Tuesday, October 1, 2013

[Book Review] The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn’t and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger by Daniel Gardner

 Rating: 4/5
 Learning Level: 4/5
 Genre: Non-Fiction, Science, Psychology
Book Review:

  We all know what ‘Fear’ is. We know when we feel it. But, do we know why? Most of us don’t know and don’t care to know. We fear what we are not suppose to fear and we do not fear what we suppose to. So, we do thing that put us in most at risk. We choose to drive rather than take a plane because of our fear, when, in fact, a lot more people die from car accidents. We fear AIDS but we keep consuming sweet stuff, when, in fact, more people die because of diabetes. We fear nuclear radiation, but we sun-bathe ourselves not being afraid of high likelihood of skin cancer. Not knowing about our nature and our fear make us do irrational things and put ourselves at risk.
     This is a book about fear. Again, fear is not touchable and can be perceived only by feeling. But, this book breaks down fear systematically into small digestible pieces. In fact, the book is more about psychology and human nature. There are quite a few interesting anecdotes an experiments to put the theory in context and keep the reader interested. Overall, this is an interesting good book.  

     Personally, I find this book interesting (although not so fascinating that I cannot put he book down). The science is interesting, yet the language is simple. I learn quite a bit, and I enjoy reading it. The audio versions is narrated by Scott Peterson.  His voice is nice and calm. He kept me engaged throughout my reading. Good job. I would recommend this book for those who want to learn psychology science. 


  • We often overestimate or underestimate risks because of human nature like confirmation bias, group polarization, and so on. Because of this, we often make wrong decision.  To avoid making wrong decision, try to stick  with numbers rather than feeling.
  • We are not very good at numbers, and we are sensitive to stories, especially personal stories. 
  • To be a good story teller, begin with a touching personal story. Then, present generalized insight and statistics. Finally return to the personal story for closing.

    Table of Contents

    • Prologue 
    • Chapter 1: Prehistoric Refugee
    • Chapter 2: Of Two Minds
    • Chapter 3: The Death of Homo Economicus
    • Chapter 4: The Emotional Brain
    • Chapter 5: A Story about Numbers
    • Chapter 6: The Herd Senses Danger
    • Chapter 7: Fear Inc.
    • Chapter 8: All the Fear That’s Fit to Print
    • Chapter 9: Crime and Perception
    • Chapter 10: The Chemistry of Fear
    • Chapter 11: Terrified of Terrorism
    • Chapter 12: There’s Never Been a Better Time to be Alive
    Source: The Science of Fear: How the Culture of Fear Manipulates Your Brain by Daniel Gardner 
    Book or Audiobooks?

    Personally, I prefer audiobooks. It's fun, and I can listen when I'm doing something else. It also makes other activities (e.g., jogging) a lot more fun. For more detail about audiobooks, please read [this post].

    There is one more reason that may encourage you to go for the audiobook version. You can get it now for FREE. Audible offers you a free trial for 14 days. Even if you get the book and cancel the subscription right away (so that you don't have to pay), you can keep the book. And, don't worry if you lost the audiobook file. Just log into audible.com. You can keep downloading the over and over again.

       About the summary: It takes time to finish up a book. And, when you do, sometimes, you want to review what you learn from the book. If you do not make  notes as you read, you might have to go through the book once again. This can be time-consuming when you are dealing with a book. But you can still flip through the book and locate what you are looking for.

    However, when the material is an audiobook, it is extremely hard to locate a specific part of content. Most likely you will have to listen to the entire audiobook once again.

    This book summary will help solve the pain of having to go through the book all over again.

    I am leaving out the details of the books. Most books have interesting examples and case studies, not included here. Reading the original book would be much more entertaining and enlightening. If you like the summary, you may want to get the original from the source below.

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