Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change” as Want to Read:
New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change

3.19  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
An exploration of how humans respond to novelty from the New York Times bestselling author of Rapt

Why are we attuned to the latest headline, diet craze, smartphone, and fashion statement? Why do we relish a change of scene, eye attractive strangers, and develop new interests?

Follow a crawling baby around and you’ll see that right from the beginning, nothing excites us
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published (first published December 29th 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about New, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about New

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dec 22, 2011 Nancy rated it liked it
As Homo Sapiens, we are hardwired to seek change and adapt. From our very first ancestors on the African continent, through the changes of the earth's and climate cycles, they adapted or faced obliteration. The Neanderthal, our cousins, had large brains and knew how to use tools. However, they were resistant to change and traveled little more than 15 kilometers during their lifetimes. When water dried up or the climate changed, they refused to change with it and died off. Meanwhile, our African ...more
Andrea McDowell
Mar 02, 2012 Andrea McDowell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, brain-stuff
New is a lovely pop psychology read; not as good as Gallagher's Rapt, which remains one of my favourites, but good nonetheless. In it, Gallagher tackles three things. The first--why are humans obsessed with the new?--she brings back to our evolutionary period on the African Savannah, of course, and how having a constant eye open for threats and opportunities is a pretty good survival strategy. Her discussion here about why we differ in our preference for novelty and how those differences play ou ...more
Aug 23, 2012 Molly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked up "New" because I thoroughly enjoyed Gallagher's book, "Rapt," which remains a favorite on my non-fiction list. "New" is really a sidebar to the theme developed in "Rapt,” what was how to focus ones attention on the things that matter (and the science of why our brains resist doing so!). Aristotle said that "we are what we repeatedly do," and if "Rapt" is about how to ignore the distractions that keep us from doing what matters, "New" is about the distractions themselves.

Not just email,
May 16, 2016 solilyquize rated it did not like it
I tried. I got to page 100. I barely even got through the first chapter, which was painful enough. It read like a high school textbook. So dry and so fact filled. But the facts were not even remotely interesting - at least not to me. Very redundant. Very flat. Didn't care for the verbiage or the writing style. This book was just not for me. Not at all.
Dec 29, 2011 Julie rated it did not like it
meh...ironically, i didnt encounter any new insights fom this book.
Ryan Miller
Apr 05, 2012 Ryan Miller rated it really liked it
My notes:

"New argues that our rewards will far outweigh our frustrations if we stay true to the evolutionary purpose of our neophilia, or affinity for novelty: to help us adapt to, learn about, or create the new things that matter, while dismissing the rest as distractions.

Alexander Pope's advice: "Be not the first by whom the new are tried, no yet the last to lay the old aside."

For example, the frequency of a certain gene that's linked to robust novelty seeking varies greatly around the globe.
Katie Lynn
I already knew I was a neophile before reading this book. No question. When going out to eat, you're likely to hear me say "that sounds disgusting; I'll try it." When it comes to activities, if they could totally tank or be surprisingly awesome, I'm totally for it. And my fashion sense I say is borderline hideous because I'm going to take something few others would and rock that look! Anyone out there who doesn't know me just thinks I'm annoying and freakish now. Meh.

Paul Silvia - "by becoming
Jan 29, 2012 Laura rated it it was ok
This starts with an interesting example of how we relate to technology as neophiles or neophobes, and goes on to talk about that continuum. Given the push to embrace the Neat! New! Improved! tools that can assist with teaching in schools (note: some people actually think this can improve teaching, but these are only tools), I was particularly interested in this topic.

There are two problems with this book: the first is that he hammers points home, repeating and repeating and repeating so that the
Feb 14, 2012 Alexis rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
I did not read the Kindle edition of this book, but that's the one that popped up first.

Anyway, I read about this book in the Globe and Mail and was fascinated. I thought I was a strong neophile (love of new), but I actually am a moderate with strong tendencies, which probably makes me more balanced. Neophilia is the fascination with the new or novel and it was necessary for human evolution and adaptation. However, it can also result in flighty or risk taking behaviour.

After talking about the ch
Kathy Nealen
Jun 24, 2012 Kathy Nealen rated it really liked it
Describes how our attraction to change has helped humanity survive and thrive throughout history. The author also illustrates how humanity's diverse reaction to change ranging from extremely "neophobic" to extremely "neophiliac" has benefited us by allowing us to "hedge our bets" as a species. Concludes with a discussion of how to adapt to our most recent change - our ever increasing flow of information.
Ruchi Chaube
Mar 19, 2012 Ruchi Chaube rated it it was amazing
The book is the sister half of "Rapt" from Winifred Gallagher. The book is very informative and to a greater extent inspiring! Would be good to read the two books in sequence. I loved the flow while reading, got me carried away and didn't realize when I reached the half and then the end! Awesome read!!
Jun 02, 2015 Kate rated it liked it
Talks about neophiles a person who thrives on change and novelty
Tingting Wei
Feb 11, 2015 Tingting Wei rated it it was ok
Melody Warnick
Apr 19, 2016 Melody Warnick rated it liked it
Intriguing, densely researched book about why we crave new things.
Feb 13, 2013 Moira rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Considering it is a book on new, the fact that each chapter barely changed themes is kind of laughable. New chapter, same story as the last one. All in all, she lost me after chapter four.
Apr 26, 2012 Yee rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Doesn't say anything revolutionary. Re-packing of others' ideas, and not in any especially interesting way too.
Yazid rated it liked it
Jul 31, 2012
Old_sox rated it liked it
Nov 13, 2012
E Jones
E Jones rated it liked it
Aug 06, 2012
May-Ling rated it it was ok
Nov 05, 2011
Claire rated it it was ok
May 18, 2012
Ari rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2017
Annakingston rated it it was ok
Mar 03, 2012
Lance Eaton
Lance Eaton rated it really liked it
Jan 21, 2012
Maria rated it it was amazing
Feb 07, 2017
Erica rated it liked it
Sep 21, 2014
Katie rated it really liked it
Sep 12, 2012
Ed Erwin
Ed Erwin rated it liked it
Apr 21, 2012
Rory rated it really liked it
May 18, 2014
Vance rated it really liked it
Jan 08, 2014
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Inside the Neolithic Mind: Consciousness, Cosmos, and the Realm of the Gods
  • The Art of Growing Old: Aging with Grace
  • Hunger: An Unnatural History
  • Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us and How to Know When Not to Trust Them
  • Flipnosis: The Art of Split-Second Persuasion
  • The Other Side of Normal: How Biology Is Providing the Clues to Unlock the Secrets of Normal and Abnormal Behavior
  • The Land That Never Was: Sir Gregor MacGregor and the Most Audacious Fraud in History
  • Homo Mysterious: Evolutionary Puzzles of Human Nature
  • The Sun Kings: The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington and the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began
  • Untangling the Mind: Why We Behave the Way We Do
  • Looks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined
  • Beautiful Wreck: Sex, Lies & Suicide
  • A Very Short Tour of the Mind: 21 Short Walks Around the Human Brain
  • Unthinking: The Surprising Forces Behind What We Buy
  • Tyrannosaurus Sue: The Extraordinary Saga of the Largest, Most Fought Over T-Rex Ever Found
  • iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us
  • Beyond Human Nature: How Culture and Experience Shape the Human Mind
  • The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage as Medicine for the Body, Mind, and Soul

Share This Book