Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Review: Annoying

Annoying: The Science of What Bugs UsAnnoying: The Science of What Bugs Us by Joe Palca

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us offers an interesting and multidisciplinary perspective on what tends to be the most annoying to us, and possible ways to define and operationalize "annoyance." (For anyone out there who isn't a psychology nerd, operationalize means the act of taking an abstract concept and defining it so that you can measure it in experiments.)

All of the research in this book is accompanied by citations as well as interviews with experts in various disciplines who study concepts related to annoyance (emotion in general, and anger).

Readers without a background in psychology and biology might find some of the material in this book a bit difficult to enjoy on a purely casual level. It isn't as accessible as Randy Frost's book, Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things or even Cordelia Fine's A Mind of its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives.

Also, the audiobook is read by the authors who are probably better researchers than readers; they're not terrible, but this wasn't the most professional recording I've ever heard.

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