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How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
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's review
Apr 10, 2011

really liked it

Title: How We Decide
Author: Jonah Lehrer

How We Decide is a deep investigation of (for a lack of better words) how we decide. It provides the reader with an extensive, analytical view of how certain parts of the brain are triggered based on multiple scenarios. The reader gets a better understanding of what goes on when he or she make decisions, such as considering other people's thoughts and opinions when making his or her own decisions to maximize his or her profit. It combines thoughtful reasoning and spices of witty humor on occasional parts. In the next excerpt, Jonah Lehrer discusses an experiment that was seemingly testing the long-term memory of average individuals, when in fact was testing the tendencies of individuals when put under pressure.

"When the results from the two different memory groups were tallied, the scientists observed a striking shift in behavior. Fifty-nine percent of people trying to remember seven digits chose the cake, compared to only 37 percent of the two-digit subjects. Distracting the brain with a challenging memory task made a person more likely to give in to temptation and choose the calorie-dense dessert. (The premise is that German chocolate cake is to adults what marshmallows are to four-year-olds.) The subjects' self-control was overwhelmed by five extra numbers... According to the Stanford scientists who designed the experiment, the efforts required to memorized seven digits drew cognitive resources away from the part of the brain that normally controls emotional urges."

In this excerpt, Lehrer provides one of the many analyses of how individuals act the way they do and adds a hint of witty humor into it to keep the reader entertained. How We Decide is a thoroughly interesting book and I would fully recommend it to anybody who has lots of spare time (as this is a 259-page book, not including the extra 43 pages of acknowledgements, notes, and bibliography) and is willing to spend his or her time understanding... how we decide.

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message 1: by Larissa (new)

Larissa Nice review... I've already read the book, so I didn't need much convincing.

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