The Decisive Moment

The Decisive Moment : How The Brain Makes Up Its Mind

3.83 (39,964 ratings by Goodreads)
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Since Plato, philosophers have described the decision-making process as either rational or emotional: we carefully deliberate or we 'blink' and go with our gut. But as scientists break open the mind's black box with the latest tools of neuroscience, they're discovering this is not how the mind works. Our best decisions are a finely tuned blend of both feeling and reason - and the precise mix depends on the situation. When buying a house, for example, it's best to let our unconscious mull over the many variables. But when we're picking stocks and shares, intuition often leads us astray. The trick is to determine when to lean on which part of the brain, and to do this, we need to think harder (and smarter) about how we think.

In The Decisive Moment, Jonah Lehrer arms us with the tools we need, drawing on cutting-edge research by Daniel Kahneman, Colin Camerer and others, as well as the world's most interesting 'deciders' - from airline pilots, world-famous sportsmen and hedge fund investors to serial killers, politicians and poker players. Lehrer's goal is to answer two questions that are of interest to just about anyone, from CEOs to firefighters: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better?
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 18mm | 210g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1847673155
  • 9781847673152
  • 161,446

Review quote

Fascinating . . . compelling . . . a great read. It might even improve your life. Not many books offer both. * * New Scientist * * Engrossing . . . gripping . . . moving . . . full of fascinating facts . . . Lehrer's on similar territory to Malcolm Gladwell's BLINK and James Surowiecki's THE WISDOM OF CROWDS but more than earns his place on the shelf alongside them. -- Sam Leith * * Daily Mail * * Jonah Lehrer is a brilliant young writer. His clear and vivid writing - incisive and thoughtful, yet sensitive and modest - is a special pleasure. -- Oliver Sacks A tour de force of limpid writing, well-marshalled anecdotes and conclusions that overthrow conventional wisdom. This book could change the way you think about thinking. * * Observer * * His clear scientific explanation and practical tips suggest that everyone's judgment can be improved. -- Jessica Holland * * Observer * * Should we go with instinct or analysis? The answer, Lehrer explains in this smart and delightfully readable book, is that it depends on the situation. Knowing which method works best in which case is not just useful but fascinating. Lehrer proves once again that he's a master storyteller and one of the best guides to the practical lessons from new neuroscience. -- Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of WIRED and author of THE LONG TAIL Cash or credit? Punt or go for first down? Deal or no deal? - life is filled with puzzling choices. Reporting from the frontiers of neuroscience, and armed with riveting case studies of how pilots, quarterbacks, and others act under fire, Jonah Lehrer presents a dazzlingly authoritative and accessible account of how we make decisions, what's happening in our heads as we do so, and how we might all become better 'deciders.' Luckily, this one's a no-brainer: Read this book. -- Tom Vanderbilt, author of TRAFFIC: WHY WE DRIVE THE WAY WE DO (AND WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT US) The human brain has distinct rational and emotional circuits. When making decisions, we don't always know which one is in control, and we can't always influence the balance. With compelling anecdotes and scientific authority, Jonah Lehrer explains it all eloquently. -- Daniel Levitin, author of THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC A funny and original book . . . accessible scientific writing in the tradition of Richard Dawkins and Oliver Sacks. -- Ian Thompson * * Sunday Telegraph * * He writes with candour about racism, bigotry and hardship, but always with a sense of wisdom . . . you will not fail to be moved by Obama's warmth and humility. * * Good Book Guide * *
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About Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer is editor-at-large for Seed magazine and the author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist, which the New York Times Book Review called 'precocious and engaging'. The Los Angeles Times Book Review said it 'marks the arrival of an important new thinker, who finds in the science and the arts wonder and beauty, and with equal confidence says wise and fresh things about both'.

A graduate of Columbia University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Lehrer has worked in the lab of Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel and has written for the New Yorker, Boston Globe, Washington Post, NPR and New Scientist, and writes a highly regarded blog, The Frontal Cortex -
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Rating details

39,964 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 31% (12,321)
4 35% (14,004)
3 24% (9,609)
2 6% (2,538)
1 4% (1,492)
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