The book provides a decent tour of current psychology and behavior science but does not offer any substantive tips about how to use the information.
As a science author (as opposed to a scientist) he does a good job of explaining subtle concepts. The other side of this coin is that most of the information is presented in layman's terms. So if you are looking for a more scientific exploration of these issues you should look at other titles.
Like most books in this category, the author spends a great deal of time describing how we are led astray by cognitive biases without offering any insight about how to avoid them. I would like to see a book that tried to tackle that problem more seriously.
Unfortunately, the author chose to read his own book, which is almost always a mistake. The delivery is rather flat--not monotone, but it doesn't really hold your attention.
Overall, the content is accurate and informative and the performance is adequate. If you are looking for an introduction to cognitive bias then the book will be interesting. If you want a more in depth scientific approach I would recommend "Thinking Fast and Slow."
Although the author purports to address the issue of free will from a neuroscience point of view he goes off on many, many tangents and is oddly reticent to make any firm assertions.
He gives a good tour of the current state of what we understand about how the brain works. This is meant to set the stage for addressing the question of whether brain chemistry and wiring pre-determines out decisions or if free will really exists. However, although he asserts that he thinks free will exists he does not create any structured arguments to support his belief. Either he feels the evidence speaks for itself (in which case he has over-estimated his audience) or his hypothesis never crystallized in his mind.
As an experienced neuroscientist he has a masterful grasp of the subject (although I found his frequent, parenthetical comments of "so-and-so, who worked in a lab across campus from me" did not add anything to the story.) Not only does he understand what he is writing about, but he has thought deeply about the implications and he presents the material accurately.
I found the performance to be rather snarky and it distracted from the text.
The survey of current neuroscience makes the book worth reading, but I think he does a disservice to claim the book is about free will.
I actually listened to this book twice because I found it so insightful and interesting. The author brings together several diverse fields in an understandable and persuasive way. He debunks several common fears and helps put others in their proper perspective.
There are many books on the market that deal with error, cognitive bias and heuristics. This book presents enough information to make the concepts understandable and relevant without getting overly academic. He then provides concrete, real world examples of how they influence behavior and perceptions.
The author tackles cancer, terrorism, pollution, pedophiles and violent crime. He gives a very realistic analysis of popular perceptions of these risks. Then he dissects them in terms of the actual risk they pose to the average person (much less than perceived) and convincingly shows where the discrepancies arise.
He covers psychology, evolutionary biology, heuristics, history, politics and statistics but somehow keeps the material from getting dry or overly technical. It's a delicate balance and he manages to keep up the balancing act for the entire book.
The book is an excellent antidote to the alarmist "is your family safe?!" stories that the press currently engages in.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
Wow, did I love this book. It was well written and well narrated. Not really at all technical, per se, it uses real life stories to illustrate the various characteristics of sociopaths. I have read in reviews that the reviewers saw the book as self-help. I would characterize it more as self-defense. Once upon a time, I had a colleague who was a complete scoundrel and who had hurt many people. I commented to one of my closest friends that what I could not understand was that I actually liked this scoundrel. My friend commented that amoral people often have that effect on us. This book helps us to identify those people. The book often reads more like one written by a science reporter than by one written by a social scientist. I am not complaining. On the contrary, it makes the book that much more readable. I think that the book helped me to understand the seemingly unfathomable why of what bad people sometimes do. Why are people sometimes totally insensitive to the feelings and needs of others. Why would one hurt another being for no apparent reason at all... not even for their own apparent personal gain.