Book Review: Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us by Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman


Author: Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman
Title: Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us
Publication Info: HighBridge Company (2011)
ISBN: 1611744881
Summary/Review: This Library Thing Early Reviewers audiobook ask what the following things have in common: listening to someone else’s cell phone conversation, Zinedine Zidane’s World Cup Final, Huntington’s chorea, Joba Chamberlain & midges, chili peppers and skunks.  They all involve annoyances, and what annoys is apparently something scientists are only beginning to study.  There’s a basic 3-step process to annoyance: 1. something is unpleasant or distracting, 2. it’s hard to predict when it will end, and 3. it’s impossible to ignore. The stories illustrating annoying things and the scientific studies are entertaining.  The authors make pleasant if not professional readers and I like that they alternate voices.  The book reads like a long episode of Radiolab and is a good bit of popular science.

Recommended books: Thumbs, Toes, and Tears: And Other Traits That Make Us Human by Chip Walter, Packing for Mars by Mary Roach, and Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness, by Alva Noë.
Rating: ***

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by slace on 17 June 2011 at 10:24 am

    Were you annoyed that the packaging label said, “ANNOYING” over your name?

    Reply

  2. Why do we get so annoyed?
    Although little research has been conducted into how things bug us, enough is known to identify some causes and solutions
    By Karen Weintraub
    Boston Globe / August 15, 2011

    Reply

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