DINOSAUR BRAINS by Albert J. Bernstein


Dealing With All Those Impossible
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Another business self-helper, no worse than others but with a new hook: the gimmick here is that most business folk (like the rest of humankind, one supposes) operate with only a rudimentary part of the brain. Just stop relying on the most ancient segment of the brainstem, exhorts occupational psychologist Bernstein. Somewhere south of the neocortex and beyond the lymbic system lies the reptilian or "dinosaur" brain, he repeats elaborately, trying to drill the idea into some receptive part of the patient reader's cerebellum. The basic idea is that anger, fear, sex, social hegemony, and other forms of passion in the workplace should be approached rationally, not viscerally. It's all very light, what with short folksy case studies and punchy chapters as brief as two pages. The cuteness can be hard to control, though, as in the little chapter that transforms pernicious thoughts into TV programming. (Earlier in the text readers are advised to "change the channel" when bad shows are "playing on your internal television".) Elsewhere is a suggestion to "think of the olfactory connotations of brown-nosing." Folksiness aside, the advice for the usual office predicaments--dealing with old dinosaurs or office romances, for example--is perfectly acceptable and even becomes more acute the further it is distanced from the dinosaur analogy. "What I'm really telling you to do," says Bernstein, "is think before you act and you'll be fine, but that doesn't make much of a book." That conclusion may be a little too harsh for a text that does contain a bit of common sense, albeit embellished by the device of the dinosaur brain. That is often just a dinosaur of a gimmick.

Pub Date: April 17th, 1989
ISBN: 471-61808-X
Publisher: Wiley
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