College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Haidt does an amazing job here of showing us how it is our intuition that often decides for us in regard to controversial (and even trivial) subjects, and then "uses" rationale as an ad hoc reasoning machine to justify the decision. Haidt also shows how this is not always a bad thing, that "gut instincts" can be truer and better than those come to entirely on rationale (if the latter were even possible, which, it seems, it isn't in most normal people.) Rationale can temper intuition, but if someone's mind is truly to be changed, it must be the intuition that is addressed first, not the rationale. If one can understand this, violent arguments can often be defused and the "opponent" can be understood as something other than "someone who is stupid" or who "refuses to accept MY logic." A must read!
leveled at this brilliant narrative concerning unnecessary length and lack of structure. As to the first, I wanted more, not less! I found the book remarkably compelling. As to the second, a stirring and intriguing story should not read like a sixth grade history book, but rather something like a novel. El-Hai accomplishes this wonderfully well here, weaving in and out of plot-lines, developing characters richly and fully along the way. This historical narrative is not nearly so much about Goering--or Kelley--as it is about those incredible accidental meetings of personalities and circumstances at the most telling times in history and how much of what becomes cultural consciousness is developed in dark rooms under conditions and by people of which most remain forever unaware. El-Hai's book is a mystery and suspense tale, told as though Poe or Hawthorne had penned an historical drama. It comes highly recommended from these quarters, especially for anyone who prefers a literary turn put to what would otherwise be dry classroom facts.
to The Moral Animal, though it smiles just a tad too much. One HOPES that Wright's optimistic "destiny" of human evolution is true, though there is plenty of real life mess to prove otherwise. Wright does make some wonderfully insightful observations about what drives the complexity and symbolic nature of human society, it is just the underlying eutopic hints that cause one to cringe a bit. Overall, a fine book with lots of insight and things to ponder...just don't take it's subtitle too much to heart--humans simply don't yet deserve it.
I admit, I read this book with an ulterior motive. I have kind of a "self help" interest in memory and its quirks. I have this idea that if I can polish up my past (and I don't see why not, I'm the keeper of it, after all) then it should - in countless subconscious ways - improve my present.
This book gives my ulterior motive hope because, as the book explains, memory is really a confabulation of past experiences, stories and present hopes and attitudes - not an unchanging video of the mind. Charles Fernyhough combines the latest and greatest of memory research with personal stories (like how he's attempting to give his children vivid memories of his father, who died before they were born.) He covers common memory glitches - like how siblings remember the same event, but happening to different people.
(I have this situation with my sister. I cut my finger on a peanut butter can - yes, peanut butter used to come in cans - and had to get stitches. She remembers the incident as well, but thinks it was her finger that was cut. The weird thing is that we both have a scar on that finger.)
I don't know if this book will grip those without personal gain in the back of their minds, but I enjoyed it. Recommend.