The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life

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· Tantor Media Inc · Narrated by Jeffrey Kafer
3.4
7 reviews
Audiobook
10 hr 26 min
Unabridged
Eligible
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About this audiobook

Human beings are primates, and primates are political animals. Our brains, therefore, are designed not just to hunt and gather, but also to help us get ahead socially, often via deception and self-deception. But while we may be self-interested schemers, we benefit by pretending otherwise. The less we know about our own ugly motives, the better-and thus we don't like to talk or even think about the extent of our selfishness. This is "the elephant in the brain." Such an introspective taboo makes it hard for us to think clearly about our nature and the explanations for our behavior. The aim of this book, then, is to confront our hidden motives directly-to track down the darker, unexamined corners of our psyches and blast them with floodlights. Then, once everything is clearly visible, we can work to better understand ourselves: Why do we laugh? Why are artists sexy? Why do we brag about travel? Why do we prefer to speak rather than listen? Our unconscious motives drive more than just our private behavior; they also infect our venerated social institutions such as Art, School, Charity, Medicine, Politics, and Religion. In fact, these institutions are in many ways designed to accommodate our hidden motives, to serve covert agendas alongside their "official" ones. The existence of big hidden motives can upend the usual political debates, leading one to question the legitimacy of these social institutions, and of standard policies designed to favor or discourage them. You won't see yourself-or the world-the same after confronting the elephant in the brain.
3.4
7 reviews
Gary Downes
April 10, 2022
No character in the voice. Too deep and dark. Needs to read faster too.
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About the author

Kevin Simler is a writer and software engineer currently living in Brooklyn, New York. He's worked for ten years as a programmer, product designer, and engineering director, and continues to advise startups about technology, leadership, and recruiting.

Robin Hanson is an associate professor of economics at George Mason University and a research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University.

Jeffrey Kafer is an avid performer on the stage and in voice-overs. He has narrated over one hundred books spanning all genres, and he won the 2008 Voicey Award for Best New Voice.

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