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Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives
 
 

Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives [Kindle Edition]

Dean Buonomano

Print List Price: £11.99
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Product Description

Review

Intriguing take on behavioral economics, marketing and human foibles.

Product Description

“Excellent. . . . [Buonomano] reveals the intricate limitations and blessings ?of the most complex device in the known universe.”—The Atlantic


The human brain may be the best piece of technology ever created, but it’s far from perfect. Drawing on colorful examples and surprising research, neuroscientist Dean Buonomano exposes the blind spots and weaknesses that beset our brains and lead us to make misguided personal, professional, and financial decisions. Whether explaining why we are susceptible to advertisements or demonstrating how false memories are formed, Brain Bugs not only explains the brain’s inherent flaws but also gives us the tools to counteract them.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 909 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0393076024
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (6 Aug 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0054LXX5O
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #276,855 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Summary and Review 17 July 2011
By A. D. Thibeault - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
*A full executive summary of this book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com.

The main argument: As much as we rely on our brains to navigate the complex world before us, anyone who has ever forgotten someone's name, or misread a situation, or made a poor decision in the heat of the moment knows that the brain does not always work as we would want. In his new book `Brain Bugs', neurobiologist Dean Buonomano explores the brain's many pitfalls and mistakes (and how and why it makes them), and also offers up some advice on how we can best manage these so called `brain bugs' in our everyday lives.

Buonomano identifies 3 major sources whence brain bugs originate. The first has to do with the fact that our brains are the product of evolution, and have evolved as they have to answer the specific challenges that we faced in our evolutionary history; therefore, while our brains may be well adapted to perform functions that were particularly important in our survival and reproduction in the environment in which our species evolved, they may not do as well at functions which, though handy, did not figure as prominently in our evolutionary past (remembering names seems to fall under this category). The second source of our brain bugs may be attributed to the fact that while evolution has brought us a host of useful mental abilities that have allowed us to survive and thrive, it is still a rather clumsy process, and as such does not always offer up perfect, or even optimal solutions; thus the mental systems that we have are sometimes prone to error and quirky behaviour (hence optical illusions, the ever raging and somewhat awkward battle between our reason and our impulses, and a number of other interesting effects). Finally, the third source of our brain bugs stems from the fact that while many of the brain systems that we have inherited were well adapted to the environment in which our species evolved, this environment has changed considerably in the recent past, to the point where some of the adaptations themselves may be ineffective and even counter-productive today (our craving of sugary, fatty foods, for instance, would have been very useful in the environment in which we evolved--where starvation was much more of a threat than heart disease, but can be positively disastrous in the modern world, where the opposite is more often the case). A full executive summary of the book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com.
49 of 61 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better popular science books to be had out there. 12 Aug 2011
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
While covering a very interesting topic by a undoubtedly talented author, the book falls short of other similar books in the field of psychology. The author's writing is very slow to start, dancing around the same topic endless without exploring it in depth or giving concrete real world examples. This is somewhat remedied near the end of the book but 70 pages could be cut from the book and express the same ideas clearly.

As regular reader of popular science psychology books, I thought my opinion of the book might have been tainted by nostalgia and familiarity with the concepts but upon rereading passages from previous books I found that this was not the case. If you are looking for more enjoyable books in the same area I suggest reading:

Stumbling on Happiness
The Paradox of Choice
How we Decide
Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior

All of the above provide a more enjoyable experience by engaging the reader with interesting in-book activities and well paced writing.
18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THINK 25 July 2011
By rosanne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Okay. Kenya? -Africa; colors of chess pieces? - black and white. So far so good. Animal - Don't think zebra, No! Think of something else, anything else. Finally, I gave up and admitted that it had to be ZEBRA - nothing else would come up - (unless, with great leaps, man is an animal and I could think about racial turmoil - But I didn't. After passing/failing the first little tidbit, I was hooked... went and got Dean Buonomano's Brain Bugs to find out what was going on with my brain and free will.

Although, I have not finished the book, I am fascinated by the clear explanations, analogies to things I think I can understand, and the dry wit and humor of his writing. He has made what could have been an arid, impenetrable subject come to life and mean something more than synapses and brain waves...and scientific gobbledy-gook.

Have to admit, now, that indeed we have brain bugs...and that most likely we will not be de-bugging any time soon.

This is a must book for anyone who really thinks he/she thinks or is self programmed. You're not.... Find out why. Read Brain Bugs .
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book! 4 Nov 2011
By Lisa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent and thought provoking book about how the brain flaws influence
society at large. It not only was a fun read but very engaging and much to learn. Definitively recommend it!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book 10 Sep 2011
By Andrew Gentile - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this book over a month ago and I haven't yet stopped thinking about it. It is a fascinating account of how the brain learns and associates ideas. The brain is continually manipulating data in order to make that data fit the brain's template of the world. This book redefined my opinion of what it means to learn.

The author uses the metaphor of a computer program to explain the hierarchy of the brain. The conscious brain acts as the main program, while the various facets of the unconscious brain are subroutines, which are called as required by the main. What an excellent metaphor.

The book contains several very good examples of brain "flaws" which the reader can perform. These demonstrations are entertaining and enlightening. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys playing with ideas.
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