on the market. Does this mean they are placebos because any given one might work equally well for a patient?
No one is completely clear yet on why acupuncture works. Modern scientific equipment has been used to measure the electrical resistance at the areas of the acupuncture points and found it is different from other places in the skin. So there is something going on there. And while well-done studies on acupuncture are few and far between, a meta-data analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association led by a doctor from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center said, "In conclusion, we found acupuncture to be superior to both no-acupuncture control and sham acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain." The author quotes Harvard placebo researcher Ted Kaptchuk in his book. Dr. Kaptchuk is also one of the most well-known practitioners and authors of traditional Chinese medicine in the United States. If the author had contacted Dr. Kaptchuk I am sure he would have provided more accurate information on the practice.
Again, I found some interesting points in this book, but I am not sure I would recommend it for the shortcomings mentioned above.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's written in somewhat of a Mythbusters style, and the author has a great sense of humor. For those of us who wonder about all kinds of strange things but are turned off by magical thinking, pseudo science, and woo-woo, this book is quite satisfying.
From what would seem to be a prestigious publisher: National Geographic.
I am a persuasion professional, so books, content on this topic are my bread & butter.
It's a hard slog. Not in a Danny Kahneman "Thinking Fast And Slow" kind of slog. More like a "Where are you going with this"" kind of slog.
It's a mixture of styles, from a Mary Roach-style commenting about visiting labs and talking about people's names, to at times, what seems like a mere recitation of various studies.
It's hard NOT to imagine the author got an advance and had to be prodded to produce a certain amount of content by certain deadlines.
I'm not sure how to account for so much narrative about the author's life - what he likes and doesn't, etc. And that, at times, maybe an editor tried to give him suggestions or angles to help him get this done. Styles he takes up and drops at various points, and that somewhere the editor(s?) finally just give up and just want it done.
It's surprising to discover he can write about hypnosis and, while he does mention Erickson in the chapter on false memories -- he's talking about a false memory "victim" -- not Milton Erickson, who has lead to hypnosis as a medically accepted practice -- a piece of history which he manages to completely leap over. Somehow we have hypnotists helping people in hospitals after having had long discussions about how much disrepute hypnosis has been held in.
I am (painfully) about 2/3rds of the way through.
As others have commented -- VERY repetitive. Perhaps an editor said they didn't understand the point he was trying to make, and his response was to just write MORE, instead of cleaning up the writing he had.
I nearly gave up after the placebo chapter. (And his chapters are LONG... I guess he attacked them like writing a long magazine article.)
I'm glad I didn't -- because I got a bit of information about the scientist that discovered false memories. And, prior to that, I had gotten a fascinating piece of information about how pain relief with hypnosis is not canceled out by naloxone (narcan). The distinctions and relationships between brain waves, hypnosis & meditation, placebo/nocebos and neurochemicals is not well discussed, in general, and this was a valuable piece of information to me.
(That said, it's not clear to me how well endocannabinoids work for pain relief, nor whether, if in relieving pain, the relief is reversed by naloxone. Yes, it might be helpful to have some familiarity with these subjects to get the most out of this book.)
So... this may be helpful if you, like me, read just about everything you can about persuasion, suggestibility or such. Or more specialized books on the subtopics: e.g., about placebos; about hypnosis; about false memory syndrome, about how memory works, etc.
Other than that --- it's really a slog. You'd be much better off reading things like Konnikova's "The Confidence Game", McRaney's "You're Not So Smart"; listening to NPR's RadioLab episodes on placebos (which are REALLY good), Donald Hoffman's TED talk and more. Norman Doidge's books. Yeah, maybe even Joe Dispenza, though he is more "woo woo." Sarno's books on mind/body pain relief, though, are classics. He, a Cornell-connected medical doctor whose studies on pain enabled people to obtain substantial pain relief without the usual medical modalities.
One thing I did like -- was how he opened with the frame on suggestibility having to do with expectations. (Although you'll encounter many other contributors throughout the book.)
I'm not disappointed that I picked this up; I'm just disappointed that i've had to endure so much meandering writing to find the few factoids that were gems to me.
Considering the various discussions about pain relief, it's too bad this is so painful to read. Maybe I'm just suggestible to feeling pain after reading about it so much (though I did do research on it.)
Top reviews from other countries
Assolutamente consigliato per tutti coloro che vogliono conoscere meglio (anche per la prima volta) come il cervello umano reagisce agli stimoli diretti e indiretti della vita di tutti i giorni (e non solo) e imperdibile per tutti coloro che studiano la suggestione come strumento per spettacoli di illusionismo, in particolare ipnosi (no cialtroneria) e mentalismo. Una volta letto avrete una visione molto chiara di tutto quello che tratta e cioè di argomenti come: credenze, religione, ipnosi, marketing e tanto altro.