The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane

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A provocative and entertaining look at the psychology of superstition and religion, how they make us human—and how we can use them to our advantage.

What is so special about touching a piano John Lennon once owned? Why do we yell at our laptops? And why do people like to say, “Everything happens for a reason”? Drawing on cognitive science, anthropology, and neuroscience, Matthew Hutson shows us that magical thinking is not only hardwired into our brains—it’s been a factor in our evolutionary success. Magical thinking helps us believe that we have free will and an underlying purpose as it protects us from the paralyzing awareness of our own mortality. Interweaving entertaining stories, personal reflections, and sharp observations, The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking reveals just how this seemingly irrational process informs and improves the lives of even the most hardened skeptics.

Matthew Hutson

About Matthew Hutson

Matthew Hutson is a freelance science writer in New York City, where he covers psychology and artificial intelligence among other things. He’s written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Wired, Science, Scientific American, and other publications, and is the author of The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking. He has an Sc.B. in cognitive neuroscience from Brown University and an S.M. in science writing from MIT. Twitter: @SilverJacket Thesis: Artificial Intelligence and Musical Creativity: Computing Beethoven’s Tenth


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