What Was I Thinking?
The 1990s were presidentially proclaimed the decade of the brain. Owing in large part to the work on the neuroscience and clinical applications from that initiative, we are now on the verge of breakthroughs in learning how the subconscious mind affects the decisions we’re continually making.
For instance, your unconscious mind has already made the decision whether to buy this book, but you probably don’t know that yet. First you got a feeling, an intuitive nudge supplied from the unconscious mind. Next, the conscious mind defends or disagrees with that emotion. Your final decision may not be as completely straightforward as you would like to believe.
I’m sure this introduction to the world of your mind, as a product of, yet distinct from, your brain, has a few surprises in store for you. Whether you think of yourself as more of a rational person or someone who tends to go more with your feelings and intuition, you’ll find these two ways of thinking intertwined in a rich fabric made for your enjoyment.
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Gates divides our decision-making processes into two systems: System 1 is intuitive, unconscious, fast acting and effortless. System 2 is rational, conscious, deliberate, slower than System 1, and susceptible to fatigue. While many people think that their decisions are based on the discursive, rational System 2, in fact the intuitive System 1 is often in control – and in ways that are elusive.
Gates explores not only the particular heuristics that tend to fool us but also why it is so hard to change them.
Full of anecdotes and snippets from revealing psychological experiments, Gates’s work is no dry philosophical tome. It is written in a popular style and will be accessible to a wide audience. Readers of Malcolm Gladwell’s work, especially his popular book Blink, are likely to find Gates’s work a breezy, thought-provoking read.
This accessible book is for those who are intrigued by the human mind and want to know why they, and others, do what they do.
What Was I Thinking? The Subconscious in Decision-Making by Chris Gates brings the insight and mystery of brain science and psychology to the masses.
While decision making is a skill that people can develop and articulate over time, most people experience mystifying moments when they ask the question in the title. Gates tackles the mystery with facts, compiling research that explores how people make decisions, why the mind prioritizes the inputs it does, and to what extent the mind adapts to new information.
This book will appeal to other first-person researchers who are intrigued by the human mind and want to know why they, and others, do what they do. Anyone fascinated by the innovations in brain science and understanding will find Gates’s devotion to detail compelling.
The back matter is uncommonly useful. The glossary presents in-depth, thoroughly explained definitions for people new to the material. The appendixes offer interesting, almost brainteaser-like studies of the mind.
What Was I Thinking? asks and explores the answer to the question that haunts ordinary thinkers.
A thoroughly researched, pop-culture–laden exploration of how people make choices.
A surprisingly poignant, intellectually rigorous study of how our thought processes shape our lives.