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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (Sept. 6 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307461645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307461643
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #64,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Simon Inc on May 9 2011
Format: Hardcover
My review is for the audio book version. I found this book to be engaging as well as interesting. One reviewer had noted the similarities between Malcolm Gladwell books and this one.

I do agree that both author's works are captivating and explore brain science and social memes in an entertaining manner; spiced with insight, fun facts and candid stories.

I'm not sure how useful this book is, but it is a great read or listen to, in this case. This book tells of our brain's evolution and how we have become hardwired to certain decision making patterns based on psychological heuristics. After reading this book you may not be able to alter your brain's hard wiring but you will be able to (better) identify why you feel a certain way or make a decision. You'll have a better understanding of the route your mind takes to analyze choices, right or wrong.

Buy this book if you:

a) Want a good, light, non-fiction read about your brain.
b) Want to be entertained and learn something about the mechanics behind your decision making process.

This book might not be for you if you are expert in the field of cognitive brain science and seek a serious, 'just the facts' style research report.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 20 reviews
113 of 122 people found the following review helpful
Covers famiiliar ground....less well than others Oct. 10 2010
By worddancer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are a number of books out that discuss our cognitive blind spots, and the heuristics that we (apparently) use--sometimes at our peril--to make decisions.

This one is the least nuanced, most bluntly reductionist, most under-argued, and least successful of the ones I have read. I'd recommend THE ART OF CHOOSING, THE INVISIBLE GORILLA, THE HIDDEN BRAIN, PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL, or MISTAKES WERE MADE (BUT NOT BY ME) as much better explained, more carefully argued, and better written.
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Really interesting read. I just couldn't put it down. Sept. 18 2010
By Peter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book. The author transforms complex psychology studies into some very interesting ideas about decision making and human nature. I'm not the academic type that reads recent psychology studies, and this book does a great job of taking all of the statistics, testing and other tedium out, leaving just the interesting discoveries about the human mind.

We're all vaguely familiar with concepts like procrastination, stubbornness, irrationality, hasty decision-making, etc. This book brings a lot of clarity to those thinking patterns and describes their origins and their consequences in a very eloquent way. I came across several thinking patterns that I had been doing unknowingly for years, which was really interesting at a personal level.

I found the book interesting, informative and very helpful from a practical, decision-making standpoint. I've got a better grasp on how the human mind (including my own) works.

It's a great book; I'd recommend it highly.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Breaking New Ground - No, Very Good Book - Yes Nov. 23 2010
By James East - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Though much of the book does not break new ground on our basic cognitive blind spots, it is nevertheless a very good book. The author does provide more than a few unique insights in different ways on the subject then other authors to date that more than makes for the lack of breaking new ground. If you have not been introduced to some of our hardwired tendencies previously, then this book is as good as any place to start and worthy of the purchase. I enjoyed the author's writing style for this genre and it was an enjoyable read.

If you are interested in this genre of cognitive psychology, then a few of may other favorites on the subject include:

Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition by Michael J. Mauboussin
The Little Book of Behavioral Investing: How not to be your own worst enemy by James Montier
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life by Thomas Gilovich
Mean Markets and Lizard Brains: How to Profit from the New Science of Irrationality by Terry Burnham
The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making (McGraw-Hill Series in Social Psychology) by Scott Plous
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
'On Second Thought' March 26 2011
By Joshua Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Wray Herbert's engaging On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits has three main messages:

1. Evolved Brains: Our minds (which drive our thoughts, actions, and reactions), are evolved organs, constructed by adaptation over long periods of time to our environments.

2. Brain / Modern-Environment Mismatch: Unfortunately, our brains evolved in very different environments in which we now find ourselves. This leads to our reactions, biases, and thoughts to be too often mismatched and maladapted to circumstances in a 21st century world.

3. Choice with Knowledge: However, if we understand where our immediate reactions and thoughts come from, we can overcome irrational action and make choices that benefit our long-term goals.

Herbert is a journalist, reporting on the academic work of behavioral economists and experimental psychologists. The strength of On Second Thought is the breadth in which psychological and behavioral theory and experimental results are examined. If you are interested in the academic literature on the limits of rational behavior (as I am), then On Second Thought is both an excellent primer and synthesizer.

Dan Ariely covers much of the same ground in Predictably Irrational and the The Upside of Irrationality, but did so in a much more nuanced, intimate, curious and personal manner. On Second Thought would have been a better book if Herbert had some questions he wanted to answer, or things he wanted to figure out about himself, and was able to weave the research on decision making into a more compelling narrative.

Despite these quibbles, On Second Thought is a worthy addition to our "dumb us" and "getting our minds around our brains" bookshelves.

What are you reading?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
To Decide Or Not to Decide... Jan. 29 2011
By william delaney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Wray Herbert's book On Second Thought, is one of those books that deserves a second reading,or at least one of those epistles you want to keep on a bookshelf for an occasional chapter review. The book is broken down into 20 chapters, each one exploring the various heuristics, those intuitive blind faith reasonings, that often determine our views and actions without our even realizing it. The trick, as Herbert explains, is knowing when to go with that gut feeling or seemingly thoughtless action/reaction and when to apply the brakes and let reason guide the way. This is a fascinating book, and one that I will keep handy for further reading.

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