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A crisp and sparkling blend of cognitive science and human behavior that offers meaningful and attainable pathways towards becoming our best selves.
Why do we feel like in order to be productive, happy, or good, we must sacrifice everything else? Is it possible to feel all three at once? Without even knowing it, we’re doing things everyday to sabotage ourselves and our societies, habits that prevent us from optimizing long term happiness. Where most books imagine solutions that, when enacted, fail to fundamentally improve our lives, Jim Davies grounds his research in cognitive science to show you not only what works, but how much it works.
Being the Person Your Dog Thinks You Are shows us how we can use science to become our best selves, using resources we already have within our own brains.
Davies' book challenges and inspires us to approach the big picture while also staying mindful of the everyday details in real life. Davies proves why multitasking is bad for you, when a little unmindfulness can be good for you, how to best justify which charities to donate to, and how to hack your brain.
The most surprising truth Davies offers us spreads across these pages like wildfire: you too can lead an optimally good life, not through uprooting your life from the ground up, but from adapting your mentality to your given present. A better life doesn’t need to look like a massive change—like our beloved dogs who already view us as our best selves, it’s already much closer than you think.
Jim Davies is a professor at the Institute of Cognitive Science at Carleton University. He is the director of the Science of Imagination Laboratory and the co-author on two editions of The GNU Scientific Library Reference Manual. He is the author of Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe. He lives in Minnesota.
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"Jim Davies has done the impossible: he's written a book about becoming a better person that's not boring, preachy, or snake oil. His writing is lucid and funny, his arguments are grounded in evidence, and his wisdom is right on point for living a good life. This is one of the year's best cognitive science books." Adam Grant, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of THINK AGAIN and GIVE AND TAKE, and host of the chart-topping TED podcast "WorkLife"
"If you're looking to imrpove yourself—and the world around you—you need to read this book. Full of insights and packed with cutting-edge science, Being the Person Your Dog Think You Are is a delightful and fascinating read." William Macaskill, Oxford University, co-founder of The Center for Effective Altruism, and author of DOING GOOD BETTER
"Davies masterfully pulls together the scientific literature on how to be a better person, along with why you might want to be. This is a book for optimizers, and for people who want to know where to start on being happier, more productive, and more moral. Even if you think you’re already good at all of these, you’ll be surprised to learn what science has to say about being even better. A compelling read." Daniel Levitin, best-selling author of THE ORGANIZED MIND and THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC