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on 29 September 2015
I, as someone really interested in studying superstition, was looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately I was disappointed. Bruce Hood has a couple of interesting insights but it is obvious that there wasn't quite enough to fill the book and it is a laborious read and very repetitive.
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on 21 August 2015
I love this author- well written book that can enrich the knowledge and open the mind of people who are already open to new perspectives and ideas. Definetely worth reading
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on 3 July 2015
An interesting book, full of insight and contradictions. I couldn't put it down.
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on 16 August 2009
I heard Bruce Hood talking on Radio 4 and was sufficiently interested in what he had to say to buy his book - after all, a popular science writer engaging on the question of *why* we are impelled to believe in the supernatural, rather than intolerantly railing about how deluded people are that do, seemed like a healthy change. And Hood sets his book up nicely with some queasy dilemmas that will trouble not just the delusional among us: would *you* feel comfortable wearing Fred West's cardigan? I know I wouldn't.

Hood's thesis is that, through evolution or fiat, our brains are disposed - wired, if you like - to think this way, and along with the blindingly irrational proclivities that so exercise Richard Dawkins come many useful survival strategies. To throw out the bathwater risks losing the baby, Hood implies, and I think he would say the bath doesn't have a plug in any case: We couldn't change this aspect of our cognitive faculties even if we wanted to.

For all its intriguing premise it's a somewhat laboured book which sets its premise out early and then takes an inordinate amount of time to move beyond it, and in the mean time Hood allows himself to be sidetracked too easily, at one point indulging in a lengthy but granted interesting disquisition on the historical antecedents of the Dracula story, to no obvious point.

There is much to be mined in the observation that, for all our enlightened rationalist protestations, collectively and individually we still behave bizarrely most of the time - so perhaps there is something to be said for leavening the will to rationality that has been behind much modern economics, biology and sociology - and while this book glances in that direction it never really casts a longing stare there, and ultimately is of passing interest rather than genuine clout.

Olly Buxton
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on 22 June 2009
This book is a very interesting read on the topic of superstitious beliefs and the idea that they originate from a side effect of our ability to reason. I would recommend it to others but I would say that it does not really hit on any earth shattering revelations in this area particularly if you have read anything about this topic previously.
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on 28 March 2013
I loved reading this book. Although the physical condition of the book was not as good as I might have expected, the content was amusing and educational.
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on 15 October 2013
as some other books in this religious bash group but very interesting to hear how the brain works. well done buce
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on 29 September 2014
a very informative book, promptly delivered
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on 1 September 2014
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on 24 May 2012
Like a lot of psychology, this book is befuddled. There has never been a clear demarcation link between philosophy and pscyhology and I wish this blurr could be properly emphasized. This author invokes the spirit of David Hume at one point without even understanding him. So much has been written on religion from a philosophical point of view and serious readers are advised to skip this shallow attempt and rather read Dialogues on natural religion by David Hume. The link is Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and The Natural History of Religion (Oxford World's Classics)
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