Neuroscientist and Bestselling Author of How We Decide
Jonah Lehrer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Imagine: How Creativity Works, Proust Was a Neuroscientist, and How We Decide. Lehrer has been called "something of a popular science prodigy" by The New York Times. A Rhodes Scholar, Jonah Lehrer broke onto the scene by advocating for a fourth culture, where art and science merge to create a new understanding of the human condition. His new book, The Digital Mind: How We Think and Behave Differently on Screens (co-written by Shlomo Benartzi), is forthcoming from Penguin Portfolio in May 2015.
How We Decide: The New Science of Decision Making
In this engaging talk, Jonah Lehrer shows you how leaders in various fields are taking advantage of new discoveries in neuroscience to make better television shows, win more football games, improve military intelligence -- the list is endless. (On the flip side: how did defects in our decision-making apparatus lead to, among other things, the current financial crisis, costly wars, and how can we overcome these inherent flaws in our brain?) With verve and warmth, and the ability to clearly explain important and complex concepts, Lehrer brilliantly answers two questions that are of interest to just about anyone: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can you make those decisions better?
How You Decide: The Science Behind the Voting Booth
Is ignorance democracy's bliss? Can we be rational in our election decisions? Probably not, says Jonah Lehrer. Whether this is our first time voting or our tenth, we each want to believe that we are making rational, well-informed decisions. But how can we? We are bombarded by 30-second emotional ads that direct our attention but in many cases have nothing to do with the issues. We all bring emotional bias to the voting booth, but how do we put that aside and look to vote based on the facts? In this talk, Jonah Lehrer, author of the bestseller How We Decide, outlines the many factors that go into the important decision of who we vote for this November. The more rational we try to be, says Lehrer, the farther we stray from rational decision making. How do we side-step the manipulation of political ad directors and vote our future? And what do first-time voters need to know before beginning their careers as informed citizens? Equal parts science, politics, and psychology, Lehrer helps students understand what makes voters tick, and helps make new voters savvy, informed, and entertained.
Imagine: How Creativity Works
How does one measure imagination? Why are some cities centres of innovation? Is the internet making us more or less imaginative? What kinds of classroom techniques increase the creativity of children? Does brainstorming work? Can the colour of paint on the wall or the location of a restroom have a dramatic impact on creativity?
For too long we’ve pretended that creativity is an impenetrable biological gift. As a result, we’ve clung to a series of myths about what creativity is and where it comes from. These myths aren’t just misleading—they also interfere with the imagination. That’s why, in addition to presenting elegant experiments and important scientific studies, Imagine is filled with real-life examples: Bob Dylan’s writing method, the drug habits of poets, an autistic surfer who invented a new surfing move, a website that solves seemingly impossible problems, and the offices of Pixar. Creativity shouldn’t be a process reserved for artists, inventors, or other “creative types.” The human mind, after all, has the creative impulse hard-wired into its most essential programming code. This book is about how that happens. It is the story of how we imagine.
How We Decide
The first book to use the unexpected discoveries of neuroscience to help us make the best decisionsSince 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 minds 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 reasonand the precise mix depends on the situation. When buying a house, for example, its best to let our unconscious mull over the many variables. But when were picking a stock, intuition often leads us astray. The trick is to determine when to use the different parts of the brain, and to do this, we need to think harder (and smarter) about how we think. Jonah Lehrer arms us with the tools we need, drawing on cutting-edge research as well as the real-world experiences of a wide range of decidersfrom airplane pilots and hedge fund investors to serial killers and poker players.
Lehrer shows how people are taking advantage of the new science to make better television shows, win more football games, and improve military intelligence. His 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?
Proust Was a Neuroscientist
A gifted young writer explores the unexpected links between art and modern science. From a rising journalist and Rhodes scholar, a dazzling look at how five writers, a painter, a composer, and a chef discovered the truth about the mind.
In this technology-driven age, it's tempting to believe that science can solve every mystery. After all, science has cured countless diseases and even sent humans into space. But as Jonah Lehrer argues in this sparkling and original book, science is not the only path to knowledge. In fact, where the brain is concerned, art got there first. Focusing on a group of artists -- a painter, a poet, a chef, a composer, and a handful of novelists -- Lehrer shows how each one discovered an essential truth about the human mind that science is only now rediscovering. We learn, for example, how Proust first revealed the fallibility of memory; how George Eliot discovered the brain's malleability; how the French chef Escoffier discovered umami (the fifth taste); how Cézanne worked out the subtleties of vision; and how Gertrude Stein exposed the deep structure of language a full half-century before Chomsky. It's the ultimate tale of art trumping science.
More broadly, Lehrer shows that there is a cost to reducing everything to atoms and acronyms and genes. Measurement is not the same as understanding, and this is what art knows better than science. An ingenious blend of biography, criticism, and first-rate science writing, Proust Was a Neuroscientist urges science to listen more closely to art, for the right minds can combine the best of both to brilliant effect.
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