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How We Decide


Jonah Lehrer



9780618620111
Retail Price: $25.00
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Format: Hardcover, 288pp.
ISBN: 9780618620111
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pub. Date: February 9, 2009

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

From the acclaimed author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist, a fascinating look at the new science of decision-making—and how it can help us make better choices

Since Plato, philosophers have described the decisionmaking process as either rational or emotional: we carefully deliberate or we "blink" and go with our gut. But as scientists break open the mind's black box with the latest tools of neuroscience, they're discovering that this is not how the mind works.Our best decisions are a finely tuned blend of both feeling and reason—and the precise mix depends on the situation.When buying a house, for example, it's best to let our unconscious mull over the many variables. But when we're picking a stock, intuition often leads us astray. The trick is to determine when to lean on which part of the brain, and to do this, we need to think harder (and smarter) about how we think.

Jonah Lehrer arms us with the tools we need, drawing on cutting-edge research by Daniel Kahneman, Colin Camerer, and others, as well as the real-world experiences of a wide range of "deciders"—from airplane pilots and hedge fund investors to serial killers and poker players. Lehrer shows how people are taking advantage of the new science to make better television shows, win more football games, and improve military intelligence. His goal is to answer two questions that are of interest to just about anyone, from CEOs to firefighters: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better?


 
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• "Human emotions are rooted in the predictions of highly flexible brain cells, which are constantly adjusting their connections to reflect reality." Pg. 41


 

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About the Author

Jonah Lehrer is editor at large for Seed magazine. A graduate of Columbia University and a Rhodes scholar, Lehrer has worked in the lab of Nobel Prize–winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel and in the kitchens of Le Cirque 2000 and Le Bernardin. He has written for the Boston Globe, Nature, NPR, and NOVA ScienceNow, and writes a highly regarded blog, The Frontal Cortex.



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Table of Contents

 
Introductionxi
 
1The Quarterback in the Pocket1
2The Predictions of Dopamine28
3Fooled by a Feeling57
4The Uses of Reason93
5Choking on Thought133
6The Moral Mind167
7The Brain Is an Argument196
8The Poker Hand219
Coda251
 
Acknowledgments263
Notes266
Bibliography274
Index288


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