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Elastic

Elastic by Leonard Mlodinow
Hardcover
Mar 20, 2018 | 272 Pages
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    Mar 20, 2018 | 272 Pages

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    Mar 20, 2018 | 272 Pages

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Praise

“Leonard Mlodinow will make you smarter.”
—Seth MacFarlane
 
“Ingenious . . . top-quality popular neuroscience.”  
—Kirkus Reviews

“Incorporating the most recent developments in psychology and neuroscience, award-winning science writer Mlodinow. . . elucidates how the human mind evolved a cognitive style he names ‘elastic thinking.’ . . . Fantastically accessible science writing. . . . Of particular interest to those wishing to understand how to cope with the pace of change in the modern world.”
—Library Journal
(starred review)
 

“Timely and engrossing. Elastic is a fascinating exploration of one of the most important topics: how the human mind deals with change. If you liked Subliminal, you’ll love Elastic.”
—Charles Duhigg, author of the best sellers The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better

“It’s easy to describe the dizzying changes in our midst—from the gushers of information that wash over us to a world grown ever more interconnected. Far harder is to offer guidance on how we should respond. In this wise and persuasive book, Leonard Mlodinow calls for a change in the very way we think. Using a deft mix of science and storytelling, he shows the limits of linear thinking and the promise of ‘bottom up’ thinking that embraces ambiguity, asks the shrewd questions, and pursues novel answers to complex problems. Elastic is a book that will help you survive the whirlwind.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of WHEN and A WHOLE NEW MIND


“A fascinating, useful look into how the brain works. Perfect for neophiliacs and everyone else who’s dealing with a changing world.”
—Seth Godin, author of Footprints on the Moon

“In a world in which advancing technologies, omnipresent social media, and fiery political landscapes can make us feel helpless and paralyzed, Mlodinow shows us how our most human traits, such as novelty seeking and free-range imagination, have uniquely prepared us to thrive in an increasingly complex and ever-changing world. Most important, in the groundbreaking book he shows us how to make the best use of our most basic human talents to find true happiness and success.”
—Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology, Harvard University, and author of the New York Times best seller Super Brain

“A book of sparkling intelligence, written with humor and grace. If you read only one book of accessible science this year, let this be the one.”
—Mark Williams, author of Mindfulness, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford

Table Of Contents

Beginnings 3
 
PART I: ABOUT LIFE AND ITS REGULATION (HOMEOSTASIS)
1 On the Human Condition 11
A Simple Idea · Feeling Versus Intellect · How Original Was the Human Cultural Mind? · Humble Beginnings · From the Life of Social Insects · Homeostasis · Foreshadowing Minds and Feelings Is Not the Same as Generating Minds and Feelings · Early Organisms and Human Cultures
 
2 In a Region of Unlikeness 33
Life · Life on the Move
 
3 Varieties of Homeostasis 44
The Distinct Varieties of Homeostasis · Homeostasis Now · The Roots of an Idea
 
4 From Single Cells to Nervous Systems and Minds 53
Ever Since Bacterial Life · Nervous Systems · The Living Body and the Mind
 
PART II: ASSEMBLING THE CULTURAL MIND
5 The Origin of Minds 71
The Momentous Transition · Minded Life · The Big Conquest · Images Require Nervous Systems · Images of the World Outside Our Organism · Images of the World Internal to Our Organism
 
6 Expanding Minds 84
The Hidden Orchestra · Image Making · Meanings, Verbal Translations, and the Making of Memories · Enriching Minds · A Note on Memory
 
7 Affect 99
What Feelings Are · Valence · Kinds of Feelings · The Emotive Response Process · Where Do Emotive Responses Come From? · Emotional Stereotypes · The Inherent Sociality of Drives, Motivations, and Conventional Emotions · Layered Feelings
 
8 The Construction of Feelings 117
Where Do Feelings Come From? · Assembling Feelings · The Continuity of Bodies and Nervous Systems · The Role of the Peripheral Nervous System · Other Peculiarities of the Body-Brain Relationship · The Neglected Role of the Gut · Where Are Feeling Experiences Located? · Feelings Explained? · An Aside on Remembrances of Feelings Past
 
9 Consciousness 143
About Consciousness · Observing Consciousness · Subjectivity: The First and Indispensable Component of Consciousness · The Second Component of Consciousness: Integrating Experiences · From Sensing to Consciousness · An Aside on the Hard Problem of Consciousness
 
PART III: THE CULTURAL MIND AT WORK
10 On Cultures 165
The Human Cultural Mind in Action · Homeostasis and the Biological Roots of Cultures · Distinctive Human Cultures · Feelings as Arbiters and Negotiators · Assessing the Merits of an Idea · From Religious Beliefs and Morality to Political Governance · The Arts, Philosophical Inquiry, and the Sciences · Contradicting an Idea · Taking Stock · A Hard Day’s Night
 
11 Medicine, Immortality, and Algorithms 194
Modern Medicine · Immortality · The Algorithmic Account of Humanity · Robots Serving Humans · Back to Mortality
 
12 On the Human Condition Now 211
An Ambiguous State of Affairs · Is There a Biology Behind the Cultural Crisis? · An Unresolved Clash
 
13 The Strange Order of Things 234
 
 
Acknowledgments 245
Notes and References 249
Index 295

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