Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Lessons from New Scientist

Recent readings of New Scientist have inspired, and perhaps excused, this week’s blogger Nella, from some reading habits that she connects too.

Lesson One:  The power of stories
The irresistible lure of the con artist” by Maria Konnikova New Scientist 23 Jan 16 pp28-41

In our social media driven world where personal stories are shared globally, Konnikova considers what drives fraudsters to like at the expense of others. To quote:
“Nothing compels us so receptivity quite like an emotional, relatable narrative.”
“A good story consistently blurs our judgement.”
The article explains how a strong relationship between trust, intelligence, health and happiness is more likely to see someone fall victim to a fraud (e.g. disgraced blogger Belle Gibson). It also explains that the more someone is absorbed in a story, the fewer false notes are noticed. 

Recently I’ve been involved in discussions about specific books. I noticed that I identified more with characters with Greek/Lebanese/Chinese backgrounds than my colleagues. I could admit that reflected my own NESB, but I couldn’t really discern how much that “bias” made me miss any flaws in the writing. A win to “relatable narrative”.

Lesson Two: Willpower “The force of habit” by Teal Burrell New Scientist 16 Jan 16 pp30-34

Burrell argues that you can make a habit of anything if  you leave your brain on autopilot.
“Willpower comes in limited supply, and gets used up during the day.” 
That’s the best excuse I’ve had for purchasing books – willpower quotient for the day had been used up!
Some examples of “depleted willpower” purchasing follow.

Nella Pickup
Reader and book buyer.

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