Archive for January, 2012

Neuroscience, Psychology, & Decision-Making

Monday, January 30th, 2012

image courtesy Microsoft clip art collections

When Dan Ariely published his second book, The Upside of Irrationality, I received an announcement on email about a book signing in Geneen Auditorium.  Students and faculty from throughout the campus packed the giant room and listened with careful attention as Dan described his experiments with decision making that illustrated how expectations and emotions skew our reasoning abilities.  While everyone knew Dan as an excellent story teller, the audience also came from all corners of the university because they were intensely interested in how their minds really functioned.

In recent months, the New York Times has listed several best sellers, written by neuroscientists, psychologists and journalists, which are relevant to faculty and students in many fields including decision making, leadership and marketing.  Below is a list of the Ford Library’s newest books on the topic.  Other titles are on exhibit in the display window at the entrance to the Ford Library and in another book display in the Economics section within the library.

Thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman
Explores two types of decision making, intuitive and deliberate (fast and slow) that underlie our irrational choices and contradictory thinking. Recommended for fans of Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational.

The Mind’s Eye by Oliver Sacks
Presents six case histories of people who lost a key visual ability, such as how to recognize familiar faces or to read simple words, and describes the ways their brains compensated to enable them to live fulfilled lives.

Incognito by David Eagleman
Explains that human brains are composed of a complex array of pieces and parts, most of which we have no access to, and shows how we are influenced profoundly by unconscious drives of which we are unaware.

You are not so smart by David McRaney
Illustrates that humans are prone to think in certain ways and not others, by using 48 cases of self-delusion caused by cognitive biases and logical fallacies.  Easy and fun read.

Now you see it by Cathy N. Davidson
Analyzes familiar patterns of attention, suggesting new ways to see and learn that work best for education and the workplace in the digital age. Author is former Vice Provost at Duke.

The tell-tale brain by V. S. Ramachandran
Uses the bizarre symptoms seen in the author’s neurology patients  to unravel the connections between the brain, mind and body.

Self comes to mind by Antonio Damasio
Takes an evolutionary perspective on the relationships among brain, mind and self, exploring consciousness, what it is and how it is created. Recommended for readers with backgrounds in science and philosophy.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Change in Ford Library Door Access

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

readers at Ford Library

While our hours of semester / term hours of operation will remain unchanged, beginning on Thursday, January 26, 2012, your Duke ID Card will be required to enter the Ford Library after 7pm, 7 days a week. Swipe your DukeCard through the card reader to the right of the Library doors to enter.

This change in access to Ford Library is being made to 1) more closely conform to other Duke libraries requirements for card access; and 2) to address safety concerns raised on behalf of our Duke & Fuqua Library patrons. More details on these concerns are available in this Duke Chronicle article.

While Ford Library, and Fuqua have not seen a rise in problems like those described in the linked article, we want the Ford Library to remain a safe environment for our students. We would also like to remind you that the best way to prevent thefts and similar incidents is to pay attention to your surroundings and not to leave valuables unattended.

If you have questions about this change in access to Ford Library, please email us at; and thanks for your understanding.

Book Review: The Red Market

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

image courtesy

Carney, Scott M. The Red Market: On the trail of the world’s organ brokers, bone thieves, blood farmers and child traffickers. William Morrow, 2011.

The first urban legend that I ever heard was about a bathtub filled with ice and two missing kidneys. In the 40 years since, I have never met anyone who lost their body parts after a night of drinking, even though the demand for them is higher now than at any other time in history.

In his new book, The Red Market, investigative reporter Scott Carney shows that besides kidneys, spare parts in high demand include the heart, liver, ligaments, corneas, plasma, ova, and hair.  Whole bodies are needed for the adoption and medical cadaver industries. Economic markets are used to supply bodies and their parts, which have become commodities that are bought and sold every day.  Billions of dollars of human flesh changes hands each year.

Journalist Carney travels the world as he investigates what has gone wrong with the supply side of the system of body procurement and tissue harvesting. Under this system, donors cannot be paid for their contributions and must remain anonymous for reasons of medical privacy. Yet the recipients pay thousands of dollars for the flesh. The supply chain of middlemen profits handsomely from the exchanges, producing unsavory implications, such as the transfer of health and strength from destitute donors to wealthy recipients.

While the book contains harrowing stories about exploitation of people in third world nations, most of the book is a thoughtful treatment about the ethical issues in the economic exchange of human flesh. If you consider that each human life is precious and equal, then you must conclude that the market is not the best way to allocate health and well-being. This well-written book is engaging and thought provoking to the end.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

New Movies for January

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Latest titles are:

Dhobi Ghat
Dolphin Tale
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
The First Grader
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
The Guard
Julia’s Eyes


Kung Fu Panda 2
Life, Above All
Margin Call
Midnight in Paris
Rise of the Planet of the Apes