David's Reviews > The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives

The Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam
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's review
Mar 20, 2010

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bookshelves: psychology
Read in February, 2010

It has been said psychologists have a way of stating the obvious. This book is no different. Vedantum sets out to show why humans act in irrational ways. He picks out some interesting examples, like the hundred thousands of dollars people contributed to save a Jack Russel Terrier who was stranded on an abandoned ship in the pacific. Or the woman who spent 30,000 dollars for a liver transplant for her dog, while the money could have gone to save many other sheltered animals. Vedantum answer, humans can focus on the particular and not the general, I guess it is easier for us.
His also tells the story of a company that was in the second tower on 9/11. The company was on two floors, on one floor everyone got out, on the other floor everyone died. His reason, one the first floor, someone said, after the first building was hit, it might be good idea to evacuate, while on the other floor, one person said, everything was fine and to keep working. In other words, humans act as herds.
In the end, like I said, his stories were more interesting than his reasons.

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