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.
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.
Read by the author, it's a mix of fact, personal experience and opinion. Very interesting and a great way to kill time in traffic.
First, let me get the performance aspect out of the way. Some of the other reviews are pretty hard on Mr. Shermer's efforts here at reading his own work. While it's true that the reading is not as good as one done by a more professional reader, it's still perfectly acceptable and doesn't distract.
Now, on to the content!
In the subtitle, Shermer lists the main topics he will touch on: ghosts, gods, politics, and conspiracies. I am familiar with Shermer's work in the excellent book "Why People Believe Weird Things" as well as an occasion article I've read, so I felt like I knew what I was getting into, and I did with 1 minor exception.
I did get what I expected in the ghosts, gods, and conspiracies: a clear approach to understanding and explaining why people believe in such nonsensical flights of fancy, with lots of examples, references to current research and well-thought out arguments. I found the underlying question of "why do people believe in _anything_" quite rich and fascinating, and handled well.
Those are the "3 out of 4 well-covered"...
I was very disappointed in the political treatment. Shermer dropped the ball here in a 2 ways.
For one, Shermer strongly promoted his Libertarian viewpoint. Without getting into the details, if you've ran across Libertarian discourses on the internet (and if you are on a message board of any substantial size, I know you have), you've heard everything Shermer has to say on that political position. I don't think any well-read person will hear anything new here, regardless of what politics you hold.
The larger disappointment, which only makes the Libertarian focus worse, was an over-reliance on putting political discussion into the left-right American political spectrum. Only after a long initial discussion confined to the American left-right spectrum, did we get a few brief sentences on a larger global perspective on politics, and then only to simplify them down into the same American left-right spectrum. There was virtually no consideration given to political thought outside of a strict American perspective.
Badly managed and highly disappointed with the political topic handling, I must say.
However, the rest of the content was quite well done, and even the political stuff was worth listening to, if only to reinforce my own personal theory that there is no such thing as true intellectual or rational commentary possible on modern American politics, from any perspective!
Overall, this is a skeptical book written by a deep thinking skeptic, and if that sort of thing is of interest to you, this is worth a listen.
Michael gave logical explanations for some of the most fanciful beliefs. Anyone who considers themselves to be superstitious or, knowingly believes in fanciful ideas should listen to this.
No, if anything it has encouraged me to listen to more.
I think it was just nice to hear it read by the person who wrote it. He read it well, stressing points where HE wanted to emphasise.
This book compares favorably alongside David Eagleman's "Incognito" and Michael Gazzaniga's "Who's in Charge". In some ways, this book is not quite as great as those two, mostly because it's a little too long, and gets dull toward the middle (but hang on, because it picks back up later).
I give this book 4 stars instead of 5 only because I thought the book was too long. There are a few parts that are a little repetitive. I would have to say, read the other books I mentioned first, especially "Incognito", which has been my favorite book on this topic.
Instead of just saying that conspiracy theorists are nuts, the author does an outstanding job of explaining how otherwise intelligent, rational people can end up believing things that are either patently false or, at best, highly unlikely. The only reason you should doubt his reasoning would be if you do not believe in the scientific method. If you do, then the his arguments are solid and quite well-explained. If you somehow don't believe in the scientific method, well, I'm not sure what to say about that but you probably won't like this book or much about modern society in general.
My only quibble is that the last few chapters, while interesting, seem incongruous with the rest of the book. This shouldn't stop you from buying the book nor listening to it all of the way through, but it's just a warning in case you find yourself asking what is the point he is trying to make and what does it have to do with the Believing Brain?
This audiobook was engaging and interesting for the 1st half, but went downhill from there. The first half references brain research and neuropsychology to support Shermer's positions and it was an enjoyable listen. The second half left me yearning for it to come to an end. The second half is mostly an opinion piece on politics, in which Shermer is the best example of forming a belief then filtering the evidence to support it, and a LENGTHY exposition on the history of astronomy that went way beyond what was needed to prove his point. Astronomy is interesting, but I purchased this audiobook to hear about brain science. I rated this audiobook a 3 to average a 4 for the first half and a 2 for the second half.
without hesitation. It allows the reader to look at different beliefs/superstitions from the outside