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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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  • Copyright 2009
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Adobe DRM)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-505873-2
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-505873-2

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

Sample Content

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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