Audible carries a number of books on neuroscience, neuroplasticity and the like. I read everyone I come across and so I joined Macknik, Martinez-Conde, and Blakeslee in "Sleights of Mind". While it reveals some of the cognitive and perceptual aspects of illusions, it makes many applications to everyday life as well. This book opens the listener to the world in unexpected ways. For example, the authors point out that painting is magic on canvass. They make the point that deceptions originating in our own perceptual spheres are always readily at hand – when known and when not known. Using magic as the common thread throughout, the authors inform at every turn. If you are interested in magic this is wonderful. If you are interested in perception, it is very informative. If you have given perception, memory, and cognition dissonance little or no thought, do it now. Well written and wonderfully read by Lloyd James.
I have a novice's interest in neuroplasticity and related issues. Barbara Strauch has done a great job of bringing me up to speed on the latest understanding of the brain and mid-life. Along the way she clearly distinguishes what we know about cognitive development (no evidence for the Empty Nest Syndrome) and what we don't know (what foods will help us gain mental strength).
The prose is nontechnical and readily available to the uninitiated. Nona Pipes is up to her best in the reading. It will be of interest to a broad spectrum of listeners. Give it a try.
"Proust and the Squid" is the title of this book, but I am not certain why. Here, Maryanne Wolf sets out to describe how reading came into being, the human brains adaptation to accommodate that process, and how children learn to read. This is well worth the listeners' time and will reward the effort, but it has little to do with Prouse (or squid for that matter).
That said, there are passages which are technical. Those are handled well by Wolf and I hope that she will continue to write for the general public. Over time, she will develop a lighter style. Her topic is certainly important to all of us and she needs to heard.
I personally want to hear more about her theories concerning how access to Google, the World Wide Web and other technology will change our culture and how we process information. She hints at changes that might be on the horizon, but left me wanting to hear more.
The second half of the book is devoted to dyslexia. I benefited greatly from hearing what she has to say. However, the second half did really link to the sections which preceeded. The first and second sections were related to "reading" but could have been separate works. I hope that she will develop a book on dyslexia alone. She speculates that the human brain has adapted to accommodate reading. The dyslexia is a through back to the past. I would like to know more.
Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.
On the one hand this is a systematization of what you should know at 50, but probably didn’t know at 25. That said it’s an excellent book for three reasons: 1) If you look around at 50 year olds, surprisingly many of them didn’t learn all that they should have about relationships. 2) The book connects it’s insights to mainstream structures in psychology, specifically the work on attachment theory started by John Bowlby. 3) In this case the systematization seems especially valuable, creating a framework for everyday life that helps sort through much of the relationship drivel flowing from popular culture.
The book argues that attachment is at the core of adult relationships, and that different adults have distinct attachment styles. It further suggests that the analogy between adult attachment styles and the parent/child attachment style is powerful. The book summarizes these two observations by proposing three main styles: 1) avoidant (or perhaps independent), 2) secure (or perhaps altruistic), and 3) worried (or perhaps needy). Compatibility of styles leads to healthy adult attachments.
The book also suggests a hierarchy of adult compatibility: 0) passion (compatibility at this level tend to be a symptom of deeper things, mattering only in the extreme, e.g., sexual orientation), 1) logistics (compatibility at this level matters, but can typically be negotiated), 2) values (compatibility at this level is pretty core and incompatibilities here are dangerous), 3) intimacy (incompatibilities at this level probably have to be resolved for the relationship to survive).
I thought about picking this as my book of the year for 2012. I wonder if I’ll regret not doing so. Give a copy to a 25 year old; I did. It might shorten their learning process by 20 years.