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Satisfaction: Sensation Seeking, Novelty, and the Science of Finding True Fulfillment

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  21 reviews
“A discussion that is meaty, contemporary and expansive . . . Berns artfully blends social critique with technical expertise.”—The Washington Post Book World


In a riveting narrative look at the brain and the power of novelty to satisfy it, Dr. Gregory Berns plumbs fields as diverse as neuroscience, economics, and evolutionary psychology to find answers to the fundamental qu
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Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 2005)
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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 ·  147 ratings  ·  21 reviews


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Darga
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who think consciously about things like satisfaction
this is an amazingly good book, and it's a shame it's not getting more attention.

based on the title, it's easy to mistake this for a self-help book. it's something much more interesting, which is a blend of pop-science book and memoir.

the author describes lab experiments, summarizes research, guides the reader through parts of the brain, which chemicals they make when and why, and how all these things can help to stack up and create the ephemeral feeling of satisfaction in a person. this is pre
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Daniela Ducaru
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thomas Hobbes credea ca umorul ne permite sa ne experimentam superioritatea fata de ceilalti;Freud credea ca glumele,ca si visele,alina conflictele interioare;iar altii au spus ca umorul actioneaza ca o valva de siguranta pentru a elibera frustrarea acumulata din cauza nedreptatii sociale.Oricare ar fi functia principala a umorului,glumele si comediile ne permit sa vedem lumea altfel.
Bruce Ward
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book to encourage you to get of the hedonic treadmill and generate true fulfillment in your life. Not a self help book, but a great introduction to neuroscience by an incredibly relatable author.
Dhawal Sharma
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is one of those books which would’ve been better off as an essay. The single message here is ‘keep trying new things in life to be satisfied.’ Yes, really. That’s pretty much it.
Sandy
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is an exploratory book full of interesting but unorganized ideas.
Peter Curtiss
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Berns' background is neuroscience, and he leans into it heavily while aiming to construct a model for satisfaction. He centers in on having two neurotransmitters active simultaneously: cortisol and dopamine. In order to achieve the two, he suggests seeking out novelty (dopamine) and challenge (cortisol) as a prescription. Interesting stuff.
Ezzy
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, library-books
I found this book to be decidedly unsatisfactory. After an initial experiment with Kool-aid and an MRI that shows that the brain may like novelty in drinking fluid, he extrapolates wildly to all forms of potential novelty that he himself would like to experience. These diversions are predominately anecdotal and do not relate to the "Science" part of the title.

I agree that the unique and personal moments that we find so perfect and can't replicate can supply great satisfaction. But his descriptio
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David
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
The premise of this book is simple, and can be summarised as an equation: satisfaction = novelty + challenge.

Berns is an excellent storyteller, and he kept me engrossed throughout. The only thing that frustrated me was that Berns never really proves his premise, not from a scientific perspective anyway. While reading, you continuously feel like he's on the verge of doing something that goes in the right direction, then he veers away.

It would have been a three-star book, except for the chapter on
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Sambasivan
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Challenge yourself more for greater satisfaction from life. This truism has been proved scientifically by the author with riveting examples and experience of the author himself.

So live a fuller life with more novelty and unexpected adventure and you are sure to feel more satisfied. It is completely in your hands.

Well written book.
Hava Liberman
Jan 06, 2011 rated it liked it
The author presents some interesting studies but uses them to reinforce what his personal concept of satisfaction in a series of sketchy and seemingly unrelated chapters, ending with his sex life. He could have stated his premise in a short essay rather than a book...that we need novelty in our lives to be happy. Duh!
Jessica Dally
Jul 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
what can I say, I'm going thru a phychology phase. Definately worth the read and a book that is still accessable even though it's science based. Always interesting what we can find out now that we have access to things like FMRI's.
Christine
I thought this book was good, but it tended to get too technical about the operations of the brain. Perhaps some people may like the medical details.
Stefan
- Good story teller
- Sometimes pseudo-scientific: theses without proofs
- Subjective touch; inspiring
Bianca
Nov 26, 2013 rated it liked it
I wasn't able to finish the book. Even if the ideas are nice, the way the book is read, makes it tiring, and quite difficult to follow, so it managed to get me bored really quick.
Raluca Topala
great for a Sunday afternoon :)
Romeny
Nov 03, 2013 added it
An incredibly interesting read 10 years ago. If you were to read it now, read it openly knowing that neuroscience has come a long way.
ellen
Oct 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
fascinating
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Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University and Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology.

* Ph.D. University of California, Davis, 1990
* M.D. University of California, San Diego, 1994

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