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The Science of Fear Audiobook

The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Should Not - and Put Ourselves in Great Danger

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Publisher's Summary

From terror attacks to the War on Terror, bursting real-estate bubbles to crystal meth epidemics, sexual predators to poisonous toys from China, our list of fears seems to be exploding. And yet, we are the safest and healthiest humans in history. Irrational fear is running amok, and often with tragic results. In the months after 9/11, when people decided to drive instead of fly - believing they were avoiding risk - road deaths rose by 1,595. Those lives were lost to fear.

The Science of Fear is a disarmingly cheerful roundtrip shuttle to the new brain science, dissecting the fears that misguide and manipulate us every day. As award-winning journalist Daniel Gardner demonstrates, irrational fear springs from how humans miscalculate risks. Our hunter-gatherer brains evolved during the old Stone Age and struggle to make sense of a world utterly unlike the one that made them. Numbers, for instance, confuse us. Our "gut" tells us that even if there aren't "50,000 predators...on the Internet prowling for children," as a recent U.S. Attorney General claimed, then there must be an awful lot. And even if our "head" discovers that the number is baseless and no one actually knows the truth - there could be 100,000 or 500,000 - we are still more fearful simply because we heard the big number. And it is not only politicians and the media that traffic in fearmongering. Corporations fatten their bottom lines with fear. Interest groups expand their influence with fear. Officials boost their budgets with fear. With more information, warnings and scary stories coming at us every day from every direction, we are more prone than ever to needlessly worry.

©2008 Daniel Gardner; (P)2009 Gildan Media Corp

What the Critics Say

"Excellent.... analyses everything from the media's predilection for irrational scare stories to the cynical use of fear by politicians pushing a particular agenda....What could easily have been a catalogue of misgovernance and stupidity instead becomes a cheery corrective to modern paranoia." (The Economist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Andre Lima Sao Paulo, Brazil 04-24-12
    Andre Lima Sao Paulo, Brazil 04-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brain, Media and Cultural Interactions"
    Would you listen to The Science of Fear again? Why?

    Yes. The subject is most interesting and the book is full of references to classical works in the area of risk perception. Great job in connecting ideas from Kannehman, Tvorsky, Slovic, and other researchers in a revealing and instructive narrative.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Science of Fear?

    This specific passage: "...This isn't a failing of the media, so much as it is a reflection of the hardwiring of the human brain that was shaped by environments that bore little resemblance to the world we inhabit. We listen to iPods, read the newspaper, watch television, work on computers, and fly around the world with brains beautifully adapted to picking berries and stalking antilope. The wonder is not we sometimes make mistakes about risks. The wonder is that sometimes we get it right."


    What about Scott Peterson’s performance did you like?

    Yes, great performance.


    If you could give The Science of Fear a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Guts and Head: two different perspectives of life


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Pinellas Park, FL, United States 04-02-12
    Amazon Customer Pinellas Park, FL, United States 04-02-12

    becca

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    "Title Misleading"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    what a disappoint. I thought the author was going to talk about


    Would you ever listen to anything by Daniel Gardner again?

    No.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    I guess it was okay considering the boring material.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Science of Fear?

    I would call for a total rewrite or ask author to retitle his book to correctly represent subject discussed.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are looking for help with dealing with fear or what the science behind fear, this is not the book to buy. Look elsewhere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alissa Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 03-26-12
    Alissa Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 03-26-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Interesting"

    This book is very interesting in terms of its explanation of how fear creeps into our culture and overtakes our better judgment. There are times, however, when Daniel Gardner's approach is a little too science-heavy for me, in that he feels science has the capability of quantifying human experience beyond all other methods of understanding. This simply is not my viewpoint and so found that element very distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Mayaro, Trinidad and Tobago 01-02-12
    Joseph Mayaro, Trinidad and Tobago 01-02-12 Member Since 2010

    Knowledge is potential power; knowledge put into practice is power.

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    "An eye opener for us who were sleeping."

    Great book, a must listen to, this book really makes you think and look at the media and politicians differently and what they really attempt to do the masses of the people, brain wash and instill fear in order to achieve their goals and not the interest of the masses which they should be doing. People thrust me you need to listen to this book it will change your life for the better when you know what this author has written and observe for yourself and do research you will be a better person and not only hear what is being said but also what is not being said.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    goatroper 09-28-11
    goatroper 09-28-11 Member Since 2009
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    "now i get it"

    This is a well written explanation of why I'm fearful of a great deal of unlikely scenarios and nonchalant about the extraordinarily dangerous. Even more, the author allows me to understand and sometimes reprogram the collective mind in my workplace and at home to better reflect that which is truly important and that which is not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie A Hill Murray, Utah United States 08-09-11
    Leslie A Hill Murray, Utah United States 08-09-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Fascinating"

    The author reveals the "man behind the curtain" in this book. I loved it and highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eran Gal 03-03-11
    Eran Gal 03-03-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Amazing how our braing works!"

    Very interesting and recommended for anyone that has a brain.

    Many good examples and very clear explanations of great works such an Cahnman and Tversky's works on perception.
    At times a bit repetitive and sometimes falls in love with the ideas a bit too much but in general pretty balanced.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ross Erdmann 06-22-10 Listener Since 2010
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    "Good but a little too cynical"

    I really enjoyed this book. It presented the material in an innovative way that made it easy to understand

    My only real complaint is that it comes off as a little too cynical about politicians and big business that peddle in fear. The reference to cognitive dissonance doesn't really mitigate that in my view

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon Newmarket, Ontario, Canada 12-13-10
    Simon Newmarket, Ontario, Canada 12-13-10
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    "Nice surprise"

    Very much enjoyed this book after picking it up during one of Audible's sales without any particular expectations. Probably the best deal I've gotten here and has made me think about the psychology a little bit more than I had before.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-04-11
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    "Be Afraid"

    Be afraid Daniel Gardner writes another book. Very little useful information. He should re-publish the book under the title "Why I Hate George Bush".

    1 of 8 people found this review helpful

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