Book Review: Avoiding self-sabotage
What makes your brain happy and why you should do the opposite
Why do we routinely choose options that don’t meet our short-term needs and undermine our long-term goals? Why do we willingly expose ourselves to temptations that undercut our hard-fought progress to overcome addictions? Why are we prone to assigning meaning to statistically common coincidences? Why do we insist we’re right even when evidence contradicts us? In WHAT MAKES YOUR BRAIN HAPPY AND WHY YOU SHOULD DO THE OPPOSITE (Prometheus Books $19), science writer David DiSalvo reveals a remarkable paradox: what your brain wants is frequently not what your brain needs. In fact, much of what makes our brains “happy” leads to errors, biases, and distortions, which make getting out of our own way extremely difficult.
New Scientist says, “David DiSalvo takes us on a whistle-stop tour of our mind’s delusions. No aspect of daily life is left untouched: whether he is exploring job interviews, first dates or the perils of eBay, DiSalvo will change the way you think about thinking… an enjoyable manual to your psyche that may change your life.”
DiSalvo’s search includes forays into evolutionary and social psychology, cognitive science, neurology, and even marketing and economics—as well as interviews with many of the top thinkers in psychology and neuroscience today. From this research-based platform, the author draws out insights that we can use to identify our brains’ foibles and turn our awareness into edifying action. Joseph T. Hallinan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Why We Make Mistakes”, calls DiSalvo’s book “the Swiss Army knife of psychology and neuroscience research—handy, practical, and very, very useful. It boils down the latest findings into simple easy-to-understand lessons you can apply to your daily life.”
Ultimately, DiSalvo argues, the research does not serve up ready-made answers, but provides us with actionable clues for overcoming the plight of our advanced brains and, consequently, living more fulfilled lives…
- The Dangers of Listening to Your Brain (my.psychologytoday.com)
- Why It’s Important to Tackle Brain Myths Head On (psychologytoday.com)
- The Neuroscience of Emotions (learningwithscience.wordpress.com)
- Changing The Brain to Enhance Well-Being, Happiness (psychcentral.com)
- Changing brains for the better; article documents benefits of multiple practices – UW Madison (news.wisc.edu)
- How to Stop Sabotaging Your Own Success (cnbc.com)
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