How We Decide

Lehrer, Jonah

Book - 2009
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
How We Decide
Offers a fascinating look at the new science of decision-making--and how it can help us make better choices.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009
ISBN: 9780618620111
Branch Call Number: 153.83 L524h 2009
Characteristics: xvii, 302 p. ;,22 cm


From Library Staff

Join the discussion on Sept. 19, 2014. From the author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist comes a fascinating look at the new science of decision-making. Lehrer explores two questions: "How does the human mind make decisions?" and, "How can those decisions be made better?"

From the critics

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Aug 30, 2014

Fascinating, by far Lehrer's best. Forget about his faults, this guy is among the best at disseminating the latest cognitive science into easily understandable descriptions. It's the opposite of boring if you have an ounce of curiosity about science.

Jun 19, 2014
  • indigo_cat_7 rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.


Jun 08, 2014

How We Decide, as well as a later book by this author, was withdrawn from stores by the publisher after accusations of plagiarism.

May 08, 2013
  • rennlc rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Jonah Lehrer poses a very interesting perspective by framing problems as an extension of poorly made decisions. He explains with both science and story how decisions are made on biological and social levels. His book offers wonderful insight into a simple concept with gigantic implications. I recommend this read to anyone looking into beginning or enhancing their understanding of human nature.

Oct 17, 2012
  • idmarsh rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Got about 75 pages in before losing patience.

Pages upon pages in this slim volume are devoted to anecdotes about people making quick decisions in their line of work. And the point of them, in all their abundant detail, mostly just seems to be: here's someone who has to make quick decisions.

All this is stitched together with some questionable science about the brain; as far as I got, the author was claiming dopamine interactions are responsible for just about everything. This struck me as an oversimplification at best. I suppose the thinness of the science might account for the lengthiness of the anecdotes.

The form of the writing is OK, and the ice-cream cone cover art idea is cute. But otherwise I felt this book is inferior even to many self-help titles, never mind more serious efforts to explain how the brain works. This book's title strongly implies it is more of the latter type, and it falls far short.

Jun 11, 2012
  • mcschroeder rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Fascinating study of our brain decision-making. He quotes a lot of research and brings it alive with real stories that make it easier to understand and apply to life. I can't wait to read his next book on creativity.

Jan 25, 2011
  • peterzenkk rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This is neuroscience ala' James Bond! Lehrer is indeed a guy's guy nerd, and uses many testosterone loaded examples (football games, sky jumping fire fighters, pilots in trouble, poker tournaments) to illustrate the glory & pitfalls of our brains when making decisions. The science ends up a bit vague - a rather random conclusion that we should use reason but don't forget about your emotions when making decisions- but it is a really dynamic read that will leave you feeling a bit smarter but possibly not the wiser when it comes to making decisions.

Dec 13, 2010
  • grugster rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A very clear and interesting account of latest brain research and how it helps us understand the decision making process. Wonder why some decisions seem impossible to decide? You might find the answer here.

Dec 12, 2010
  • melonlemon rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Interesting how recent research on the brain corresponds with ancient words of the Buddha.


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