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The Science of Sin: Why We Do The Things We Know We Shouldn't

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It can often seem that we are utterly surrounded by temptation, from the ease of online shopping and the stream of targeted advertising encouraging us to greedily acquire yet more stuff, to the coffee, cake and fast-food shops that line our streets, beckoning us in to over-indulge on all the wrong things. It can feel like a constant battle to stay away from the temptations It can often seem that we are utterly surrounded by temptation, from the ease of online shopping and the stream of targeted advertising encouraging us to greedily acquire yet more stuff, to the coffee, cake and fast-food shops that line our streets, beckoning us in to over-indulge on all the wrong things. It can feel like a constant battle to stay away from the temptations we know we shouldn't give in to. Where exactly do these urges come from? If we know we shouldn't do something, for the sake of our health, our pockets or our reputation, why is it often so very hard to do the right thing? Anyone who has ever wondered why they never seem to be able to stick to their diet, anyone to whom the world seems more vain and self-obsessed than ever, anyone who can't understand why love-cheats pursue their extra-marital affairs, anyone who struggles to resist the lure of the comfy sofa, or anyone who makes themselves bitter through endless comparison with other people - this book is for you. The Science of Sin brings together the latest findings from neuroscience research to shed light on the universally fascinating subject of temptation - where it comes from, how to resist it and why we all tend to succumb from time to time. With each chapter inspired by one of the seven deadly sins, neurobiologist Jack Lewis illuminates the neural battles between temptation and restraint that take place within our brains, suggesting strategies to help us better manage our most troublesome impulses with the explicit goal of improving our health, our happiness and our productivity - helping us to say `no!' more often, especially when it really counts.


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It can often seem that we are utterly surrounded by temptation, from the ease of online shopping and the stream of targeted advertising encouraging us to greedily acquire yet more stuff, to the coffee, cake and fast-food shops that line our streets, beckoning us in to over-indulge on all the wrong things. It can feel like a constant battle to stay away from the temptations It can often seem that we are utterly surrounded by temptation, from the ease of online shopping and the stream of targeted advertising encouraging us to greedily acquire yet more stuff, to the coffee, cake and fast-food shops that line our streets, beckoning us in to over-indulge on all the wrong things. It can feel like a constant battle to stay away from the temptations we know we shouldn't give in to. Where exactly do these urges come from? If we know we shouldn't do something, for the sake of our health, our pockets or our reputation, why is it often so very hard to do the right thing? Anyone who has ever wondered why they never seem to be able to stick to their diet, anyone to whom the world seems more vain and self-obsessed than ever, anyone who can't understand why love-cheats pursue their extra-marital affairs, anyone who struggles to resist the lure of the comfy sofa, or anyone who makes themselves bitter through endless comparison with other people - this book is for you. The Science of Sin brings together the latest findings from neuroscience research to shed light on the universally fascinating subject of temptation - where it comes from, how to resist it and why we all tend to succumb from time to time. With each chapter inspired by one of the seven deadly sins, neurobiologist Jack Lewis illuminates the neural battles between temptation and restraint that take place within our brains, suggesting strategies to help us better manage our most troublesome impulses with the explicit goal of improving our health, our happiness and our productivity - helping us to say `no!' more often, especially when it really counts.

30 review for The Science of Sin: Why We Do The Things We Know We Shouldn't

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    The Science of Sin surprised me. I expected a largely analytic framework of religious constructs but what it delivered was an engaging, extensive and impactful study of human behavior from historical perspective to modern times. The foci of the book are Christianity’s Seven Deadly Sins and contributing factors, such as the normalization of narcissism due to parenting styles, the brain’s feedback system and social media echo chambers to name but a few. I especially enjoyed the discussions of brai The Science of Sin surprised me. I expected a largely analytic framework of religious constructs but what it delivered was an engaging, extensive and impactful study of human behavior from historical perspective to modern times. The foci of the book are Christianity’s Seven Deadly Sins and contributing factors, such as the normalization of narcissism due to parenting styles, the brain’s feedback system and social media echo chambers to name but a few. I especially enjoyed the discussions of brain function in each chapter, tying together the philosophical, social and neurobiological aspects of human behavior. The author breaks down the subject of the seven sins into a series of intellectual and conversational topics that build on each other in a concise and educational manner. The book peeked my interest immediately and held it to the very last page. I would recommend this book to all those interested in human behavior and those curious about why they do what they do.

  2. 5 out of 5

    ماهر رزوق

    Wooow I love this book

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    A little esoteric, but not awfully so. I've always wondered about those seven deadly sins and how much they really mattered in real life. Lewis makes good cases for why each of the sevens should be observed. Resisting temptation can help you live healthier, I suppose. Gluttony isn't exactly good for one's health, I don't think. Then again, I can't imagine worse case scenario for it either. Sin isn't really a concept I was brought up with though! Things are just as they are and humans, humans. St A little esoteric, but not awfully so. I've always wondered about those seven deadly sins and how much they really mattered in real life. Lewis makes good cases for why each of the sevens should be observed. Resisting temptation can help you live healthier, I suppose. Gluttony isn't exactly good for one's health, I don't think. Then again, I can't imagine worse case scenario for it either. Sin isn't really a concept I was brought up with though! Things are just as they are and humans, humans. Still it's always interesting to explore other peoples thought on the subject and gain a new perspective. It's an interesting read for anyone wanting to learn more about how our brains work and maybe gain some insight into how to fight harder to resist temptation. Be prepared for quite a bit of neurological speak about the brain (I didn't understand a lot of that myself, but no matter, book is still readable.). I received a Kindle ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    The Science of Sin reviews the history, philosophy, and neuroscience of the seven deadly sins (mostly through the Christianity lens) and applies them to modern times (i.e. why narcissism seems to be on the rise, and the rates of obesity). The book ends with a chapter on how to keep these emotions in-check. The biggest thing I took away from this book is that all emotions have their place and are healthy as long as they do not get out of hand. The books was very interesting overall, but the writi The Science of Sin reviews the history, philosophy, and neuroscience of the seven deadly sins (mostly through the Christianity lens) and applies them to modern times (i.e. why narcissism seems to be on the rise, and the rates of obesity). The book ends with a chapter on how to keep these emotions in-check. The biggest thing I took away from this book is that all emotions have their place and are healthy as long as they do not get out of hand. The books was very interesting overall, but the writing at times is little fluffy and forayed into opinions that did not have the backing of evidence or that was fully explained.

  5. 5 out of 5

    M. Condado

    I loved the book and realized that in my case I do not abuse all of the seven sins, since I use them in moderation. In my opinion this is the message the author tries to convey. We can have all these sins without falling into excess, because what is too much makes us antisocial, and in our actual society people who are somehow different are immediately set aside. It is written in a colloquial way which allows to enjoy each page without feeling drawn to the extremes of science and religion. The a I loved the book and realized that in my case I do not abuse all of the seven sins, since I use them in moderation. In my opinion this is the message the author tries to convey. We can have all these sins without falling into excess, because what is too much makes us antisocial, and in our actual society people who are somehow different are immediately set aside. It is written in a colloquial way which allows to enjoy each page without feeling drawn to the extremes of science and religion. The author is able to make a perfect combination of both.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tania Tinity

    Really good, looking at the seven sins from a few different perspectives - the historical, the religious and the neuroscientific. Why is a sin considered as such. What provokes us to keep on doing bad things to ourselves or others? Can we control the urge or is the urge controlling us? Where is the line of "right" or "wrong"? These any many other big questions are tackled in the book. I enjoyed reading it a lot and I'm recommending to friends. It's not a super easy read however, as the author re Really good, looking at the seven sins from a few different perspectives - the historical, the religious and the neuroscientific. Why is a sin considered as such. What provokes us to keep on doing bad things to ourselves or others? Can we control the urge or is the urge controlling us? Where is the line of "right" or "wrong"? These any many other big questions are tackled in the book. I enjoyed reading it a lot and I'm recommending to friends. It's not a super easy read however, as the author refers to some theory- you have to be open to understand a bit of neuroscience.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Neil H

    A layman albeit neuroscientist view of what St Gregory pains as the seven deadly sins. Pride, Glutonny, Wrath, Envy.... See i forget the rest. Damn the 7 things we struggle to hold in our heads. Very likely a pet project not meant to stir any new grounds on how we assess social situations, personal gains and pains. Still, an easy, tactical read for those who believe that we all hold upper middle class incomes and the only vices perpetuating is the result of hubris and overwrought worth.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    The Science of Sin by Jack Lewis is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early August. Lewis examines each of the seven deadly sins before finishing off with talk about absolution and redemption. It takes the tone a lot like that of a wise elder member of your extended family that you don’t see very often, but with annotated references while also making notes on narcissism, addiction, pedophilia, apathy, schadenfreude, aggression, seeking out support, mindfulness, and de-stressing. 

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jill Elizabeth

    I'm not sure how this book was such a bad fit for me , but it was. I expected to be fascinated. Neuroscience and temptation and human decision-making are subjects I find fascinating, but somehow this one just felt flat, dry, and long-winded in a way that just did not resonate with me. Thanks to NetGalley for my review copy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Seymour

    This book nicely summarizes the research behind each sin in layman's terms- for the most part. The consequences of the sins were interesting, but I found some of the rare and extreme examples (pedophilia and murder) were discussed at too much length.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gaby

    The physical book itself was only three stars for me, good, very interesting, but not the best book ever. It was hard to read. The audiobook however, is a four star. The narrator was great at keeping me engaged, and the topic was easier to listen to than read

  12. 5 out of 5

    LucienNero

    A great read focusing on the brain structures that influence behaviours. A good way to add to your overall knowledge on behaviours and their origins. Maybe a slow start but picks up very quickly.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ethan Allan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pía López Copetti

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nlema

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tarun Karmakar

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kris

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jayrchase

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael D. Rose

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alice

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ben Easton

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jed Walker

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tamsyn

  26. 4 out of 5

    Orlando

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ally

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lizzie

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stijn

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