Buy Used
£1.53
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex Library Book with usual stamps and stickers. Good condition book. Over 2 million items sold. Fast dispatch and delivery. Excellent Customer Feedback. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like Hardcover – 24 Jun 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£5.28 £1.53
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bodley Head (24 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847921434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847921437
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.6 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 687,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Reading his book is like stargazing with your favorite cool professor while high"-- Newsweek

Book Description

The internationally acclaimed psychologist Paul Bloom explores one of the most fascinating and fundamental engines of human behaviour - the new science of why we like what we like

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to disagree with the other reviewers. This book is essentially a set of essays that describe our value systems.

It is not, really, what I was looking for. I was looking for the factors that make us experience pleasure, both biochemical as well as psychological.

It is true that our value systems impact on our experience of pleasure. He rightly points out that our experience of a fine wine, for example, is in good part a consequence of our expectations, in turn a result of our value systems - it was an expensive wine so we 'know' it will taste good.

But covering just one aspect of pleasure makes the book too one dimensional for me, with the bulk of many chapters used to build long arguments to explain a single value system. What about the role of neurotransmitters? What about the pleasures we experience that are at odds to our value systems? What about the relationship between pleasure and happiness?

Maybe my expectations created disappointment. But this book reads far too much like a book on psychology with too weak a link to pleasure.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book, despite the rather tabloid-newspaper title. I first heard about it in connection with appreciation of modern art, and I had hoped it would go into much more detail about this, but it's very much about how we ascribe value to things we like, not about art or culture as such. It deals with pleasure in all its forms - food, sex, aesthetics, etc.

There are some interesting thought experiments (along the lines of why is a mass-produced object which once belonged to someone famous more valuable than an identical object which didn't)

The author does tend to reel off lists of research which has supported this-or-that hypothesis but without much background detail, so you're kind of taking it all on trust. I don't disagree with his conclusions, but wonder whether they couldn't have been drawn just as well in an article in New Scientist for example.
Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
"How Pleasure Works" is an interesting book, and if you are interested in the subject area, then you will probably find it is an enjoyable and informative read. However, I found it to be disappointing, and I think this is a case of a book being "oversold" - though the cover suggests wealth, alcohol, TV, food etc. will be described and explained as a "pleasure provider", actually none of the book is about this. This is not a book about Pleasure, but about Value.

What this book in fact is about, is how we allocate "Value" to an item, such as a pen once owned by Albert Einstein, a sweatshirt once owned by a film star, a painting made by a famous artist, or a favourite toy owned by a child as opposed to an identical toy the child is not familiar with. Whilst the authors theory of "essence" is interesting in itself and does have considerable value, the book does not answer the questions that it sets itself, such as why do some people self harm?, why do some individuals become addicts whilst their sibling does not? why would an individual enjoy watching a football match?

This is a set of essays on "Value" as defined by the "Essence" model of the author - interesting, but not as in-depth or informative as it might pretend to be in the introduction or on the cover.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
How Pleasure Works is a great book - it's entertaining and informative, and also surprising - as well as surprisingly funny. It examines different sources of pleasure - from food, to sex, to art, different forms of entertainment, and so on - and discusses recent findings in cognitive science (including a few of the author's own) that tell us about the surprisingly complex and sometimes deeply puzzling nature of human pleasure. The author argues that pleasure is not primarily a response to certain perceptual & sensory experiences, but instead has a significant cognitive component - what we think about something (whether or not we're correct) has a huge impact on how much pleasure we derive from it. The book contains many examples, which range from mildly surprising, to deeply puzzling, to just plain weird; some are very funny. The author has a fresh, engaging and easy style of writing, unlike what one finds in many science books for the lay public - this is enormously fun to read. Opening it up to any random page you'll almost certainly find yourself pulled in and getting caught up in the discussion - this book is hard to put down!
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Did you understand humility? Where seeking pleasure could lead you astray? What science, religion and "spirituality" share that you cannot really name?

Unless you have definitive and unshakable answers to the above, you should read this book. Twice. Backwards if you need to.

Accessible and brilliant in simplicity, that which is otherwise so elusive to many of us, this book unravels what lies at the source of our pleasures, not always in a flattering way, but more often than not, in a revealing way.

Not too sure who you are and what you are really after? This book will change the nature of the questions you will be asking yourself.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
There's an interesting central thesis here: pleasure doesn't work for us as it does for other animals. That's because in addition to straightforward pleasures, there are also pleasures critically linked to our beliefs. And those beliefs in turn are deeply linked to what Paul Bloom terms an essentialist view of the world. That is to say a view that he thinks (with some interesting evidence) we are sort of born with, that inclines us to interpret the things in the world has having inner essences that make them the way they are. Bloom's central thesis about pleasure, then, is that our pleasure are not like those of other creatures in so far as they are critically linked up with this 'essentialist' view of the world.

Does this work? On the plus side, we value things that have belonged to other people or are produced by their essence. We may decide in extreme cases to eat other people to acquire their essence. Certainly we'd like to acquire their clothing (and not dry-cleaned first, please!) And children do seem to have this view that eg 'boys are just made of different stuff inside from girls'.

Throughout this book is very learned, and discusses a wide range of theories ('display' theories based on sexual election in the case of art clearly have at least something going for them; and are very persuasive when it comes to the learning of Latin!). That's part of its charm. But to look at just one chapter, on attraction, mating and love.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse


Feedback