As the other reviews say, Michael is a better speaker than reader. He's also really bad at pronunciation. If you can get beyond that (I certainly did), this really is a fantastic book. I certainly hope that this will inspire more people to adopt a skeptical philosophy. Yet, I'm sure there are many who would have a hard time with the book. Namely those who fell asleep in science class and stayed awake in Sunday school. But really, EVERYONE needs to read/listen to this book.
If you've read some of Michael Shermer's other books, mainly How People Believe, then a lot of this book will seem like familiar territory. It even has the same hypothetical thought experiment for patternicity (it's a good thought experiment, so it's well worth repeating). Likewise, if you've read other works on the psychology of belief, again there's familiar territory covered. There's nothing quite revolutionary or revelatory highlighted, just a solid case told in a very enticing way.
It's in its personal approach that I feel the book is successful. While treading dangerously close to the anecdotal, the whole narrative is rife with examples highlighting the theory in action; akin to the approach in the sublime Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me). And by subjecting his own beliefs to the model, it was a nice way of putting his own biases under the spotlight. The result is that the theory put forward is memorable and applicable in real-world cases. The chapter on political beliefs, for example, should serve as a sobering reminder of just how arbitrary much of the political discourse truly is. And the account of Francis Collins will hopefully serve to remind us in the sceptical community that the difference between believer and non-believer has nothing to do with stupidity.
In terms of narration, it was generally good though there are a few moments where Shermer seems to get tongue-twisted and the flow breaks, and a few words are mispronounced. But aside from that, I have no complaints.
I love AUDIBLE! I never get mad at traffic jams and can listen to many different books, despite my short time.
In Michael Shermer's point of view, humans form beliefs (from experiences, genetics...) and then selectively filter the data that to support the pre-existing beliefs. He divides the book in 4 parts Part 1- Journeys of Belief; Part 2. The Biology of Belief; Part III. Belief in Things Unseen; and Part IV- Belief in Things Seen.
A good book, but I think it is not for everyone. If you are a believer (in God, ET, conspiracies...) you will get upset.
Yes. It is a good book to have solidly present in one's head at all times.
I (for complex reasons — I suppose they are always complex) had a penchant for being gullible which got worn down through education, but after a crisis in my mid-thrities, I decided to become "open" (thereby casting away deliberately many mental restraints). I decided it was simply better strategy, even if that meant being gullible. However, in time I shifted back to a more critical, intellectually rigorous position. For someone like myself, Schermer's book is just the thing to steady a sometimes vacillating mind.
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
I was knocked out once. Nothing. Can't even remember the time I was out. I am guessing death is the same. I am also finding this book to back up a lot of my other ideas. Your brain has to make sense out of the world, stimuli and memories and so fills it in with voices, ghosts and flying saucers. Then you have to make up a reason for all this, after all it can't just be me otherwise I would fit in better, surely! Well Michael Shemer explains it all, lost me a little in the bit about the universe and alternative universes, but I will go back to that another time. Once you listen to Michael, who narrates his (not the best to listen to but passable) book, you start to see that it might just be time to stop believing and get on with it, living that is. He dose not say it does not exist, but as a scientist, or at least someone using science, just because it does not have a normal reason does not mean it is supernormal, it means we just don't have a normal answer yet. Worth listening to and once you have, you can discuss with your brainy intelligent friends his theories and feel a little more wiser than the 'spoon benders'.
Great listen. Clear, concise, contemporary and relevant, but doesn't take itself too seriously. It's informative without being preachy. I am changing my list of who I would MOST LIKE TO HAVE LUNCH WITH...Michael Shermer is now on my A-lst.
This book ranks in the top 5. I learned just how much we base beliefs on emotions and how reasons to support those beliefs come second. I think people have to be willing to be open to evidence. If you don't believe Dr. Shermer, by all means chase down his references and make sure he's telling the truth.
In The Believing Brain Michael Shermer, the founder and editor of Skeptic Magazine, shows the reader how and why we believe. He begins the book with a discussion of religious beliefs, providing a few examples of life-altering religious (or irreligious) experiences, including his own. I found these stories engaging and enjoyed Shermer's philosophical discussion. Then Shermer defines "agenticity"--the tendency to assume patterns have meaning and intention (an outside agent) instead of seeing them as non-intentional or even random events. He describes the cellular mechanics of our brains and why we would have evolved "agenticity," and then provides many examples of how we see patterns even when they don't exist. This part was pretty funny. I enjoyed his examples. Shermer describes how we can become convinced that our own beliefs are accurate and unbiased, how confirmation bias leads to unconsciously ignoring data that contradict our ideas while noticing in minute detail all the examples in which the data confirm our ideas. This leads to a political discussion of liberals versus conservatives versus libertarianism (because, after all, we simply MUST hear about Shermer's libertarian beliefs!). The final third of the book describes the progress of scientific beliefs from world-is-flat to the multi-verse (again, Shermer inserts a commentary about what HE believes, which seemed a small digression from his main point). This third of the book also describes how the scientific method works. I found the final third of the book less interesting than the first two thirds. It seemed a little less organized than the first two parts, but that may have been because my mind was wandering since I was already familiar with the material he covered. In the end, this was a fun and interesting read, but nothing I'm going to read again.
Shermer is well-spoken and therefore did a good job reading his own work. There were a few words that he hesitated on EVERY time (like spectroscopy), but he was mainly a pretty smooth reader.
It is a great story itself.
The first story he told.
One of the better audible books I've listened to. I was really into the stories. Very good.
Informative , Enjoyable , Thoughtful , Believing lol
Mr Shermer takes us on a journey .
enjoyably self narrated .
Credit well spent .
Though .... music between chapters would be distracted ,
I'd see if Audible would remove it .
sort of like the doorbell ringing in the final scene in a film ,
you ride it out but you know its distracted you ,
Otherwise it was great .