The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane
ISBN 10: 9780452298903
ISBN 13: 978-0452298903
A provocative and entertaining look at the psychology of superstition and religion, how they make us human—and how we can use them to our advantage
What is so special about touching a piano John Lennon once owned? Why do we yell at our laptops? And why do people like to say, “Everything happens for a reason”? Drawing on cognitive science, anthropology, and neuroscience, Matthew Hutson shows us that magical thinking is not only hardwired into our brains—it’s been a factor in our evolutionary success. Magical thinking helps us believe that we have free will and an underlying purpose as it protects us from the paralyzing awareness of our own mortality. Interweaving entertaining stories, personal reflections, and sharp observations, The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking reveals just how this seemingly irrational process informs and improves the lives of even the most hardened skeptics.
“In this wickedly funny and deeply clever book, Matthew Hutson makes a radical claim: All of us, whether we accept it or not, believe in magic. Without these intuitions, he says, we would hardly be human. Through vivid examples and cutting-edge science, Hutson presents a provocative new theory of how we make sense of the world.” — Paul Bloom, Ph.D. author of Descartes’ Baby and How Pleasure Works
This is a book that you pick up, but can’t put down. Hutson, intelligently and entertainingly, gives us the best kind of book: one that gives us insight to our very core. Highly recommended!” — Ori Brafman, co-author of Sway and Click
“Matthew Hutson promises to convince the most hard-core skeptics and rationalists that they believe in magic, and he succeeds—with wit and clarity and scientific rigor.” — Sharon Begley, author of Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain