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The Compass of Pleasure Audiobook

The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good

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Publisher's Summary

A leading brain scientist's look at the neurobiology of pleasure - and how pleasures can become addictions. 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.

©2011 David J. Linden (P)2011 Gildan Media Corp

What the Critics Say

“Linden's conversational style, his abundant use of anecdotes, and his successful coupling of wit with insight makes the book a joy to read.” (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (8 )
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Performance


There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

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  • David Everling
    Palo Alto, California
    13/07/11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mechanics of Pleasure & Addiction"

    Focused on neuroscientific explanation of physiological mechanisms of pleasure, particularly dopamine circuits, and addictions. Though the book is organized into chapters around the topics listed in the subtitle, each topic is just a another way to look at Linden's main underlying theses, and those (e.g. the addiction process) are of primary interest and worth pondering over. The individual topic chapters then vary in quality based on how strongly the underlying idea is presented, and I think the book peaks somewhat in its first half because by then Linden has explained the thrust of his arguments. Still, he chose some great examples to illustrate.

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Jenn
    10/05/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great technical, mediocre presentation"
    If you could sum up The Compass of Pleasure in three words, what would they be?

    This book discusses the dopamine pleasure circuit in the brain and the differences between how different human behaviors (eating, taking drugs, nicotine, gambling, exercise) manipulate this circuit and can lead to addiction. The discussion was highly technical but delivered at a level where a layman with some scientific background can understand.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I found the sections on exercise and food cravings very interesting and highly relevant. I always found it amazing that I felt great during and after exercise, but I could never seem to get motivated to do it. Now I understand a little better the underlying biological mechanisms behind this.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Sean Pratt?

    Not if I can help it. The delivery of the narrator was not that inspiring and I often found myself realizing 5 minutes later that I had daydreamed and not taken in the content. Needless to say, the rewind button came in very handy.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Although, no one in my family suffers from addiction, the section which discusses addiction makes me much more empathetic with people who are addicted to drugs.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish they had gone further into the physiology of how food chemistry can affect both flavor and cravings.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • morton
    Rego Park, NY, United States
    29/06/11
    Overall
    "A Pleasure to Listen To!"

    Witty, insightful and informative, The Compass of Pleasure is a great audio. Scientific concepts are easily explained and interspersed with abundant, entertaining anecdotes, as Linden explains how pleasurable activities can easily become compulsive. I loved listening to this fascinating book and recommend it highly.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Eric
    Maui, Hawaii, United States
    15/01/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Like a text book"

    I'm usually the guy that complains that technical aspects of many books are too dumbed down. Not this time. You will hear the names of a jillion neurotransmitters, drugs, parts of the brains, synaptic this, receptor that, and reuptake do-dads. I quickly learned not to go back when I was fuzzy in some neuroscience topic. It'll be repeated anyway. Even the narriator had trouble navigating through the medical terms. The author's humor is unimaginative, and basically just interspersed for shock value and to wake up readers. All said, it was interesting, but not useful, and not a relaxing listen. A similar and much more enjoyable audiobook is The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • La Frau
    12/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sorcery! Blew my mind."

    There is so much to learn. No really, there is so much to learn from actual studies. It's addictive. You want to know what makes ppl tick? Best presentation yet.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • J Emmons
    18/07/11
    Overall
    "Holy smokes! This is a clinical journal."

    This is a great book if you are looking for a clinical understanding behind the motivation of pleasure. I was looking forward to gaining an understanding of what drives our pleasures. But, this book was not meant for the common reader. It is technical and extremely detailed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Justin Gonzales
    21/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very technical"

    Great insight to the chemical and physical reasons behind pleasure but not entertaining unless you are a clinician.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alden
    06/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Useful for an intelligent addict seeking withdrawal"

    This is one of the best "books about science for a non scientist" I have ever read / listened to. (I've now done both.)
    I am a lifelong smoker and nicotine addict who is now three weeks intothe process of withdrawal. Listening to this book during my morning walks has given me much insight into the microbiological, biochemical and electrical processes going on inside my brain (and inside all of our brains) when we experience pleasure in its many forms. For an intelligent addict, such information is useful in objectifying The sources and causes of many of the urges to regress that one encounters in this process.
    Don't get me wrong, this is not a self-help book.it's an exceptionally well written book about hard science written in an engaging and entertaining style that I found hard to put down. The author does not "write down" to the reader, and he provides enough scientific detail for an interested scientists to pursue. Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • B.W. White
    Atlanta, GA, United States
    24/12/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Informative, great listen for a lay audience"

    I think this book, or Linden's other book "The Accidental Mind" are great introductions to recents developments in neuroscienctific research.
    A friend of mine who is finishing his PhD in the subject was surprised that I grasped the more salient topics of current research into oxytocin, which I learned partially thanks to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Particular Shopper
    WARRENSBURG, MO, United States
    21/01/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Scientific"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Yes, I would add some additional voices from people in the examples given of various types of addictions. I have a solid background in both neurobiology and addictions, and found myself (while interested in the material) zoning off because of the monotony of the speaker's voice. It needs some variety in voices to keep the listener's attention.


    What other book might you compare The Compass of Pleasure to and why?

    No other.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Great practical information. Too monotonous.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    This is not a book for an uninformed lay person without some background in neurology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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