Archives de catégorie : Anthropology/Sociology

FOOLED de Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simmons

From Wall Street Ponzi schemes to Nigerian email scams, from chess cheaters with hidden computers to Bridge cheaters with covert signals, from psychic mediums preying on credulous audiences to scientific fraudsters making up results their colleagues want to hear, from art forgers to deceptive marketers, our world is filled with people who want to fool us..

How Cheating Works and What You Can Do About It
by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simmons
‎ Basic Books, June 2023
(via Levine Greenberg Rostan)

FOOLED is a book about why we fall for the schemes of liars, deceivers, marketers, con artists, and anyone else who tries to trick us into believing or doing something in their interest rather than our own. It identifies ten specific reasons why we are easily deceived, drawing upon classic and current research in cognitive psychology and the social sciences to explain exactly how deception works, why all of us are fooled at least some of the time, and how we can avoid being scammed—or even scam the scammers in return. FOOLED is not a book about why people cheat, but about how they manage to get away with it.
Chris and Dan’s first book,
The Invisible Gorilla, was about how the brain’s limited capacities for attention, memory, and understanding make us miss so much in everyday life. It was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and bestseller published in over twenty languages.

Daniel Simons is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and the University of Illinois. Previously he was an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He received his B.A. from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Cornell University. He is one of the leading researchers in the world studying visual cognition and visual awareness, and he has made pioneering discoveries about the limitations of human perception, memory, and awareness.
Christopher Chabris is a Professor at Geisinger, an integrated healthcare system in Pennsylvania, where he is also co-director of the Behavioral and Decision Sciences Program and faculty co-director of the Behavioral Insights Team. Chris received his A.B. in computer science and his Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University, where he was also a Lecturer and Research Associate for many years. His research, published in leading journals, focuses on several areas: attention, intelligence, behavior genetics, and decision-making.


Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience, behavioral economic, and social psychology research, acclaimed author, former Harvard professor, and think tank founder Todd Rose reveals how so much of our thinking about each other is informed by false assumptions that drive bad decisions that make us dangerously mistrustful as a society and hopelessly unhappy as individuals.

Conformity, Complicity, and the Science of Why We Make Bad Decisions
by Todd Rose
Hachette Go, February 2022
(via Javelin)

The desire to fit in is one of the most powerful, least understood forces in a society. Todd Rose believes that as human beings we continually act against our own best interests out of our brains’ misunderstanding of what we think others believe.  A complicated set of illusions driven by conformity bias distorts how we see the world around us. From toilet paper shortages to kidneys that get thrown away rather than used for desperately needed organ transplants, from racial segregation to the perceived “electability” of women for political office, from bottled water to “cancel culture,” we routinely copy others, lie about what we believe, cling to tribes, and silence others. We are so profoundly social that when we are incongruent with the group that we do lasting damage to our self-worth, diminish our well-being and never realize our full potential. It’s why we all too often chase the familiar trappings of money, fame, and success that leave us feeling empty even when we do achieve them. It’s why we’ll blindly espouse a viewpoint we don’t necessarily believe in so that we blend in with the group. We trap ourselves in prisons of our own making that prevent us from living the happy, fulfilled lives we envision. The question is, Why do we keep believing the lies and hurting ourselves? Todd Rose reveals the answer is deeply hard-wired in our DNA, with brains that are more socially dependent than we realize or dare to accept. Most of us would rather be fully in sync with the social norms of our respective groups than true to who we are.
Using originally researched data, COLLECTIVE ILLUSIONS shows us where we get things wrong and just as important, how we can be authentic in forming our opinions while valuing truth. Rose offers a counterintuitive, empowering, and hopeful explanation for how we can bridge the inference gap, make decisions with a newfound clarity, and achieve fulfillment.
Only then can we transform ourselves, and ultimately, society.

Social scientist Dr. Todd Rose is the co-founder of Populace, a think tank dedicated to building a world where all people have the chance to live fulfilling lives in a thriving society. He is also a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he founded the Laboratory for the Science of Individuality and previously directed the Mind, Brain, and Education program. He is the author of Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment and The End of Average: Unlocking Our Potential by Embracing What Makes Us Different.


In a sweeping intellectual narrative, award-winning neuroscientist and author Erik Hoel argues there are two fundamental perspectives on reality: the intrinsic and the extrinsic. The intrinsic perspective is that of consciousness and experience, the feelings and sensations that make up your waking world. The extrinsic perspective is that of science, which views the universe as a set of mechanisms and relations.

by Erik Hoel
Avid Reader, Spring 2023
(via Writers House)

The two perspectives have had an uneasy, sometimes troubled relationship. Throughout history some cultures have emphasized one perspective more than the other, which has radically changed how humans think about and conceptualize our own selves. Technologies and media often implicitly enforce one perspective: for instance, television and movies take the extrinsic perspective, exploring the world of relations and images, while literature and novels take the intrinsic perspective, exploring the world of consciousness.
Hoel offers a whirlwind tour of the two perspectives across the ages, like how the intrinsic perspective is absent from Homeric epics and earlier eras, its historical development and ultimate culmination in the invention of the novel, the separation of the two perspectives by Galileo Galilei when he recommended science remove the observer to focus solely on the extrinsic, and the reintroduction of the intrinsic perspective to science by Francis Crick, the discoverer of DNA, who proposed a search for the neural correlates of consciousness that continues to this day.
Hoel shows how our picture of reality is incomplete following Galileo’s separation and emphasis on the extrinsic. The ignored intrinsic perspective sheds light on fundamental scientific questions like causation, emergence, how the brain functions, the biological purpose of dreaming, artificial intelligence, and even why humans create art. He reveals how our own culture is becoming more based in the extrinsic perspective over time, neglecting the intrinsic and forgetting the importance of human consciousness, all to its cultural, scientific, and artistic detriment.
Ultimately, the two perspectives have stood apart for too long and must be reunited. To this end Hoel proposes a way to merge the intrinsic and the extrinsic in a radical new theory of consciousness.

Erik Hoel received his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Madison-Wisconsin. He is a research assistant professor at Tufts University and was previously a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University in the NeuroTechnology Lab, and a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Hoel is a 2018 Forbes “30 under 30” for his neuroscientific research on consciousness. His first novel, The Revelations, was published in April 2021 by The Overlook Press. He lives in Massachusetts.

THE URGE de Carl Erik Fisher

An authoritative, illuminating, and deeply humane history of addiction—a phenomenon that remains baffling and deeply misunderstood despite having touched countless lives—by an addiction psychiatrist striving to understand his own family and himself.

THE URGE: Our History of Addiction
by Carl Erik Fisher
Penguin Press, January 2022
(via The Gernert Company)

Even after a decades-long opioid overdose crisis, intense controversy still rages over the fundamental nature of addiction and the best way to treat it. With uncommon empathy and erudition, Carl Erik Fisher draws on his own experience as a clinician, researcher, and alcoholic in recovery as he traces the history of a phenomenon that, centuries on, we hardly appear closer to understanding—let alone addressing effectively.
As a psychiatrist-in-training fresh from medical school, Fisher was soon face-to-face with his own addiction crisis, one that nearly cost him everything. Desperate to make sense of the condition that had plagued his family for generations, he turned to the history of addiction, learning that the current quagmire is only the latest iteration of a centuries-old story: humans have struggled to define, treat, and control addictive behavior for most of recorded history, including well before the advent of modern science and medicine.
A rich, sweeping history that probes not only medicine and science but also literature, religion, philosophy, and sociology, THE URGE illuminates the extent to which the story of addiction has persistently reflected broader questions of what it means to be human and care for one another. Fisher introduces us to the people who have endeavored to address this complex condition through the ages: physicians and politicians, activists and artists, researchers and writers, and of course the legions of people who have struggled with their own addictions. He also examines the treatments and strategies that have produced hope and relief for many people with addiction, himself included. Only by reckoning with our history of addiction, he argues—our successes and our failures—can we light the way forward for those whose lives remain threatened by its hold.
THE URGE is at once an eye-opening history of ideas, a riveting personal story of addiction and recovery, and a clinician’s urgent call for a more expansive, nuanced, and compassionate view of one of society’s most intractable challenges.

Carl Erik Fisher is an addiction physician and bioethicist. He is an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, where he works in the Division of Law, Ethics, and Psychiatry. He also maintains a private psychiatry practice focusing on complementary and integrative approaches to treating addiction. His writing has appeared in Nautilus, Slate, and Scientific American MIND, among other outlets. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his partner and son.

WOKE RACISM de John McWhorter

Acclaimed linguist, New York Times bestseller and award-winning writer John McWhorter argues that an illiberal neoracism, disguised as antiracism, is hurting Black communities and weakening the American social fabric, and offers a roadmap to justice that actually will help, not hurt, Black America.

by John McWhorter
Portfolio, October 2021
(Writers House)

Americans of good will on both the left and the right are secretly asking themselves the same question: how has the conversation on race in America gone so crazy? We’re told to read books and listen to music by people of color but that wearing certain clothes is “appropriation.” We hear that being white automatically gives you privilege and that being Black makes you a victim. We want to speak up but fear we’ll be seen as unwoke, or worse, labeled a racist. According to John McWhorter, the problem is that a well-meaning but pernicious form of antiracism has become, not a progressive ideology, but a religion—and one that’s illogical, unreachable, and unintentionally neoracist.
In WOKE RACISM, McWhorter reveals the workings of this new religion, from the original sin of “white privilege” and the weaponization of cancel culture to ban heretics, to the evangelical fervor of the “woke mob.” He shows how this religion that claims to “dismantle racist structures” is actually harming his fellow Black Americans by infantilizing Black people, setting Black students up for failure, and passing policies that disproportionately damage Black communities. The new religion might be called “antiracism,” but it features a racial essentialism that’s barely distinguishable from racist arguments of the past.

John McWorther was recently on Real Time with Bill Maher and eloquently describes his point of view:

John H. McWhorter teaches linguistics, American studies, and music history at Columbia University. He is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and host of Slate’s Lexicon Valley podcast. McWhorter is the author of twenty books, including The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English.