In the new book The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, John Coates examines these questions and the biology that affects our appetite for risk.
Coates’s lab is a New York trading floor where individual traders buy and sell hundreds of millions of dollars in securities every day of the week.
On the surface it may appear that everyone is acting rationally. But Coates argues that unconscious biological processes drive our decision-making.
Overall, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf is a fascinating book. Coates draws on recent scientific studies, as well as biology and philosophy, to build his case.
What I Liked:
Chapter 4 – Gut Feelings
I felt the book was slow getting started, but Chapter 4 is where most of the pay-off is.
It was my favorite chapter by far.
And if my underlining is a fair measure of interest, the rest of the book is engaging and interesting, if only slightly less so than Chapter 4.
What I Didn’t Like:
Coates is an evolutionist. And he speculates repeatedly about how our brains developed. It gets tiresome.
Specifically, pages 38-46, page 49, and page 64 are filled with evolutionary fairy tales.
Those portions of the book are rubbish.
Is It Still a Good Book Though?
Yes, I think so.
Whether he intends to or not, Coates does a great job of shattering the myths of complete volition and free will.
The truth is, our thoughts and actions are far from being volitional or rational because they are so intricately entwined with our unconscious biology.
The Hour Between Dog and Wolf went on sale June 18, 2012. You can get a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore. It is also available on Kindle.
-Ryan M. Healy
P.S. I received a complimentary copy of this book in consideration of this review.
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