The Decisive Moment: How The Brain Makes Up Its Mind by Jonah Lehrer
Since Plato, philosophers have described the decision-making 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 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 stocks and shares, 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. In The Decisive Moment, Jonah Lehrer arms us with the tools we need, drawing on cutting-edge research by Daniel Kahneman, Colin Camerer and others, as well as the world's most interesting 'deciders' - from airline pilots, world famous sportsmen and hedge fund investors to serial killers, politicians and poker players. He shows how the fluctuations of a few dopamine neurons saved a battleship during the Persian Gulf War, and how the fevered activity of a single brain region led to the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Lehrer's goal is to answer two questions that are of interest to just about anyone, from CEOs to firefighters: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better?