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.
©2016 The Great Courses (P)2016 The Teaching Company, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Steve Parke on 15-12-16


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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13 of 15 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 27-01-17

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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16 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Marc on 14-02-17

20 times longer than necessary

What would have made Outsmart Yourself: Brain-Based Strategies to a Better You better?

This is insanely trivial. A few examples of "how to outsmart your brain":
If you are afraid of fyling on a plane: RELAX (yes, that is the trick!).
If you want to learn new skills: Practice (who would have thought that!)
If you are stuck on a problem: Do something else (seriously - people pay money for this kind of research results?)

But wait, it gets better:
If you feel depressed - just consider yourself to be a scientist who does a scientific research AND TAKE DRUGS (honestly, that's the tip! He's talking about Aspirin there - just take it to "brighten up your mood", like ... every day)

But wait - it STILL GETS BETTER:
If you feel stage fright - DRINK ALCOHOL!

I kid you not. "Researches have shown that a drink or two releaxes you". You have to read that one again to believe it.

That was about the moment when I stopped listening. I am just not interested in what "Tricks" this "professor" might have up his sleeves after those two.
The "researches" reported in this course are about a century old, it seems as if "psychology" is not a science, but draining money from people with every-day trivia. Now, I do not believe this, but this course definitely makes you think "why am I financing public universities to undertake researches that lead to the conclusion that smiling makes you feel happy" (another example from this "outsmart the reader to buy this nonsense".

Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

If I need a reason to cancel my Audible membership: Yes, immediately. Otherwise - am I completely insane?

What does Professor Peter M. Vishton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mr. Visthon repeats the same information over and over and over and over again.
Then he repeats is a couple of times, in case someone wasn't capable of following.

An example (not word by word, just to give an expression)
"Now, in order to relax, look for a place that is calm enough to allow you to sit down for a few minutes. Then sit down for a few minutes. Take a seat in order to relax in a calm place. Take care that you can relax in that place that you take a seat in, then sit down and relax. Breath out. Relax. haaaahhh... now, breath in again. Relax. You are in a calm place and want to relax, in order to do so, breath calmly. In ... hmmm .... and out .... relax. Feel how your body relaxes and you're getting all calm.
If you want to practice relaxation, look for a calm place where you can sit down. Then take a few minutes ..."

You get the picture. Every single chapter I have listened to (around half an hour each) could be shortened to max. 1 minute - that is in no way exaggeration, you do not need more than 60 seconds to give ALL the information contained in the respective chapter.
In the chapters I listened to, FRMI was explained IN DETAIL at least four times. Starting from zero every single time.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

The tips to experiment with drugs, drink alcohol or wait for beta blockers to become daily praxis in treating fear (!!) plus the obvious lack of ANY serious, more recent research results (e.g. about sleep) actually made me angry. That does not happen that often when listening to (obviously) comedy.

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151 of 159 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Kindle Customer on 19-12-16

Great scientific self help information!

This course is awesome, no fluff just real strategies that can improve your life! love the section about imagery and how to use it , and the science to back up how effective it truly is. Also information about scientific information on how to influence others was fantastic!. Wow, is how I describe this course!

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16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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