An engaging probe into the recesses of the brain with extremely interesting findings. A quirky recounting of his brilliant research.
A really fascinating book, combining cognitive science with speculation about the nature of consciousness (and clearly differentiating between the two). The tone is rather pompous (and the reader doesn't help) but the real problem is that sentences and phrases get repeated verbatim throughout the book, making you wonder if you hit the wrong button on your iPod.
This is a very interesting book, however, it relys heavily on pictures, even devoting 2 chapters to visual esthetics and the brain. Difficult to follow without easy access to the pictures. I'm on a kindle, which I guess doesn't support pictures in audible, although I get pictures in my text books.
I think it's sort of a rip-off to get the audio without the pictures. I've tried looking around in 'My Library' for the 'accompanying reference material' but I can't find it. I do like the content of the book and would recommend it as a text book. The narration is good.
This might be a good book if half of it wasn't based on evolutionary imagination. I want science, what is, not speculation according to what evolutionary theory assumes. No one will ever convince me science can determine what the brain was like or how it developed millions of years ago. That's speculation, imagination, assumptions, and mythology. When I read a book about what science has discovered, I want to know just that, the facts, not a pile of unscientific, unproven ideas. Unfortunately, this author has taken the unscientific subject of evolution and threw in a smattering of true scientific discovery and lost all credibility in my mind, and my interest. I made it through the first 5 chapters and it never got any better.
Many interesting questions are addressed in this book; however the author only references studies which support his theories. He has not been very inclusive in his research. Furthermore, many of his actual 'studies' are derived from the small fishbowl of his college students, and, specifically, his psychology students. If that isn't a very selective population, I don't know what is. Also, there is a slight tone of male arrogance throughout this book, despite this, the book addresses many interesting topics and arguments. There are also many interesting individual cases which he discusses. I would recommend listening to this book, but only with a large dose of skepticism. Oh – and also, it would be an excellent idea to look at all the sketches he refers to in the actual, physical book. .
If only author's would realize that when we are reading something about science, we aren't interested in their political view points. It can and often does offend about half of the listening audience. I didn't purchase this book to be told that someone's political opinion shows their low IQ for examle. I know people of both political persuasions and know them to be very intellegent. Therefore my belief in the author's overall assumtions are called into question. See how that happens? Stick to the subject. Write another book if you want to pontificate on the pros and cons of other issues, and give it a different name. Very dissapointed. The author was crafty enough to wait until the end on the book to insert these insults - potential readers be warned.
Ramachandran's book Phantoms in the Brain is what got me into neuroscience as a kid--this author makes the brain seem so weird and wonderful. Now, as then, he finds great case studies and spins them into an interesting tale backed by his own extensive work in neurology. Unfortunately, as a more sophisticated reader I am now eager for a bit more detail--Ramachandran tends to produce a readable tome over an excessively sciency one.
I also find myself wondering if I went back to read Phantoms in the Brain if I would find the same self-important tone and occasional snarky comments. I'm pretty sure even at 4am I wouldn't make a nasty joke about someone's neurological symptoms to his lawyer on the phone--and then I definitely wouldn't write about it in my book as if I were in the right. Ultimately, those kinds of annoyances fade though, because the work is just so cool and the brain is just so awesome and Ramachandran knows how to tell you so.
Drummond's reading is superb--he does great accents, and shows wonderful range. I found myself delighted every time a new character would emerge with a different voice. He breathed life into the patients, even portraying those with speech impediments with empathetic accuracy. Plus, his standard reading of the text was also fluid and enthusiastic.
I am going to go look for other audiobooks Drummond has narrated, just because he was that fun to listen to!
Dr Ramachandran delivers a very interesting book with several provoking ideas on exactly how we think, from a physical and neurological viewpoint.
I found the concept and explanatory powers of "mirror neurons" quite fascinating, and would very much be interested in seeing where future research leads in that area.
I also appreciated the Oliver Sacks-like case studies, where strange and weird mental phenomena and behavior was examined and (at least theoretical) explanations were offered.
The production quality is top-notch, save I think the narrator mispronounced two words -- very minor complaint, I know. The reading is otherwise flawless, and captures well both the excitement and thoroughness of Ramachandran's thoughts, as well as the bewilderment, confusion, and personality of the case subjects.
If you are interested in the inner workings of the brain, and what that might tells us in terms of examining mind and consciousness, I highly recommend this book!
I enjoyed the stories. There is a lot of information in this book that can bring about serious discussions. Would like to hear more books by this author.