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Re: [bookclub-792] Books

From: Ruchira
Sent on: Monday, November 9, 2009 3:24 PM

On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 12:23 AM, Ruchira <[address removed]> wrote:
Hi all,

I got started reading _Predictably Irrational_, it looks really interesting. ?

I've read through to the end of the appendix to Chapter 3, and I'm puzzled. ?Assuming a logarithmic utility of wealth is not at all unconventional in economics (more generally, utility functions are assumed to be concave). ?As far as I understand, it does not fall within the purview of what an orthodox economist (as opposed to a behavioral one like Ariely) would call irrational. ?But with logarithmic utility of wealth, FREE does have a special place, as the log of zero is negative infinity.

Here are some other books that I had mentioned today or last time:

_The Symbolic Species_ by Deacon--good to read after _Mothers and Others_ (or before, as I did). ?About the uniqueness of symbolic language to humans and its coevolution with infant brains. ?Deacon is a biological anthropologist at Berkeley.

_Rationality for Mortals_ by Gigerenzer--might be good to read after _Predictably Irrational (I haven't read this one). ?About how what seems irrational may not be, when looking at the bigger picture of humans in their evolutionary context. ?Gigerenzer is a psychologist.

_Phantoms in the Brain_ by Ramachandran and Blakeslee--about people's integration of their bodies (and extensions thereof) with their brains. ?I've read this one, as I think some others have as well. ? It's quite good, and has been suggested for this reading group several times. ?Ramachandran is a neuroscientist.

Ant?nio Dam?sio: I read and was stimulated by his first book, _Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain_--relating to the question of motivation that Scott and Dana are interested in. ?However, this may not be the best book of his to read. ?A speaker at a technical talk I went to a few years ago said the somatic marker hypothesis had been falsified, although when I looked it up later it seemed that what had been falsified was an interpretation that was not what I had thought Dam?sio meant, when I read his book. ?Anyway, Dam?sio's later books might reflect the subsequent development of his thinking. ?Dam?sio is a neuroscientist.

_The Body Has A Mind Of Its Own_ by Blakeslee--similar to _Phantoms in the Brain_, but is less of a scientific memoir and more of a popular exposition (and also includes newer material, having come out nine years later). I'm currently reading this. ?Blakeslee is a science writer.


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