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The Decisive Moment by Jonah Lehrer

The full title of this book by Jonah Lehrer is

The Decisive Moment: How The Brain Makes Up Its Mind“.

In my review posted to Amazon.co.uk, I rated the book at the Four Stars level. This means that I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

A fascinating look at how we make decisions but it’s focus is on “why decisions are made” rather than “how to use” these ideas

This is a fascinating book which looks at how the emotional and the logical brains work individually or together to help you to make decisions at work and in your personal life. It also helps to explain how the people around you also make decisions and why those decisions may not be quite so strange.

The emotions versus logic debate which has challenged man since the times of Ancient Greece and the philosophers like Plato. The emotions were seen as something that needed to be controlled and to be made subservient to the rational mind and cold hard logic. These days the emotional brain is seen as the dominant force although both logic and emotion have flaws which can lead to the wrong decisions.

As Dan Ariely says, we are Predictably Irrational.

The book draws on psychology and neuroscience so some technical words are inevitable but it is at an easily manageable level.

The author interweaves the clever stuff around stories of airline crashes and near-crashes, war, sports success and gambling as well as the issues I am most interested in – how decisions are made for business. The book has me reflecting on how I reached certain decisions which is interesting and I think it will help me to trust my intuitions from the brain’s super-computer, the emotional brain.

As I delve deeper into decision making with the emotional and rational minds, I think this is a book I will keep going back to since it is easy to read and helps put everything into perspective through the examples.

It is a “why” book rather than a “how to” book. What I mean is that it explains why certain decisions and actions are made which helps to increase understanding of what is going on in our brains. It does not reveal the “how to use this information” for business or personal success although understanding your decision making process inevitable impacts on the way you make decisions and look out for biases.

The lack of how to use the ideas means that it gets a Four Star rating. It is a very good read for anyone who wants to understand more about decision-making.

One word of warning for anyone who has a psychology or neuroscience background. You may not like the way the book has been dumbed down for lay-people and I suppose, you may not agree with some of the conclusions. They make sense to me but I don’t know enough about psychology to be sure.

It is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.


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