'How We Decide' And The Paralysis Of Analysis

Jonah Lehrer i i

hide captionJonah Lehrer has written two books about the brain: How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist, in which he argues that Marcel Proust was decades ahead of science when it comes to understanding how the brain works.

Nina Subin
Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer has written two books about the brain: How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist, in which he argues that Marcel Proust was decades ahead of science when it comes to understanding how the brain works.

Nina Subin

Jonah Lehrer is pathologically indecisive.

"I found myself spending literally a half an hour, 30 minutes, in the cereal aisle of the supermarket, trying to choose between boxes of Cheerios," he says. "That's when I realized I had a problem."

The struggle over cereal led Lehrer to contemplate much bigger questions — like what was actually happening in his head as he stood in the cereal aisle, and how much of that was rational versus emotional.

Finally, he decided to write a book about it. In How We Decide, Lehrer explores the science of how we make decisions and what we can do to make those decisions better.

Jonah Lehrer is a contributing editor at Wired and has written for The New Yorker, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. He joins Terry Gross for a conversation about his book, the cereal aisle and paralysis by analysis.

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