kottke.org posts about howwedecide

How We DecideNov 25 2008

News to me: Jonah Lehrer, author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist, has a new book coming out in February called How We Decide.

From the acclaimed author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist, a fascinating look at the new science of decision-making-and how it can help us make better choices. Since Plato, philosophers have described the decisionmaking process as either rational or emotional: we carefully deliberate or we "blink" and go with our gut. But as scientists break open the mind's black box with the latest tools of neuroscience, they're discovering that this is not how the mind works.Our best decisions are a finely tuned blend of both feeling and reason -- and the precise mix depends on the situation.When buying a house, for example, it's best to let our unconscious mull over the many variables. But when we're picking a stock, intuition often leads us astray.The trick is to determine when to lean on which part of the brain, and to do this, we need to think harder (and smarter) about how we think.

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