Our species, it appears, is hardwired to get things wrong in myriad different ways. Why did recipients of a loan offer accept a higher rate of interest when a pretty woman's face was printed on the flyer? Why did one poll on immigration find the most despised aliens were ones from a group that did not exist? What made four of the Air Force's best pilots fly their planes, in formation, straight into the ground? Why does giving someone power make him more likely to chew with his mouth open and pick his nose? And why is your sister going out with that biker dude?
In fact, our cognitive, logical, and romantic failures may be a fair price for our extraordinary success as a species - they are the necessary cost of our adaptability. Michael and Ellen Kaplan swoop effortlessly across neurochemistry, behavioral economics, and evolutionary biology, among other disciplines, to answer, with both clarity and wit, the questions above and larger ones about what it means to be human.
NOTE: Some changes to the original text have been made with the authors' approval.
I've recently read/listened-to half a dozen good books about human cognitive bias, including Ariely's "Predictably Irrational", Tavris & Aronson's "Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)", and Chabris & Simons' "The Invisible Gorilla". However, this book is my favorite. It's concise, comprehensive, and it kept me entertained from start to finish. Perceptual, memory and reasoning biases are discussed. The authors even touch on philosophy.
To me, the only weakness of the book is that, while each chapter is takes a particular cognitive phenomenon as a theme, there's not a strong structure across the entire book. This made it a little more difficult for me to recall everything that was discussed. On the other hand, if you're like me, you'll want to listen to this book all over again.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Bozo Sapiens to be better than the print version?
I have not read the print version yet, although I did purchase a print copy to read and annotate after listening to the audio version.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Listening to this book and the authors' explanations of why we humans behave the way we do (often badly!) explained so much about what I have seen in the school yard, in the halls of political power, and in the work place. This book gave me the words to understand and overcome some of the pervasive unpleasantness that surrounds so many social interactions. And a road map to personally make those necessarily unpleasant interactions more pleasant.
Which scene was your favorite?
Far from feeling like being human is a runaway freight train of bad choices, somehow genetically programmed and inevitably irresponsible on both a small scale and a grand scale, this book gave me great hope. I think the pivotal idea for me was distinguishing between biological evolution and social evolution. The latter, of course, more rapid and plastic than the former.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
This book gave me great hope for the future of human kind and our essential 'humanity'. And I mean that, humanity, in a good way!
Any additional comments?
I wish I could get my college age children to read this book. It would be an antidote to cynicism and formulaic approaches to relationships both personal and professional.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Think you're a rational, reasonable human being? Think again. The Kaplans explore the many psychological, cultural and societal phenomena which influence the human thinking process. All too often we are oblivious to these influences, believing our decisions and actions are based on objectively verifiable "reality." A fascinating insight into the operation of the human mind.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful
I love all these human science and behavioral books and this one ranks right up there. Interesting look at human behavior.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
Most fascinating! Only a few minor errors in facts regarding lack of evidence for history of Church of Jesus Christ of Last Day Saints. It reports there is little evidence for the history that that church claims; however, I have researched it much and find extensive evidences
at many places around the world and in America where the facts coincide.
Otherwise, this had been one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. Listening to Victor Bevine is thoroughly joyful. His expressions & performance are perfect.
The book, Bozo Sapiens, by the Kaplan couple exemplifies how lewd, lame, and lugubrious learned persons can be. Listen to the book only if you can bear being disappointed by the irredeemable depravity of humankind, the authors included. They so deserve each other....
0 of 13 people found this review helpful