• The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking

  • How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane
  • By: Matthew Hutson
  • Narrated by: Matthew Hutson, Don Hagen
  • Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this witty and perceptive debut, a former editor at Psychology Today shows us how magical thinking makes life worth living.

Psychologists have documented a litany of cognitive biases - misperceptions of the world - and explained their positive functions. Now, Matthew Hutson shows us that even the most hardcore skeptic indulges in magical thinking all the time - and it's crucial to our survival.

Drawing on evolution, cognitive science, and neuroscience, Hutson shows us that magical thinking has been so useful to us that it's hardwired into our brains. It encourages us to think that we actually have free will. It helps make us believe that we have an underlying purpose in the world. It can even protect us from the paralyzing awareness of our own mortality. In other words, magical thinking is a completely irrational way of making our lives make rational sense.

With wonderfully entertaining stories, personal reflections, and sharp observations, Hutson reveals our deepest fears and longings.

©2012 Matthew Hutson (P)2012 Gildan Media, LLC

What listeners say about The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking

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  • Overall
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Highly enjoyable

This was a fun listen. Interesting psych experiments peppered with funny stories and weaved together by a witty and charmingly nonchalant tour guide. Don Hagen's weighty yet playful narration set the perfect tone for this quirky romp through the science of magical thinking. If you like psychology books, you'll definitely enjoy this.

7 people found this helpful

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A must-read for humanists and freethinkers

Would you listen to The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking again? Why?

I highly recommend this book in audio format, as its presentation is engaging and the ideas are embedded in stories at a leisurely pace. Worldview shifting as well as entertaining.

Any additional comments?

What this book helped me realize was that the most rational stance for humanists and freethinkers is not to work towards eliminating magical thinking in themselves and their children, but to knowingly harness these powerful instincts -- instincts that well served our ancestors! Magical thinking will not be eliminated, so let's use it playfully, pragmatically, and in ways that enhance our lives and relationships.

5 people found this helpful

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The light step of wit and intellect, what fun

To be laughing good naturedly, and with new insight, at the follies of myself and those around me, in the good company of the puckish-voiced narrator Don Hagen, this is the joy of audiobooks for me.

5 people found this helpful

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How important is, and what is the role of, "magical thinking"?

The book is very interesting, and it touches on a lot of important concepts. But it spends a lot of time covering different ideas and concepts and kind of gets confused and doesn't really stick to a single theme. The idea that we all use and have "magical thinking" is deep, but the actual definition that the author uses seems to confuse what we actually believe and what we do; for instance, I personally do not believe in Jesus as a God – never have and never will, yet I use the phrase "thank you Jesus!" to express relief regarding a tense situation. Is this "magical thinking?" I think not, but I'm not sure from the book whether it is considered so by the author, contributing to the lack of overall cohesiveness. On the other hand, it opens up a train of thought to the reader that helps determine where the magical beliefs lie, and where the reader is kidding him/her self. It was a worthwhile read, but I think the author needs to rethink the actual message and what he is trying to convey, and how he wants it conveyed.
(Submitted on GoodRodReads)

2 people found this helpful

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Love it when philosophy converges

This book, to me, was a convergence of philosophy and modern psychology. That with Don Hagen as narrator, made this audio book extremely enjoyable. I'm adding it to my favorites list.

1 person found this helpful

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A True Pleasure

Mr. Hutson may be concerned about spurning readers from both the sceptical and magical ways of inclined thinking. However, I found his book a fascinating audiobook and plan to buy a hard copy as well. The sheer information of psychology, sociology, and philosophical context provides a great center piece in opening the doors of perception. His personal accounts are aptly applied throughout the book, and quickly return to each chapters essence and view. I am not one to generally write reviews, but this book impressed me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Hopefully he writes a part 2/sequel if it's not already out there or in the works.

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Meh

Maybe it was the narrator, it was the subject matter, maybe I just wasn't as into it as I thought I would be. Overall a C+ not terrible, not great.