NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Comfort Crisis asks: Are we hardwired to crave more? From food and stuff to information and influence, why can’t we ever get enough?
“Reveals the biological and evolutionary foundations behind your brain’s fixations, so you can stop seeking and start living.”—Melissa Urban, Whole30 CEO and author of The Book of Boundaries
“Michael Easter’s genius is that he puts data around the edges of what we intuitively believe. His work has inspired many to change their lives for the better.”—Dr. Peter Attia, author of Outlive
Michael Easter, author of The Comfort Crisis and one of the world’s leading experts on behavior change, shows that the problem isn’t you. The problem is your scarcity mindset, left over from our ancient ancestors. They had to constantly seek and consume to survive because vital survival tools like food, material goods, information, and power were scarce and hard to find. But with our modern ability to easily fulfill our ancient desire for more, our hardwired “scarcity brain” is now backfiring. And new technology and institutions—from dating and entertainment apps to our food and economic systems—are exploiting our scarcitybrain. They’re bombarding us with subversive “scarcitycues,” subtle triggers that lead us into low-reward cravings that hurt us in the long run. Scarcity cues can be direct and all-encompassing, like a sagging economy. Or they can be subtle and slight, like our neighbor buying a shiny new car.
Easter traveled the world to consult with remarkable innovators and leading scientists who are finding surprising solutions for our scarcity brain. He discovered simple tactics that can move us towards an abundance mindset, cement healthy habits, and allow us to live our lives to the fullest and appreciate what we have, including how to:
• Detect hidden scarcity cues to stop cravings before they start, from a brilliant slot machine designer in a Las Vegas casino laboratory
• Turn alone time into the ultimate happiness hack, from artisanal coffee-making Benedictine monks
• Reignite your exploration gene for a more exciting and fulfilling life, from an astronaut onboard the International Space Station
• Reframe how we think about and fix addiction and bad habits, from Iraq’s chief psychiatrist
• Recognize when you have enough, from a woman who left a million-dollar career path to adventure the world
Our world is overloaded with everything we’re built to crave. The fix for scarcity brain isn’t to blindly aim for less. It’s to understand why we crave more in the first place, shake our worst habits, and use what we already have better. Then we can experience life in a new way—a more satisfying way.
Easter (The Comfort Crisis), a professor of journalism at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas, offers an intriguing analysis of the human fixation with attaining "that one thing we think will... make us feel whole." If addiction is defined as "chronically seeking a reward despite negative consequences," writes Easter, then "early human" ancestors fit the bill—they braved "treacherous weather, wildlife, and landscapes" and other perils to seek food and safety. Modern humans, who generally have their basic needs met, are wired to search out stimulation in similar ways, whether pursuing drugs, food, or alcohol. Easter explains how such behaviors as binge-drinking are powered by the "scarcity loop," in which an opportunity to gain "something of value" yields unpredictable rewards and allows for quick repetition. To rework those behaviors, humans can hijack the scarcity loop to give it a productive purpose, creating an "abundance loop"—for example, pursuing an "active and rewarding" manual hobby such as furniture making. While Easter goes long on several less than illuminating stories (including a discussion of how he adopted a diet like the Tsimane people of Bolivia, which sidesteps the "food scarcity loop" because it emphasizes unprocessed foods, which lack much of the excessive salt, fat, and starch that elicit addictive responses), readers will be captivated by the fascinating addiction science and diverse case studies, from the recent rise in sports betting to obsessive use of dating apps. Those who feel trapped in unhealthy habits will find more than a few useful tools.
Loved this book
Really dives into why we do the things we do…
The information presented in this book is useful for your daily life and is presented in a compelling manner. As with his first book, ‘Comfort Crisis’, this is a must read!