Monday, May 17, 2010


The human brain is a haphazard kluge that often does things that do not now appear to be in its best interest. The rational brain can be subverted through framing, short term appeals, or even momentary blips. This book provides evolutionary explanations for some of this behavior, along with plenty of examples of the kluges in action.

I found the book interesting at first, but the later chapters became more difficult to slog through. The book seemed to lose focus, and simply repeat the same generalities from a different view. The author's spurious attacks on creationism became tedious and distracting. (The typical attack: "the human mind is not perfect, therefore there could not have been a creator." Hmmm. does that I could not have possibly created some software because it has bugs? Well, looking at some code, maybe it did just randomly evolve.)

At the end, the book transforms itself in to a "self-help" book, summarizing the book by presenting 13 methods for "coping" with the brain kluges. (Well, at least the major ones. There isn't a section on popping pills to cope with psychosis.) The book would almost work better backwards. Read the coping methods, then scan the earlier part fro some of the good anecdotes, skipping over some of the 'kulgey' writing.

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