I recently finished the popular book, Outliers, and then listened to "How We Decide". I found the topics pleasantly related and the two books to be of comparable high quality. After spending years convincing myself that emotions are detrimental to decisions, this book made me re-think that conclusion by offering interesting and compelling evidence on how emotions can be valuable. The conclusions of this book are also interesting in regards to human-machine interfaces. These nerdy topics are wrapped in some very interesting true stories that made the book overall a very enjoyable listen.
I was hesitant to purchase due to the other reviews that claimed the book to be a rehash of old material. As a fan of books on decision making and the brain, I found plenty of new material. I even enjoyed listening to the material that I heard heard before because of the way this book is organized. Each chapter is a brief discussion of a common misconception. I found the splashes of humor to be effective. Some may find the grand conclusion of the book depressing - we behave more like self absorbed pack animals than high order spiritual beings. I found it liberating. I am no so smart...but neither are most of the people around me.
While the story is one of hopelessness and despair, the author's gift of telling it makes this book a five star on my list. I have never been a reader who has a keen appreciation of fine writing (give me a cheesy, fast moving, made for TV story), but this book brought out the literary critic in me. I was anxious to get to the gym just so I could turn this book back on.
This is an engaging personal account of the strength of the will to live written in the context of a very interesting survival story. I was so focused that the listening time seemed much shorter than the actual run time. I sensed that the males in my family found this story to be more interesting than the females, but I believe it is a good message for all genders and ages.
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