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Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The startling new science behind sudden acts of violence and the nine triggers this groundbreaking researcher has uncovered

We all have a rage circuit we can’t fully control once it is engaged as R. Douglas Fields, PhD, reveals in this essential book for our time.  The daily headlines are filled with examples of otherwise rational people with no history of violence or menta
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Dutton (first published November 3rd 2015)
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Average rating 3.47  · 
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Margaret Sankey
Sep 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Field was robbed in Barcelona, and clotheslined one of the muggers, which he returns to in every chapter of this book with the enthusiasm of an American middle aged man who now wants to explore how natural it is to kill things with your bare hands and rip out the liver with your teeth. Thus, through a series of tedious and over-detailed anecdotes from a small circle of people, he belabors research into adrenaline, stress, hormonal triggers, genetics and hey, did I tell you I got mugged in Barcel ...more
May Ling
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Summary: Blends neurology and psychology to explain rage in a novel way. The acronym LIFEMORTS is a clever way to organize the book. First 5 star book rating I'm giving this year. Ideal for those interested in a more robust understanding of this topic.

If you like my review, I would be thrilled if you would visit my Youtube: Diary of a Speed Reader
and consider subscribing. Thx :)

I was surprised that I am giving this 5 stars though its composite is sub-4. The book is about rage, so many of the to
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: yellow
One thing about reading a book with a bold orange and yellow dust cover, with the title "Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain", is that it made me a bit uncomfortable about what sort of person I looked like. I have to admit that if I came upon such a person in public, I might up my estimate of their likelihood to have anger management issues. But, you know, don't judge a book by its cover and so forth.

In fact, in this case, don't even judge a book by its title, because most
Daniel Christensen
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book is intended as a ‘grand unifying theory’ of human aggression (rage), along with some suggestions on how to manage it, with a particular emphasis on when people snap in an instant.

For me, it didn’t get 100% of the way there, but it’s a fascinating ride.

50% observations about aggression
50% popular neuroscience
1% self-help

Strengths: (Sometimes) doesn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.
Makes the argument that rage (snapping) is a biological imperative, driven by series of trigge
Josiah Sanchez
May 13, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book about brain circuitry and how we can just SNAP. The anecdotes are engaging particularly the ones that the author experienced himself.
I would like to re-read this book sometime. I listened to it driving and I am afraid I may have missed some important content.
The threats that lead to snap follow an acronym called LIFE MORTS.
This is something I am glad to know about.
Life or Limb/survival
Resources/Lack of
Stop: being tra
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book. This scientist's research helps to explain the mass shootings and violent outbursts against each other that have been rampant in the news lately. Our brains are hardwired for snapping, and he lists 9 major trigger points that set us off, and how they make sense from an evolutionary perspective, but just don't fit in our modern society today. Great stories interwoven with research. ...more
Major Doug
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Listened to this book: completely mis-titled, poorly dubbed, confusingly organized; interesting anecdotes.
Timothy Sessoms
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book if you want to understand why we "snap". The author skillfully uses personal stories to explain how rage is triggered, when, and how to channel it appropriately. ...more
Ann Alton
Mar 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Excellent in a lot of ways. It is very hard to write neuroscience in an accessible way, and Fields does manage it, mostly. However, I wanted more in depth, less accessible.
Lola Karns
Jun 12, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: research
I read this for character research and I did gain some insight to the character/project, but this book is so problematic. For one thing, the book is overwritten. When the author "set the scene" for introducing individuals to illustrate some point or another, it was like reading a non-romance reader or writer's bad impression of what romance writing is - the author as the heroic action hero during an attempted robbery, the angry sea, the well decorated apartment of a woman who cannot see. It was ...more
Kit Crumpton
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved the acronym, LIFEMORT. Loved the description of the unconscious because I use my sub-conscious to solve problems (particularly when I write). Dr. Field’s book validated my experience. I am surprised at the blind woman who could see tactilely. This book is amazing – BUT – the chapter “A World of Trouble” was a major turn-off for me. Suddenly the tone of the book changed from awe inspiring, scientifically informative into a diatribe regarding evil humans. I found the transition to be shockin ...more
Golda Velez
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Has some interesting research and a large collection of anecdotes about rage reactions, including lifesaving ones - that was interesting for me, the theory there is a common system underlying heroic behavior and rage behavior.

Overall was a bit patronizing and repetitive, and fell prey to the usual ad hoc reasoning based on actual scientific papers, with the hand waving presented as science and with excessive confidence.

However my main issue is that despite detailing several cases where the rag
Tony Blenman
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fields provided an explanation for aggression and violent behavior from a neurobiological perspective. He describes nine environmental triggers for violence in spousal relationships and societies that impinge on human conditions causing the brain circuitry to malfunction. Fields uses a mugging he suffered in Barcelona, anecdotal incidents, and research to carry his story. He does well in providing an understanding of violence, which is the purpose of the book. I hope though it is not taken as an ...more
Dec 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Some interesting science about the brain and how and why we might react to stressors, with implications for bullying, gang membership, PTSD treatment, anger management, and political schisms. One of the most interesting pieces is how we know that childhood trauma and long term negative events such as bullying really do have devastating effects on brain development. Sometimes a mixed bag with an odd chapter or two thrown in because we have learned about the brain’s functioning from different sour ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this is interesting. the the writer actually writes about Northern Virginia quite abit, which is alot of fun, and it is very relatable that one of the main subjects that he talks about is road rage. basic thesis is that we react to things that trigger our sudden anger subconsciously. and we must train to control and use this ability. to do this we must understand the different triggers that sets us off. the stories are super fun to read. the girl who uses the sense of touch to see is really real ...more
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was much better than I thought it would be. I expected a kind of "Self-Help Book, " and honestly they don't present the idea and content of the book well.
While I loved it, there were a lot of digressions within digressions, and after a while, I had felt like it was work to finish it. I kind of wanted the author to get to the goddamn point already.
Don't let this deter you, although the author rambles like I do when I'm speaking to someone at a cocktail party, this is still a worthwhile
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book after experiencing rage and then making the mistake of telling my wife how strong the feeling my feelings were even though I didn't express them verbally or physically at the moment of the event. Since then, I've come to see many of my actions as rage responses. This book was excellent at explaining the triggers and processes of rage in a way that allowed for me to control my conscious responses. ...more
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting book. I didn't exactly read the thing, as much as skim to parts I thought were interesting to me. It wasn't a light read, but really wanted to learn a bit about rage. Fields covered the subject pretty well, I'm guessing as I am no expert on brain circuitry. But the stories made a fascinating read and I am sure others will enjoy the book very much, as well. ...more
Nic Lishko
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
A complete and comprehensive study on the question the title asks. I gotta say, I genuinely walked away with a much broader knowledge on what causes instant wrath as well as how amazing our senses can be. Highly recommend for anyone interested in more on the subject.
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it
There were to many examples and to many emotional narratives for my liking in this type of book. But I might have been treating it too much like a scientific book.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
Wow. You have to read chapter 3, 9 and 10 if you want to understand rape, war, gender differences,...
Some of the other chapters are good, some should be deleted.
Christian Hemion
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Overall I found this book to be fascinating. There are some very interesting revelations to be had within the pages of this work. I did however, have two issues with the book.

First, the continual return to author's encounter in Italy, felt over-used. If you have lived a life sheltered from the realities of violence this might be fascinating. In the end his need to apologize or even feel shame at his actions seemed forced.

Second, his views on criminality and especially domestic violence were wo
Soren Chargois
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, this book is a wonderful read for any person. I almost wish it were required reading for every person in late high school-- at least several chapters of it. I never finished the book in full, but read enough to have an educated opinion on it and understand the bulk of its purpose for being written. I can say with conviction that I have been better able to control my anger and am much more capable of controlling those "rage" snaps that sometimes overcome people.

My only con, as you migh
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Super interesting well written book about the biological brain circuits that are related to rage, the triggers, the responses and the way to avoid snapping reaction. It's the first time that I read such an interesting book about this argument and there are many food for thoughts.

Libro veramente molto interessante e ben scritto che correla situazioni a circuiti celebrali e ci fa vedere o almeno prova, come la rabbia a volte possa essere utilizzata a proprio favore piuttosto che subita anche da ag
PottWab Regional Library
Aug 04, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2016-new
rated it did not like it
Oct 03, 2020
Jakob Jørgensen
rated it did not like it
Jul 07, 2019
Dylan Joss
rated it it was amazing
May 02, 2020
Jose Delgado
rated it really liked it
Mar 28, 2019
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