The Molecule of More

Michael Long, Daniel Z. Lieberman

The Molecule of More



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They call it the ‘pleasure molecule’ because it allows us to feel positive, euphoric emotions. Through thousands of neurochemical processes, dopamine drives us to pursue our desires, pushing us towards achieving ‘more’: another relationship, another personal best, another achievement at work. Dopamine, however, is also linked to addiction, so in the authors’ words, it can be both a ‘blessing and a curse’. Daniel Z. Lieberman and Michael Long take the reader on an eye-opening journey to explore this incredible molecule, from falling in love, to various kinds of addiction, and even the use of virtual reality.

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Analysis and key concepts


The human brain uses two different systems of evaluation: one for things we can attain easily, and one for things that require effort


The ‘pleasure molecule’ determines if and how we fall in love, and whether or not we decide to pursue a relationship


Love fades over time as a result of a failure to accurately predict rewards


Dopamine has allowed us to survive as a human species, but it can also overpower our reasoning skills, and drive us to engage in destructive behaviour


Addiction to drugs and other substances changes the way our brain functions


The dopamine control circuit counterbalances the dopamine desire circuit


When they work together, the desire circuit and the control circuit allow us to achieve our goal


Dopamine is also linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder


Dopamine determines both creativity and mental illness


Genetic predisposition to an excess of dopamine may determine our political views


Dopamine has allowed us to survive as a species, but could also bring about our extinction


Mastering our own skills allows us to take pleasure from our achievements




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Explore the role of dopamine in the human brain.
  • Discover how this molecule affects every single one of our actions.
  • Learn more about what determines our choices.

Michael Long trained and worked as a physicist, but later pursued a career as a writer, screenwriter, and playwright. His plays have been performed in famous theatres all over the world, and he has been nominated as a finalist for various screenwriting awards. He has also written speeches for well-known business executives and political leaders, including members of Congress, US cabinet secretaries, governors, diplomats, and presidential candidates. Long teaches writing at Georgetown University. He is co-author, with Daniel Z. Lieberman, of the international bestseller The Molecule of More, which has been translated into 20 languages.

Daniel Z. Lieberman teaches psychiatry and behavioural sciences at George Washington University. He studied at St. John’s College, Maryland, and attended medical school at New York University. He has received numerous awards, including the Caron Foundation Research Award, and has published more than 50 articles and reports. He is co-author, with Michael Long, of the international bestseller The Molecule of More, which has been translated into 20 languages, and author of Spellbound: Modern Science, Ancient Magic, and the Unconscious Mind. He has worked with the Department of Health, the Department of Commerce, and the US Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy.

Publishing house:

Benbella Books