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"Your Brain: The Missing Manual"

pics0807yourbrainmissing"Your Brain: The Missing Manual"
Author: Matthew MacDonald
Publisher: Pogue Press/O’Reilly
261 pages … $24.99
ISBN-13: 978-0-596-51778-6
How to get the most from your mind

There are a number of reasons why I can recommend this book.

Matthew MacDonald displays a great sense of humor in Your Brain: The Missing Manual.

He covers a subject as complex as the human brain in simple easy to understand language and does it in about a third the number of pages needed to cover a much simpler computer operating system.

He includes summaries of the information that can help you to use this understanding for your own brain maintenance.

I believe some of the most useful information that he provides has to do with how the brain and our own expectations can fool us into an unshakable belief in something that is absolutely untrue.

At this point in my initial review I was wrong when I wrote "I also believe that his own brain fooled him into including a probability example from a 1990 Parade magazine article." I had read about this before and the author repeated what I had read - that hundreds of math professors wrote in with faulty logic to “correct” the solution that was given in the Parade article. At least I was not alone in being wrong.

A person is to pick the one of three doors that leads to the prize. After he picks the door, the host then eliminates one of the remaining doors that does not contain the prize. What I missed and what Mathhew MacDonald clearly showed in his diagram was that there was just one chance in 3 that the first pick would lead to the prize. There was a two thirds chance that the prize was behind the other two doors. The host provided information that says which of the other two doors it would have to be behind. Switching is a better choice two out of three times. I believe that having read a poorer explanation of this before and being upset by what I thought was faulty logic may have blinded me to Mr. MacDonald's correct explanation. I was only able to understand my error after reading a third report and then re-examining Mr MacDonald's diagram.

I recommend reading "Your Brain: The Missing Manual" to learn more about how our brains and others words lead us to incorrect conclusions, and about ways we might better maintain the way our brains function.

This is a five star book that I will read more than once.


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