Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things

Author:   Laurence Gonzales (Sante Fe Institute)
Publisher:   WW Norton & Co
ISBN:  

9780393058383


Pages:   288
Publication Date:   17 October 2008
Format:   Hardback
Availability:   Out of stock   Availability explained


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Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things


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Overview

The author of the life-changing bestseller Deep Survival once again brings us revelations about ourselves from the cutting edge of science. Laurence Gonzales shows how modern society has made us lazy and susceptible to previously unknown threats. Curiosity, awareness, attention, he writes. Those are the tools of our everyday survival...we all must be scientists at heart or be victims of forces that we don't understand. Gonzales turns his talent for gripping narrative, knowledge of the way our minds and bodies work, and bottomless curiosity about the world to the topic of how we can best use the lessons of our evolutionary history to overcome the hazards of everyday life. He finds that natural laws profoundly affect our actions, and he reveals the hidden causes and costs of our behavior, whether as individuals or as a species whose decisions may be leading to darker times. Whether you are climbing a mountain or the corporate ladder, Everyday Survival will change the way you view your choices in our complex, dangerous, and quickly changing world. 6 illustrations

Full Product Details

Author:   Laurence Gonzales (Sante Fe Institute)
Publisher:   WW Norton & Co
Imprint:   WW Norton & Co
Dimensions:   Width: 16.50cm , Height: 2.50cm , Length: 24.40cm
Weight:   0.552kg
ISBN:  

9780393058383


ISBN 10:   0393058387
Pages:   288
Publication Date:   17 October 2008
Audience:   General/trade ,  General
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Inactive
Availability:   Out of stock   Availability explained

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Reviews

...[a] lively attempt to isolate the common factors that cause some people to survive and others to die. Independent on Sunday Buy it so you know what to do if you happen to fall off a mountain. Anthony Sattin, The Sunday Times


A painter sips turpentine instead of coffee; a pilot lands atop another plane; a climber misses a loop on the rope. Such dumb things happen to people all the time - in part, writes Gonzales (Deep Survival, 2003, etc.), because we're programmed for them.Humans memorize behavioral scripts that chart courses for repeated, nearly automatic actions: When someone throws something at you, you duck; when your shoe is untied, you tie it. When a script is more complex - getting a plane up in the air, for instance - any variation in it can cause trouble, as when a pilot leaves out a step on the checklist because of distraction. Much of Gonzales's continuing exploration of the realm of disasters and surviving them is a catalog of missteps, bad decisions and scripting errors. The climber in question stopped to tie her shoes, invoking a script very similar to the one used in tying a rope, which she was midway through - she nearly died in the bargain. There's not much that can be done about these sorts of mistakes, however, since the our genetic hard wiring comes plays such a big role. Gonzales's narrative is a touch disjointed, perhaps because the science is uncertain and because he veers away to touch on other intriguing, but tangential, aspects of the strange makeup of humans. Yes, we're apes with killing technology, given to killing our own children by sending them to war at this glorious stage of our evolution, but that doesn't have much to do with the point at hand, since we're not confusing that act with sending the kids off to college or summer camp. Set aside the requirement for coherent development, though, and Gonzales's piece has plenty of interesting vignettes, such as his discussion of why some people survived the 2004 Christmas tsunami and others did not.A plea for heightened awareness of our surroundings, and good reading for the how-things-work set. (Kirkus Reviews)


Author Information

Laurence Gonzales is the author of Surviving Survival, Flight 232 and the bestseller Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why. He has won two National Magazine Awards and is a scholar at the Sante Fe Institute. He divides his time between Evanston, Illinois, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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