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Extended Audio Sample The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain Audiobook, by Tali Sharot Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (266 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tali Sharot Narrator: Susan Denaker Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2011 ISBN: 9780307917782
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From one of the most innovative neuroscientists at work today, an investigation into the bias toward optimism that exists on a neural level in our brains and plays a major part in determining how we live our lives.
Psychologists have long been aware that most people maintain an often irrationally positive outlook on life. In fact, optimism may be crucial to our existence. Tali Sharot’s experiments, research, and findings in cognitive science have contributed to an increased understanding of the biological basis of optimism. In this fascinating exploration, she takes an in-depth, clarifying look at how the brain generates hope and what happens when it fails; how the brains of optimists and pessimists differ; why we are terrible at predicting what will make us happy; how emotions strengthen our ability to recollect; how anticipation and dread affect us; and how our optimistic illusions affect our financial, professional, and emotional decisions.
With its cutting-edge science and its wide-ranging and accessible narrative, The Optimism Bias provides us with startling new insight into the workings of the brain.

From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • "What a treat.  A charming, engaging and accessible book written by a scientist who knows how to tell a story. Richard Thaler, author of Nudge

  • Very enjoyable, highly original and packed with eye-opening insight, this is a beautifully written book that really brings psychology alive. Simon Baron-Cohen, author of The Science of Evil
  • With rare talent Sharot takes us on an unforgettable tour of the hopes, traps and tricks of our brains…cutting-edge…a must-read. David Eagleman, author of Sum and Incognito

    “If you read her story, you'll get a better grip on how we function in it. I'm optimistic about that.
  • Lively, conversational…A well-told, heartening report from neuroscience’s front lines. Kirkus
  • Insightful, Oliver Sacks–y first book. Village Voice (Summer Book Picks)
  • Most readers will turn to the last page not only buoyed by hope but also aware of the sources and benefits of that hope. Booklist  
  • Fascinating. Insane Science, NPR

    A book I’d suggest to anyone.. offers evolutionary, neurological, and even slightly philosophical reasons for optimism
  • An intelligently written look into why most people take an optimistic view of life… fascinating trip into why we prefer to remain hopeful about our future and ourselves. New York Journal of Books
  • Fascinating book offers compelling evidence for the neural basis of optimism and what it all means. Scientific American Book club
  • Once I started reading The Optimism Bias, I could not put it down.”. –Positive Psychology News Daily
  • A fascinating yet accessible exploration of how and why our brains construct a positive outlook on life. Brain Pickings (7 Essential Books on Optimism)
  • Engaging…There are many absorbing stories and facts in this concise and well-written book…you will find yourself reflecting on its contents long after you’ve read the final page. makewavesnotnoise.com

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike McVey | 1/19/2014

    " The writing deserves one or two stars, but the subject material was compelling enough to make due. The author uses lots of stories but never seems to find a connection point with her wide audience. If you are interested in neuroscience or psychology, this book is worth the read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adrian Ionel | 1/18/2014

    " Summary: optimism is a built-in, survival mechanism. And it's very useful, especially when paired with humility. Extreme optimism can morph into fantasy and cause serious problems. Not sure one needs 300 pages for this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terri Light | 1/9/2014

    " An interesting but slightly topical look at how optimism impacts your actions and quality of life. A pop-culture take on the science and psychology of outlook and brain chemistry. A good, quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anisa Indah | 12/30/2013

    " A well blinding among between an astute logic, theory and motivation with neuroscience. Brilliant quotes overload! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 12/5/2013

    " Love books about the brain. This had some interesting research and wasn't too dense -- good for the layman. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 11/20/2013

    " The last few chapters were a bit redundant but overall a really interesting book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam | 6/16/2013

    " Too much neuroscience jargon. I appreciated being told what anatomically was going on, but I just skimmed over those parts. It is more the psychological parts that I found fascinating rather than the neurological reasons for it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jess Smoll | 4/10/2013

    " Should be read back to back with Bright-Sided. Also, as I myself am one of the minority-- a realist with depression-- I would have been very interested in hearing more about the lack of optimism and everything about that. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Taylor Beattie | 10/20/2012

    " The best book I've read in a long time! I would recommend this to anyone, so interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeff Vankooten | 8/4/2012

    " A book of research findings on why we are wired to be optimistic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peggy | 3/1/2012

    " The beginning of this book was really interesting, and although it did not take me long to read it, I felt that towards the end it got bogged down with technical information. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 2/20/2012

    " My rosy bubble is broken and I don't care. I enjoyed the balance between neuroscience, neuropsychology and personal anecdotes. I feel better now believing that while I am fooling myself thinking every year with be the year the Red Sox win the World Series, I am fooling myself with purpose. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jetta | 11/23/2011

    " Fascinating and got me thinking about how hope fits into it. Is hope part of the "optimism bias"? If so is it hardwired into our brains? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim Razinha | 6/25/2011

    " Interesting book; the conclusions make sense to me. "

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About the Author
Tali Sharot is the author of The Optimism Bias and an Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience. She is the founder and director of the Affective Brain Lab at University College London. Her papers on decision making, emotion, and influence have been published in Nature, Science, Nature Neuroscience, Psychological Science, and many others. She has been featured in numerous outlets and written for The New York Times, Time Magazine, Washington Post, CNN, BBC, and more.
About the Narrator

Susan Denaker is an actress and Earphones Award–winning narrator. Her extensive theater credits include numerous plays in the West End of London, national tours, many English rep companies, including a season with Alan Ayckbourn’s company in Scarborough. In the US, she has appeared in Our Town and Sweet Bird of Youth at the La Jolla Playhouse and Breaking Legs at the Westport Playhouse.