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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superficial help for the hapless, 6 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World (Paperback)
If you're the sort of person who accepts advice from random strangers on the Internet; if you hadn't realized that checking Facebook every twenty minutes disrupts your work pattern; if you are shocked to learn that politicians and advertisers choose emotive words to influence your decisions; if you've never suspected that extremely confident people know less than people who are cautious in their claims; if you blindly accept the word of anyone who is labelled an "expert" - then this book is for you.
But if that list seems like a set of pretty self-evident errors, then this book is not going to transform your life or decision-making.
And Hertz doesn't seem to be very good at practising what she preaches - we're told time and again that "studies show" something or other about cognition or decision-making, but we're never offered a critical appraisal of the studies in question, explaining why we should believe what they say. And we're offered a silly "mindfulness exercise" (examining a raisin) which Hertz claims can help make us more observant - but with no evidence to support that surprising claim.
I give this three stars because there's a wealth of amusing anecdote, a reference list for people who actually want to do the reading and decide for themselves whether they believe what Hertz has to say, and a short chapter on maths which flags some important information about data interpretation. Otherwise, two stars.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Oct 2013 15:46:17 GMT
In response to your comment about the "silly mindfulness exercise" you may be interested to know there is an extremely large body of scientific research showing that practicing mindfulness does indeed improve cognitive functioning (research on mindfulness has been done for the past 30years pioneered by the work at University of Massachusetts)

As you obviously are a person who likes to find out things for yourself I suggest you go to PubMed or similar and have a look at the mindfulness research to see for yourself. Then maybe the raisin exercise might not seem so 'silly'.

I think one can safely assume that an academic of Professor Hertz's stature would only refer to studies in her book that have met the criteria for good research. Even the most brilliant piece of research has some limitations - the place to discuss them are academic journals not in a book intended for the general public.

thank you
Dawn Hamilton PhD

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Oct 2013 17:52:07 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Oct 2013 19:13:13 GMT
Mindfulness-based interventions tend to come as quite complicated packages: MBSR, MBCT, ACT, and so on.
I'm therefore very doubtful of the usefulness (or sense) of lifting Kabat-Zinn's "raisin meditation" out of its overarching MBSR context.
But you are rather making my point for me. There *is* a large literature (of wildly varying quality) on mindfulness-based interventions. Such interventions come in various complicated forms. They have various cognitive and therapeutic applications. But Professor Hertz simply plonks down the raisin meditation in isolation, and then moves on. It's exactly the sort of "expert soundbite" she wants us to distrust.

I doubt if Professor Hertz would support your idea that one can make safe assumptions based solely on the current academic stature of a writer. And I certainly disagree with the idea that the "general public" (who are they?) should be shielded from the messiness of actual scientific evidence. Indeed, another of Professor Hertz's messages is that we all need to cultivate our scientific literacy these days.
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