Outsmart Yourself: Brain-Based Strategies to a Better You : The Great Courses: Better Living

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Peter M. Vishton Ph.D. Cornell University
  • Series: The Great Courses: Better Living
  • 12 hrs and 29 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

The brain is an astounding organ, and today neuroscientists have more insights than ever about how it works - as well as strategies for helping us live better every day. These 24 practical lectures give you a wealth of useful strategies for improving your well-being. By presenting evidence-based "hacks" for your brain, Professor Vishton empowers you to take charge of your life and perform better all around.
Want to curb a few bad habits? Try making a notebook entry every time you perform the habit. Have a big project and feel the urge to procrastinate? Do nothing for 20 minutes and you'll feel ready to get to work. Come down with a case of the blues? Eat some fermented foods such as yogurt or sourdough bread.
From the myth of multitasking to the mechanisms behind falling in love, Professor Vishton shows you what is happening inside your brain to examine why we behave the way we do. What you'll discover is that the subconscious guides much of our behavior, leading to a kind of autopilot when it comes to making important decisions. Whether we're distracted by too many tasks, being influenced by crafty marketers, or simply living in a rut of bad habits, our conscious brains aren't always guiding us toward the best actions.
Using evidence from classic psychological studies such as John Watson's behaviorism experiments or Stanley Milgram's obedience studies, as well as the latest in scientific brain research, Professor Vishton gives you insights into how the mind operates, why our subconscious is so often in control, and what we can do change our behaviors.
You'll learn how the imagination can be as powerful as physical practice, explore the subtle art of persuasion, unpack the keys to healthy living, delve into the psychology of anger and fear, and much more. When you complete this course, you will have an abundant list of practical, everyday ways to strengthen your creativity, improve your problem-solving, enhance your health, and more.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


There are many words that could be used for this book but I thing the one above sums it up best. Just wonderful to read and many tips to out smart your brain and how to make it work for you and why we do what you do. If you only get one great courses book this would be the one. Will be putting this one back on again
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- Steve Parke

A light scientific/pseudoscientific read/listen

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The topics are well chosen and narration is pleasant and somewhat compelling. However, on several occasions the interpretations of research findings have been taken too far. For example, the author suggests that since inflammation has been observed in association with depression, treating inflammation with an anti-inflammatory drug may treat depression. This is a too common trap of taking association for causality. The experiment that recommends with aspirin is simply flawed and potentially dangerous. The fact that aspirin is an OTC drug does not mean that it is safe to use under any circumstance, as implied by the author. Elsewhere, he mentions that he does not recommend experimenting with propranolol (for the treatment of stress) because it's a prescription drug. He's presentation and interpretation of the famous 10000 hours work to achieve mastery is also incomplete and misleading - a host of other authors have turned this study on chess players into one of the most misinterpreted pieces of research! To keep the long story short, when it comes to presenting any piece of date, it is crucial to present the variability around the point estimate. In this case, the time to achieve mastery in chess ranges between 3000 to 16000 hours; quite wide!! When you are presented with 10000 hours without knowing the variability around this figure, a lot of individual differences get lost!

Do you think Outsmart Yourself: Brain-Based Strategies to a Better You needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes it does. I quite like the choice of topics that are very relevant to day to day life. I'd like to see a more robust presentation and interpretation of the information though. The fact that the book has been written with the lay person in mind must not detract from the scientific rigor in interpretation and presentation. The information could otherwise be misleading or incomplete.

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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-11-2016
  • Publisher: The Great Courses