The Believing Brain starts strong, delivering on its title promise about why people believe such strange things. Then the author begins to wander. By mid-way the book starts becoming a recap of material from other books.
The section on politics particularly wanders. For an extended section it's about the author's own political beliefs, and subtly why those beliefs are rational, implying others' beliefs are not.
From there the book goes on to discuss cognitive biases, the history of science, and the scientific method. All of these topics are much better covered in other books specific to those subjects.
I was skeptical of this book at first. Then I really got into it. And found myself nodding along as I listened. Perhaps I was merely subdued by my innate confirmation bias... ;-) Good stuff.
Yes, I probably will. There's a lot of information to grasp, and listening to a second time will help me recall the information in discussions on these topics.
Non-fiction, no characters.
A lot of science history is presented (maye a little too much, to be honest).
I enjoyed the part on religion, which is my big personal point of interest.
Dr. Shermer does an excellent job of cutting through the noise and laying out the argument for skepticism. I really enjoyed this book, but here are my few thoughts as to what prevented it from getting five stars:
1. I tend to be more liberal than Dr. Shermer, so his section on politics ruffled my feathers a bit. He didn't work overly hard to present an unbiased view, instead laying out a basic arguement for civil liberarianism. It was still a good section, but I found myself wanting to argue with some of the things that were written there.
2. Dr. Shermer does the *funniest* voices sometimes when he is quoting people, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't realize it. Even when quoting someone he really respects, he does this funny mock impersonation that sounds like he is making fun of them. I actually really enjoyed that, so it didn't ding my rating at all.
3. The book ran a little unneccessarily long at points, especially at the end. I feel like Dr. Shermer could've said everything he wanted to say in half the words, but then some editor came and prodded him into making it longer to maximize profits. I think this book could've almost succeeded better in the micro book format used by Sam Harris.
Overall, still well worth the read! I intend to get more books by Dr. Shermer soon.
Good book but the Narrator sounds to much like Kermit the frog. Extremely distracting. I will be watching out for books read by him.
Michael Shermer has done the metaphysical Community worldwide a great service by offering this detailed book on Superstition brain science critical thinking and the various pitfalls of dualistic belief
Michael Shermer provides a detailed look at why the brain believes and how we rationalize those beliefs. He articulates the evolutionary causes and provides a compelling argument for why religious beliefs, conspiracy theories, alien encounters, and any percieved paranormal or supernatural event are likely the ramifications of our brain's superior pattern processing ability, cognitive biases, and its lack of error detection. Thumbs Up!
If you believe or enjoy the paranormal like I do. You will be disappointed. The author gives random facts about the paranormal and pompously pokes fun of you if your a believer. I have an open mind or I think I do, so some of the info was fine, I think it's his delivery that troubled me. I laughed out loud several time during the book, a good thing. But in general.....the book was boring.
Educational, thought provoking, mind boggling, enjoyable. Check.
But this lecturer is as great in his delivery as the information he shares about our universe (universes?) and the history of mankind's struggle to comprehend and even predict its behavior.
To say he is amazingly articulate is an understatement. But he is also engaging, lively and entertaining due to the obvious depth of understand, enthusiasm and passion he has for this field of study.
I am no rocket scientist but I am considered fairly intelligent. Still - and with pleasure I must add - I probably listened to some chapters of this book several times in my effort to really absorb the information. But I enjoyed it as much or more the last hearing as the first.
And I'll probably continue to revisit and enjoy this book for years to come. It's that great.
You will come away from this experience with a good basic knowledge (at the survey course level) of cosmology, relativity, the real (and fascinating) meaning and significance of Einstein and E=MC2, quantum physics, black holes, quarks, atoms, string theory, and the continuing quest for the 'Theory of Everything'.
One of if not my best ever Audiobook experiences.