political animals how our stone age brain gets in the way of smart politics

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Political Animals

Author : Rick Shenkman
ISBN : 9780465073825
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 49. 58 MB
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Can a football game affect the outcome of an election? What about shark attacks? Or a drought? In a rational world the answer, of course, would be no. But as bestselling historian Rick Shenkman shows in Political Animals, our world is anything but rational. This isn't because we aren't smart. Instead, modern cues are setting off ancient, instinctive responses that worked to keep us safe in the Stone Age but lead us astray today. Pop culture tells us we can trust our instincts. But science is demonstrating that when it comes to politics, our Stone Age brains can malfunction and misfire. Fortunately, we can learn to override our instincts and ensure that they work in our favor. Drawing on science, politics, and history, Shenkman explores the hidden reasons behind our political choices and uncovers the invisible forces that are truly responsible for victory or defeat at the ballot box.

Political Animals

Author : Rick Shenkman
ISBN : 9780465073825
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 45. 63 MB
Format : PDF, Mobi
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Can a football game affect the outcome of an election? What about shark attacks? Or a drought? In a rational world the answer, of course, would be no. But as bestselling historian Rick Shenkman shows in Political Animals, our world is anything but rational. This isn’t because we aren’t smart. Instead, modern cues are setting off ancient, instinctive responses that worked to keep us safe in the Stone Age but lead us astray today. Pop culture tells us we can trust our instincts. But science is demonstrating that when it comes to politics, our Stone Age brains can malfunction and misfire. Fortunately, we can learn to override our instincts and ensure that they work in our favor. Drawing on science, politics, and history, Shenkman explores the hidden reasons behind our political choices and uncovers the invisible forces that are truly responsible for victory or defeat at the ballot box.

Political Animals

Author : Rick Shenkman
ISBN : 9780465033003
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 35. 25 MB
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Why, when it comes to politics, do we often seem so gullible and uninformed? InPolitical Animals, the bestselling historian and journalist Rick Shenkman reveals the hidden biases at work in all of us when we enter the voting booth. Drawing on cutting-edge research in neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral psychology, he explains that evolution has left us with a brain wired for the Stone Age. While these ancient instincts often work to our advantage in our personal lives, in politics they usually don't. Modern cues set off ancient instinctive responses that prompt us to behave in ways contrary to the good governance of our nation. Shenkman illuminates not only the curious habits of the American voter today but also the ways in which voter biases have shaped American political historyfrom the shark attacks that got Woodrow Wilson elected to the people who still defend Richard Nixon against the Watergate charges. In so doing, Shenkman probes the depths of the human mind to reveal what we must do to fix our floundering democracy.

Just How Stupid Are We

Author : Rick Shenkman
ISBN : 9781458775801
Genre : History
File Size : 54. 16 MB
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Fifty percent of Americans can name four characters from ¢¬The Simpsons,¢¬ but only two out of five can name all three branches of the federal government. No more than one in seven can find Iraq on a map. Just how stupid are we? Pretty stupid. In Just How Stupid Are We?, best-selling author Rick Shenkman takes aim at our great national piety: the wisdom of the American people. American democracy is as direct as it's ever been¢¬"but voters are misusing, abusing, and abdicating their political power. At once a powerful indictment of voter apathy and political indifference, Just How Stupid Are We? also provides concrete proposals for reforming our institutions¢¬"the government, the media, civic organizations, political parties¢¬"to make them work better for the American people. But first, Shenkman argues, we must reform ourselves.

Democracy Despite Itself

Author : Danny Oppenheimer
ISBN : 9780262300957
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 81. 89 MB
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Voters often make irrational decisions based on inaccurate and irrelevant information. Politicians are often inept, corrupt, or out of touch with the will of the people. Elections can be determined by the design of the ballot and the gerrymandered borders of a district. And yet, despite voters who choose candidates according to the boxer--brief dichotomy and politicians who struggle to put together a coherent sentence, democracy works exceptionally well: citizens of democracies are healthier, happier, and freer than citizens of other countries. In Democracy Despite Itself, Danny Oppenheimer, a psychologist, and Mike Edwards, a political scientist, explore this paradox: How can democracy lead to such successful outcomes when the defining characteristic of democracy -- elections -- is so flawed?Oppenheimer and Edwards argue that democracy works because regular elections, no matter how flawed, produce a variety of unintuitive, positive consequences. The brilliance of democracy, write Oppenheimer and Edwards, does not lie in the people's ability to pick superior leaders. It lies in the many ways that it subtly encourages the flawed people and their flawed leaders to work toward building a better society.

The Death Of Expertise

Author : Tom Nichols
ISBN : 9780190469412
Genre : Education, Higher
File Size : 23. 84 MB
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People are now exposed to more information than ever before, provided both by technology and by increasing access to every level of education. These societal gains, however, have also helped fuel a surge in narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism that has crippled informed debates on any number of issues. Today, everyone knows everything: with only a quick trip through WebMD or Wikipedia, average citizens believe themselves to be on an equal intellectual footing with doctors and diplomats. All voices, even the most ridiculous, demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as undemocratic elitism. As Tom Nichols shows in The Death of Expertise, this rejection of experts has occurred for many reasons, including the openness of the internet, the emergence of a customer satisfaction model in higher education, and the transformation of the news industry into a 24-hour entertainment machine. Paradoxically, the increasingly democratic dissemination of information, rather than producing an educated public, has instead created an army of ill-informed and angry citizens who denounce intellectual achievement. Nichols has deeper concerns than the current rejection of expertise and learning, noting that when ordinary citizens believe that no one knows more than anyone else, democratic institutions themselves are in danger of falling either to populism or to technocracy-or in the worst case, a combination of both. The Death of Expertise is not only an exploration of a dangerous phenomenon but also a warning about the stability and survival of modern democracy in the Information Age.

Ordinarily Well

Author : Peter D. Kramer
ISBN : 9780374708962
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 56. 52 MB
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Do antidepressants work, or are they glorified dummy pills? How can we tell? In Ordinarily Well, the celebrated psychiatrist and author Peter D. Kramer examines the growing controversy about the popular medications. A practicing doctor who trained as a psychotherapist and worked with pioneers in psychopharmacology, Kramer combines moving accounts of his patients’ dilemmas with an eye-opening history of drug research to cast antidepressants in a new light. Kramer homes in on the moment of clinical decision making: Prescribe or not? What evidence should doctors bring to bear? Using the wide range of reference that readers have come to expect in his books, he traces and critiques the growth of skepticism toward antidepressants. He examines industry-sponsored research, highlighting its shortcomings. He unpacks the “inside baseball” of psychiatry—statistics—and shows how findings can be skewed toward desired conclusions. Kramer never loses sight of patients. He writes with empathy about his clinical encounters over decades as he weighed treatments, analyzed trial results, and observed medications’ influence on his patients’ symptoms, behavior, careers, families, and quality of life. He updates his prior writing about the nature of depression as a destructive illness and the effect of antidepressants on traits like low self-worth. Crucially, he shows how antidepressants act in practice: less often as miracle cures than as useful, and welcome, tools for helping troubled people achieve an underrated goal—becoming ordinarily well.

The Political Animal

Author : Jeremy Paxman
ISBN : 9780141937502
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 20. 84 MB
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Jeremy Paxman knows every maneouvre a politician will make to avoid answering a difficult question, but here he seeks an answer to just one: What makes politicians tick? Embarking on a journey in which he encounters movers and shakers past and present, he discovers: • that Prime Ministers have often lost a parent in childhood • why Trollope is the politician’s novelist of choice • that Lloyd George once hunted Jack the Ripper • how an Admiral’s speech in parliament helped win WWII Where do politicians come from? How do they get elected? What do they do all day? And why do they seek power? All these questions and many more are addressed in Paxman’s thrilling dissection of that strange and elusive breed – the political animal.

This Is An Uprising

Author : Mark Engler
ISBN : 9781568585147
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 25. 90 MB
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Strategic nonviolent action has reasserted itself as a potent force in shaping public debate and forcing political change. Whether it is an explosive surge of protest calling for racial justice in the United States, a demand for democratic reform in Hong Kong or Mexico, a wave of uprisings against dictatorship in the Middle East, or a tent city on Wall Street that spreads throughout the country, when mass movements erupt onto our television screens, the media portrays them as being as spontaneous and unpredictable. In This is an Uprising, political analysts Mark and Paul Engler uncover the organization and well-planned strategies behind such outbursts of protest, examining core principles that have been used to spark and guide moments of transformative unrest. This is an Uprising traces the evolution of civil resistance, providing new insights into the contributions of early experimenters such as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., groundbreaking theorists such as Gene Sharp and Frances Fox Piven, and contemporary practitioners who have toppled repressive regimes in countries such as South Africa, Serbia, and Egypt. Drawing from discussions with activists now working to defend human rights, challenge corporate corruption, and combat climate change, the Englers show how people with few resources and little influence in conventional politics can nevertheless engineer momentous upheavals. Although it continues to prove its importance in political life, the strategic use of nonviolent action is poorly understood. Nonviolence is usually studied as a philosophy or moral code, rather than as a method of political conflict, disruption, and escalation. This is an Uprising corrects this oversight. It argues that if we are always taken by surprise by dramatic outbreaks of revolt, and if we decline to incorporate them into our view of how societies progress, then we pass up the chance to fully grasp a critical phenomenon—and to harness its power to create lasting change.

Real Time Diplomacy

Author : Philip Seib
ISBN : 9780230339422
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 29. 24 MB
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The 2011 uprisings in the Middle East proved that democracy retains its appeal, even to people who have long lived without it. They also illustrated how, in a high-speed, media-centric world, conventional diplomacy has become an anachronism. Not only do events move quickly, but so too does public reaction to those events. The cushion of time that enabled policymakers to judiciously gather information and weigh alternatives is gone. Real-Time Diplomacy analyzes the essential, but often unhappy, marriage between diplomacy and new media, evaluating media's reach and influence, and determining how policy makers might take advantage of media's real-time capabilities rather than being driven by them.

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