Summary of Annoying

The Science of What Bugs Us

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Annoying book summary
Are you bothered by certain sounds or other people’s quirky habits? Of course you are. Now find out why.


8 Overall

7 Applicability

8 Innovation

9 Style


Why are you annoyed? Perhaps the person sitting next to you at the movies is snapping his gum, a driver on the expressway is hogging the passing lane or the lady in the supermarket line smells like a perfume factory. The list of pet peeves is endless. Science journalists Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman charmingly cover common annoyances and the degree to which science explains them. Although they draw on serious academic research throughout, the authors never take themselves too seriously. The result is a clever, revealing and thoroughly entertaining look at why certain sounds, tastes, smells and behaviors drive you up the wall. Will the book enable you to tolerate that buzzing fly or the endless wait at the post office? Maybe not, but getAbstract believes that you’re bound to look at the world around you a little differently – and probably with a dose of good-natured resignation.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why certain sounds, smells and people can bother you
  • What role science plays in explaining annoyances
  • How you can learn to be less irritated


To Each His Own
Defining annoyances in general terms is virtually impossible. Alarm clocks and traffic jams bother some people. A lemon-scented room freshener that some find invigorating may offend others. Everyone has a list of pet peeves, but some assortment of things bugs most folks...
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About the Authors

Joe Palca is a science correspondent for National Public Radio, where Flora Lichtman is the multimedia editor for Science Friday.

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