This book is like a bad rehashing of Blink, Freakanomics, and The Body Has a Mind of Its Own.
And don't be deceived: this is a psychology book, not a brain science book. Although the author occasionally sprinkles in reference to the "pre-frontal cortex" or the "anterior cingulate cortex", she does not take the next step to enlighten us as to how the connectivity, organization, and activation patterns of these regions are relevant to the stated objectives of the book. Most of the key concepts, such as "working memory" and "spatial reasoning" are discussed within the context of cognitive psychology, and not cognitive neuroscience.
Many of the studies/examples discussed at length are just not that mindblowing, and whatever 'profound' implications might exist are poorly summarized (AKA forgetting to deliver the punchline). This coupled with the painfully slow and patronizing tone of the narrator will afford you several occasions to wonder: "Why am I spending my time listening to this?"
Worse, the author spends a great deal of time in the middle of the book tending to what seems to be a personal agenda non-relevant to the thesis that attempts to account for gender differences in mathematical ability and spatial reasoning (unconvincingly, in my view).
My recommendation would be "The Body has Mind of Its Own" by Sandra Blakeslee - if you are looking for a nice balance of 'lay' neuroscience and research/real-world examples. If you are looking for something more rigorous, try "On Intelligence" by Jeff Hawkins, and if you want something very rigorous, try "Rhythms of the Brain" by Gyorgy Buzsaki (not on audiobook).
While this book may not have all of the answers, it is far more thoughtful and thorough than some of the reviewers let on. I read/listen to mostly science books and biographies, but I got this book on a whim and was pleasantly surprised.
The author is philosophical and witty, and is rarely patronizing or redundant. The content flows nicely and the narration is spot on - making it well suited for the audio format. If you are looking for a good audiobook that is a change of pace from your typical genre, give this book a try.
Dan Cashman is a great voice actor/narrator...which is important if you will be listening to his voice for 18 hours. Occasionally the book is bogged down in detail related to legal proceedings and financial transactions. However, the inclusion of such detail is often employed effectively in illustrating the effect of Hughes' obsessiveness. Interesting until the end!
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