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About The Book

Five easy rules for developing intuition, based on trailblazing research by a top Australian neuroscientist. Learn when it’s safe to rely on intuition in decision-making and when it’s not.

Intuition has saved lives and averted disasters, and it also lies behind countless innovative decisions. Steve Jobs, for one, regularly relied on his intuition in making business decisions at Apple.

Some people use intuition more readily than others but anyone can learn to develop and trust it. The key is ensuring that certain conditions are met so as to avoid the pitfalls. Neuroscientist Joel Pearson has identified five essential rules for using intuition, easily remembered by the acronym SMILE:
S: Self-awareness (Feeling emotional? Don't trust your intuition)
M: Mastery (Learn before you leap: why mastery matters for intuition)
I: Impulses and Addiction (These are not intuition)
L: Low Probability (Don’t use intuition for probabilistic judgments)
E: Environment (Use intuition only in familiar and predictable contexts)

In explaining these rules, Joel takes anecdotes from real life, including mountain climber Jon Muir’s lifesaving decision; a gameshow that uses humans’ innate misunderstanding of probability to rig its prizes; why you should never go rock-climbing on a first date; and what happens when Usain Bolt races in low gravity. The Intuition Toolkit is scientifically solid, highly readable and utterly fascinating.

About The Author

Photo credit: Joshua Morris

Joel Pearson is a psychologist as well as a neuroscientist, and is the Director of Future Minds Lab at the University of New South Wales. He is also Head of Innovation & Enterprise in the School of Psychology at the same institution. He initially studied art and filmmaking at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW, before turning to the scientific mysteries of human consciousness and the complexities of the brain. He is a prolific public speaker and writer, having contributed chapters to several books and published numerous journal articles. Joel’s website is

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia (January 31, 2024)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781761109591

Raves and Reviews

‘An utterly fascinating read.’

Who magazine

‘By demystifying intuition while providing a practical guide for safer decision-making, Pearson helps businesspeople, parents, high-risk professionals, or anyone willing to trust their gut to make better choices by using information stored in the unconscious … The Intuition Toolkit will appeal to fans of Malcolm Gladwell and those who were fascinated by the movie Inception.’


'The Intuition Toolkit is a superb guide to the science and art of intuition. Pearson marries the science of psychology and a string of fascinating anecdotes to explain when and why humans should rely on intuition, and wraps his ideas in a framework that’s as useful as it is memorable. Highly recommended!'

Adam Alter, author of Irresistible and Anatomy of a Breakthrough

'The Intuition Toolkit offers a breakthrough perspective on intuition based on neurological research. I loved the clarity in its definition of intuition; it is inspiring and deeply original – transforming abstract concepts into a practical guide for developing and harnessing intuition in our lives.'

Ed Catmull, author of Creativity, Inc. and co-founder of Pixar

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