Book Review ‘Impulse: Why we do what we do without knowing why we do it’ , Dr. David Lewis

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When you make a decision or form an opinion, you think you know why. But you’re wrong.

The truth is that most of our mental activity actually happens below the level of conscious thought. In this groundbreaking book, Dr David Lewis, director of the cutting-edge research agency Mindlab International, explores this incredible phenomenon. Delving into the mysteries of the ‘zombie brain’ that each of us possesses, he demonstrates how unconscious neurological processes underpin every aspect of our lives, from whether or not we find someone sexually attractive to how we resist (or give in to) temptation. In the process he shows how finger length is a reliable predictor of risk-taking behaviour, how seeing the logos of fast food chains can make you more impatient, and how holding a warm drink makes you find strangers more likeable.

Publisher: Random House Books, May 16, 2013

Reviewer: Natalie Moreland

Following the successes of Freakonomics and Eats, Shoots and Leaves, Dr David Lewis, a chartered psychologist brings academic research and study to the masses in this easily-digestible read.

He intersperses scientific explanations with personal anecdotes, case studies and simple tests for the reader to carry out, implanting the science of impulses in everyday life. His language is clear, concise and easy to follow, and doesn’t rely on any background knowledge on the part of the reader.

Exploring the impulses that belie our teenage years, attraction, eating and shopping habits, plus the genetic reasoning behind different peoples’ impulsive behaviour, he brings science and psychology to mainstream reading. By flirting with different popular topics such as dieting and binge-eating, plus our weekly shop at Tesco’s, we come to appreciate how impulses play a routine part in our daily existence.

This book provided an interesting break from the fiction that I usually read and, contrary to what I had expected, had me smiling throughout. It has made me reassess my own impulsiveness, and provides fascinating insights into the impulsive behaviours of children and teenagers, which I’m sure most MojoMums could appreciate!

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