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The Optimism Bias

British Psychological Society Book Award, 2014

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781780333946

Price: £9.99

ON SALE: 5th January 2012

Genre: Society & Social Sciences

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Winner of the British Psychological Society Book Award for Popular Psychology

Psychologists have long been aware that most people tend to maintain an irrationally positive outlook on life. In fact, optimism may be crucial to our existence. Tali Sharot’s original cognitive research demonstrates in surprising ways the biological basis for optimism. In this fascinating exploration, she takes an in-depth, clarifying look at how the brain generates hope and what happens when it fails; how the brains of optimists and pessimists differ; why we are terrible at predicting what will make us happy; how anticipation and dread affect us; and how our optimistic illusions affect our financial, professional, and emotional decisions.

With its cutting-edge science and its wide-ranging and accessible narrative, The Optimism Bias provides us with startling new insight into how the workings of the brain create our hopes and dreams.


Lucid, engaging and cutting-edge... a must-read for anyone interested in imagining the future.
David Eagleman, Neuroscientist and bestselling author of Sum and Incognito.
Most readers will turn to the last page not only buoyed by hope but also aware of the sources and benefits of that hope.
Read it and cheer. It's important to your longevity.
Very enjoyable, highly original and packed with eye-opening insight, this is a beautifully written book that really brings psychology alive.
Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University Professor and author of Zero Degrees of Empathy / The Science of Evil.
What a treat. A charming, engaging and accessible book written by a scientist who knows how to tell a story
Richard Thaler, author of Nudge
A book I'd suggest to anyone.
An intelligent written look into why most people take an optimistic view on life...stimulating discussion...in easily understood language...fascinating trip into why we prefer to remain hopeful about our future and ourselves.
New York Journal of Books
Engaging....Sharot studies optimisim as the neural level and knows her subject well.
The Psychiatrist
Her fascinating book offers compelling evidence for the neural basis of optimism and what it all means.
Scientific American Book Club
If you read her story, you'll get a much better grip on how we function in it. I'm optimistic about that.
Lively, conversational...A well-told, heartening report from neuroscience's front lines.