In this witty and perceptive debut, a former editor at Psychology Today shows us how magical thinking makes life worth living.
Psychologists have documented a litany of cognitive biases - misperceptions of the world - and explained their positive functions. Now, Matthew Hutson shows us that even the most hardcore skeptic indulges in magical thinking all the time - and it's crucial to our survival.
Drawing on evolution, cognitive science, and neuroscience, Hutson shows us that magical thinking has been so useful to us that it's hardwired into our brains. It encourages us to think that we actually have free will. It helps make us believe that we have an underlying purpose in the world. It can even protect us from the paralyzing awareness of our own mortality. In other words, magical thinking is a completely irrational way of making our lives make rational sense.
With wonderfully entertaining stories, personal reflections, and sharp observations, Hutson reveals our deepest fears and longings.
©2012 Matthew Hutson (P)2012 Gildan Media, LLC
This was a fun listen. Interesting psych experiments peppered with funny stories and weaved together by a witty and charmingly nonchalant tour guide. Don Hagen's weighty yet playful narration set the perfect tone for this quirky romp through the science of magical thinking. If you like psychology books, you'll definitely enjoy this.
I highly recommend this book in audio format, as its presentation is engaging and the ideas are embedded in stories at a leisurely pace. Worldview shifting as well as entertaining.
What this book helped me realize was that the most rational stance for humanists and freethinkers is not to work towards eliminating magical thinking in themselves and their children, but to knowingly harness these powerful instincts -- instincts that well served our ancestors! Magical thinking will not be eliminated, so let's use it playfully, pragmatically, and in ways that enhance our lives and relationships.
To be laughing good naturedly, and with new insight, at the follies of myself and those around me, in the good company of the puckish-voiced narrator Don Hagen, this is the joy of audiobooks for me.
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