First of all I have to tell you that I read A mind of its own : how your brain distorts and deceives
by Cordelia Fine straight after reading Stumbling on happiness
by Daniel Gilbert. The two books are fairly similar, and Gilbert's is a bit more entertaining. I had had my fill of the strange results of psychological experiments, and so I was probably felt more critical than normal on reading Fine's work. For instance when she describes an experiment where subjects came across suppposedly injured people and explains how the subjects who failed to help would persuade themselves that the person wasn't really very badly hurt - it felt more comfortable that way. Yes, I thought, but it was also true
Probably though, if I had read this book on its own I would have found it more entertaining. I found it surprising how easy it seemed to be to prime experimental subjects to exhibit a particular behaviour and indeed Fine highlights the worry that such effects might be long lasting - even with a comprehensive debriefing explaining what was done. Certainly the book provides some interesting insight into the ways in which our minds can play tricks on us, and thus helps us to guard against such tricks -although the chapters on 'The Weak-Willed Brain' and 'The Bigoted Brain' show that we might need to be especially vigilant to avoid complacency.