Emily's Reviews > How We Decide

How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
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Mar 11, 2011

really liked it
Read in March, 2011

A decision is not something that one can avoid in life. People are faced with decisions every day. Whether it is what shirt to wear that day or who to throw the game winning pass to on a football field, what one chooses can have a big influence on the outcome of the situation. Jonah Lehrer wrote the book How We Decide in 2009. He based the concept of this book around two main questions asked by a variety of people: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better? This book is full of information and real life examples of situations in which the outcome could have been disastrous if it went the other way.
Lehrer illustrates decision making by splitting his book into sections by real life events. How We Decide opens up by talking about an event that can relate to most people, the Super Bowl in 2002 when the New England Patriots were up against the favored St. Louis Rams. He brings us back in the spot with vivid imagery, setting the moment perfectly. Throughout the book Lehrer strongly focuses on setting the reader up as if they were at the scene themselves and witnessing if first hand. This is a strong writing technique because it builds the reader up with a background of the story and allows them to see the decision being made first. After describing what went on, Lehrer then goes into detail about what was happening in the person’s brain in order to make that decision.
Lehrer does a respectable job in this book by showing the processes that go through our mind as we make our decisions. He shows what we base each decision on, allowing us to see how we use emotion, experience and many other traits without even realizing it. I would recommend this book for anyone, given it be a school assignment or just something to read. It is an interesting approach to something that can be very useful.
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