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Download On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind’s Hard-Wired Habits Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind’s Hard-Wired Habits, by Wray Herbert Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Wray Herbert Narrator: Dan John Mille Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Our brains are marvels, hard-wired by millions of years of evolution to boast a number of mental shortcuts, biases, and tricks that allow us to negotiate our complicated lives without overthinking every choice and decision we have to make. Unfortunately, those ancient shortcuts don’t always work to our advantage in our modern lives; when we don’t also think slowly and rationally, those hard-wired habits can trip us up. This intriguing book helps us understand how our minds are predisposed to think about the world—and how to avoid many of life’s common mistakes.

Among the surprising examples of these mental habits at work in our lives:

  • Experienced skiers make fatal mistakes on familiar terrain more often than less experienced ones.
  • 99.9 percent of the citizens of France are registered organ donors, but only 28 percent of Americans are.
  • Early birds on jury duty are more likely to succumb to racial stereotypes in delivering verdicts when the day gets late.
  • People who are hungry for lunch will donate less money to charity.

Wray Herbert introduces us to twenty of these shortcuts and biases, explaining how they affect us in the real world and how they’re being studied in labs around the world.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Brings a twist [to the psychology shelf]…could keep us from making mistakes whose consequences range from dying in an avalanche to failing to follow directions because we don’t like the font they’re written in.”


  • “Eminently “Gladwellian”…Herbert clearly shows the effects of various daily mental maneuvers and peppers the text with explanations of how the human mind has evolved.”

    Washington Post

  • “Counters the argument set forth in titles like Malcom Gladwell’s Blink…successfully shows readers how ancient shortcuts can impact our modern living and how to use this knowledge to make better decisions.”

    Library Journal

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About the Author

Wray Herbert, who has been writing about psychology and human behavior for more than twenty-five years, currently writes two regular columns for Newsweek and Scientific American Mind. Wray serves as senior director for science communication for the Association for Psychological Science, where he writes a popular blog about new psychological research. He has also been assistant managing editor at U.S. News & World Report, editor in chief of Psychology Today, and behavioral science editor of the weekly magazine Science News. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and other national publications.