In You are Not Your Brain, Jeffrey Schwartz MD and Rebecca Gladding MD, help readers better understand rational thought and how individuals can garner control over their irrational thoughts. This book will be very helpful to anyone struggling with fear, anxiety, tedious compulsions, and unwanted behaviors. Detailed methods for changing behaviors are described and illustrated which individuals can access. Personally, I thought there was more illustrative material than was necessary to address the main concepts, but some new to this material may well benefit. Everyone will find some hints and insights which they can use in day-to-day living and improving their quality of life.
First, I must admit that I am a fan of Oliver Sacks and have read all of his books. My favorite remains "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat," but this book is unique among his offerings. In this book he has a number of chapters about blindness and its meaning for individuals. He then takes a chapter to describe his own fall into blindness. As always, Sacks combines a knowledge of the literature in neurobiology, psychology and psychiatry to shed light on his personal experience. This book lacks, perhaps, the charm of his earlier books, but it is informative in a much deeper way. It might be helpful to have some background in neurobiology, but it isn't necessary to gain great benefit. The final chapter deals with what he has learned about perception in this context and to what degree to we configure our own reality and world. Very informative. The reading of Sacks and Richard Davidson is very good.
Miguel Nicolelis, a Duke University neuroscientist, is a leader in brain-machine-interface research. He has produced in “Beyond Boundaries: The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines – and How It Will Change Our Lives” a history of neuroscience and a description of the research in the field. In particular, he describes his work with rats and then monkeys which have been able to manipulate robots through the use of their brains – alone. Others have been involved in such research and their work is aptly displayed for the reader and placed into context. This research holds great promise for use with humans particularly having muscular disability. Immediately, I could see the use of this technology with light exoskeletons which would help individuals to walk or use their arms without help. The history of neuroscience may be a little much for those just encountering the field. However, I think that almost anyone can follow Nicolelis’ story and descriptions of his work. This is cutting edge research and Nicolelis allows the uninitiated a window on what is coming to be. The reading is exactly what you have come to expect from Patrick Egan – wonderful.
Private intellectual, writer, and retired academic. Currently R&D director for Gravitational Systems Engineering, Inc.
The controversy in the reviews of this book speaks to its importance. As a committed Darwinian, who has been having a tryst with Lamarck-ism since the advent of epi-genetics, this book was a delight. It takes apart the accepted dogma on a variety of post Darwin science by examining the religious and cultural bias that is built into many of these theories.
I have read all of Dawkin's & E.O. Wilson's books, the modern scholar series on evolutionary psychology, and about 10 other popular texts from this emerging field.
This book stands out, not because of the excellence of its scholarship, but because of the depth of its skepticism and the author's willingness to challenge existing dogma.
At regular intervals, despite my habitual eschewing of scientific mirth, this book had me in aesthetic. I highly recommend this book, and I offer my personal thanks to the authors and the narrator.