How Pleasure Works by Paul Bloom
The New Science of Why We Like What We Like

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“Engaging, evocative. . . . [Bloom] is a supple, clear writer, and his parade of counterintuitive claims about pleasure is beguiling.”—NPR

Why is an artistic masterpiece worth millions more than a convincing forgery? Pleasure works in mysterious ways, as Paul Bloom reveals in this investigation of what we desire and why. Drawing on a wealth of surprising studies, Bloom investigates pleasures noble and seamy, lofty and mundane, to reveal that our enjoyment of a given thing is determined not by what we can see and touch but by our beliefs about that thing’s history, origin, and deeper nature.

About Paul Bloom

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Paul Bloom is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University. His previous books include the highly acclaimed How Pleasure Works, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, American Scholar, Slate, the Atlantic Monthly, and The Best American Science Writing. His 2011 TED Global talk on the origins of pleasure has been viewed more than one million times. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Author Residence: New Haven, CT
Published May 6, 2010 by W. W. Norton & Company. 280 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Self Help. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for How Pleasure Works

The New York Times

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An evolutionary psychologist explains what drives humans to seek the pleasures they do, sometimes in unexpected places.

Jun 25 2010 | Read Full Review of How Pleasure Works: The New S...

The Guardian

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Beyond the question of morals and legality (and the slightly offputting revelation that human flesh tastes like Spam), are we to conclude – as Bloom's line of reasoning seems to invite – that eating a fellow human being for the pleasure of his "essence" is fundamentally no weirder than wanting to...

Jul 10 2010 | Read Full Review of How Pleasure Works: The New S...


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A new book explains why people will find dog food succulent — if it's labeled "foie gras." In How Pleasure Works, psychology professor Paul Bloom shows that enjoyment stems from assumptions rather than empirical experience.

Jul 02 2010 | Read Full Review of How Pleasure Works: The New S...

The Bookbag

The chapters flow but are also nicely contained so you can pick up the book and just read one or two if you're pressed for time.

May 28 2011 | Read Full Review of How Pleasure Works: The New S...

Psychology Today

Chris and I are really excited that our book, The Invisible Gorilla, got a nice review in the New York Times Book Review.

Jun 05 2010 | Read Full Review of How Pleasure Works: The New S...

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