The Compass of Pleasure
How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good
ISBN 9780670022588 | 240 pages | 14 Apr 2011 | Viking Adult | 6.14 x 9.25in | 18 - AND UP
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A leading brain scientist's look at the neurobiology of pleasure-and how pleasures can become addictions."A hugely entertaining look at why we enjoy the things we enjoy. ... There's hardcore biology here, but it's tempered with personal anecdotes, penetrating observations and quotes from the likes of comedian Mitch Hedberg and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. If you're science-phobic, don't worry: Linden is incredibly smart, but comes across as the funny, patient professor you wish you'd had in college."
Whether eating, taking drugs, engaging in sex, or doing good deeds, the pursuit of pleasure is a central drive of the human animal. In The Compass of Pleasure Johns Hopkins neuroscientist David J. Linden explains how pleasure affects us at the most fundamental level: in our brain.
As he did in his award-winning book, The Accidental Mind, Linden combines cutting-edge science with entertaining anecdotes to illuminate the source of the behaviors that can lead us to ecstasy but that can easily become compulsive. Why are drugs like nicotine and heroin addictive while LSD is not? Why has the search for safe appetite suppressants been such a disappointment? The Compass of Pleasure concludes with a provocative consideration of pleasure in the future, when it may be possible to activate our pleasure circuits at will and in entirely novel patterns.
-National Public Radio, Michael Schaub
"This cheerful summary of the brain's reward system is a profound experience... Pleasure is a superb book. My brain has been changed by reading it."
-The Guardian (UK), Leo Benedictus
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