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Wired for Survival: The Rational (and Irrational) Choices We Make, from the Gas Pump to Terrorism

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Wired for Survival: The Rational (and Irrational) Choices We Make, from the Gas Pump to Terrorism


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The must-read book for this election year: the new brain science of change and economic prosperity!

  • Remapping our brains to thrive in the new global economy: lessons from cutting-edge neuroeconomics.
  • Leverages the biology of human decision-making to illuminate today's toughest global challenges, from the rise of China to the threats of terrorism and worldwide pandemic.
  • First kill all the policy wonks: why you'll make better decisions by thinking for yourself, and how to do it!
  • Description

    • Copyright 2009
    • Dimensions: 6" x 9"
    • Edition: 1st
    • Book
    • ISBN-10: 0-13-242028-7
    • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-242028-0

    Lessons from the Cutting-Edge of Neuroscience: “Remapping” to Thrive in the New Global Economy!

    “Do you ever wonder how you think? If you do, this book will fascinate and inform you. If you don’t, you will after reading this book. Either way, you’ll enjoy learning how we don’t usually do it as we think we do, how we may do it better for that very reason, and how we may do it still better once we understand.”

    —Thomas C. Schelling, 2005 Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus, University of Maryland

    Drawing on cutting-edge research in the neurosciences, Wired for Survival illuminates the surprising security implications of rapid change in the emerging economies and develops practical, technically sound ways to face the challenges of global change.

    Researcher and consultant Margaret M. Polski begins by uncovering the remarkable neurobiological underpinnings of policy. Polski reveals why the most effective political and economic policies are codified not in law, treaty, or culture, but in the networks embedded in our bodies and brains...and how protecting our prosperity requires us to adapt those networks to radically new realities.

    Next, Polski applies these fresh insights to three critical security issues: how best to defend our national interests; to take offensive action to protect our interests; and to strengthen our financial system. Finally, she provides “rules for the road” that can be applied to a world of problems: how best to compete in global markets; to build stronger, more secure communities; to manage energy and other key resources; to invest in and secure critical infrastructure; to address the structural impacts of trade; and to manage tomorrow’s catastrophes, both natural and man-made.

    As a political economist, executive, government advisor, and consultant, Polski has spent more than two decades devising strategies for surviving change in the global political economy. Now, drawing on the breakthrough research in social neuroscience, she offers insights that will help you thrive, not just survive!

    “First, kill all the pundits and policy wonks...”
    Why you’ll make better decisions by thinking for yourself–and how to do it

    Thinking in the wild

    Uncovering the intuitive interactions between our minds, bodies, and 21st century environment

    Overcoming our biases, our histories, and our vulnerability to groupthink
    Mastering the deep motivations that traditional economics doesn’t understand

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    Wired for Survival: The Rational (and Irrational) Choices We Make, from the Gas Pump to Terrorism

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    Table of Contents

    Foreword xiii

    Introduction 1

    Chapter 1: Under the Twinkle of a Fading Star 7

        Life Is Very Long 17

        We Grope Together 20

        Headpieces Filled with Straw 24

        Here We Go Round the Prickly Pear 27

    Chapter 2: Bits and Pieces 31

        Brains and Russian Dolls 32

        Mission Control 37

        The Brain and Survival 42

        Beyond Bits and Pieces 47

    Chapter 3: Mind Matter 49

        Thinking About Thinking and Choosing 51

        The Mind-Body Problem Redux 58

    Chapter 4: Thinking in the Wild 63

        An Alternative Framework: Intuitive Choice 65

        Moving On 76

    Chapter 5: Feeling Our Way 79

        Learning Machines 82

        Knowledge Production 85

        Reasoning 87

        Flying Circus on Steroids 91

    Chapter 6: Mind to Mind 95

        Motivating 99

        Mind Reading 100

        Changing Minds 107

    Chapter 7: Brightening the Twinkle of Our Fading Star 111

        Rethinking Difficult Questions 114

        How Shall We Govern Ourselves in the Years Ahead? 126

    References 131

    Endnotes 143

    Index 149

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