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The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Should Not - and Put Ourselves in Great Danger | [Daniel Gardner]

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

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.
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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)

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    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
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    Amazon Customer Chelsea, AL, United States 05-04-11
    Amazon Customer Chelsea, AL, United States 05-04-11 Member Since 2012
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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
  •  
    Ryan LEAWOOD, KS, United States 01-18-11
    Ryan LEAWOOD, KS, United States 01-18-11 Listener Since 2009
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    "Narrator Issue"

    The narrator is horribly annoying, so no matter how good this book might be, I can't tolerate the narrator long enough to listen to it. Highly disappointing and unnecessary.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
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