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Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain | [David Eagleman]

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

In this sparkling and provocative new book, the renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries. Taking in brain damage, plane spotting, dating, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence, and visual illusions, Incognito is a thrilling subsurface exploration of the mind and all its contradictions.
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Publisher's Summary

If the conscious mind—the part you consider to be you—is just the tip of the iceberg, what is the rest doing?

In this sparkling and provocative new book, the renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries: Why can your foot move halfway to the brake pedal before you become consciously aware of danger ahead? Why do you hear your name being mentioned in a conversation that you didn’t think you were listening to? What do Ulysses and the credit crunch have in common? Why did Thomas Edison electrocute an elephant in 1916? Why are people whose names begin with J more likely to marry other people whose names begin with J? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret? And how is it possible to get angry at yourself—who, exactly, is mad at whom?

Taking in brain damage, plane spotting, dating, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence, and visual illusions, Incognito is a thrilling subsurface exploration of the mind and all its contradictions.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2011 David Eagleman (P)2011 Random House

What the Critics Say

"Eagleman has a talent for testing the untestable, for taking seemingly sophomoric notions and using them to nail down the slippery stuff of consciousness.” (The New Yorker)

“Your mind is an elaborate trick, and mastermind David Eagleman explains how the trick works with great lucidity and amazement. Your mind will thank you.” (Wired magazine)

“A fun read by a smart person for smart people.… it will attract a new generation to ponder their inner workings.” (New Scientist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (862 )
5 star
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4.2 (603 )
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4.1 (618 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Symonds 09-05-11
    Symonds 09-05-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great for laypeople...sorta"

    Loved the book overall. I'm not a scientist or a doctor, but I've read my fair share of related books for laypeople and was easily able to follow along because of it. Aside from some questionable brain exercises, Eagleman clearly and entertainingly lays out an (obviously over-)simplified explanation of the sub-conscious mind to explore how we become who we are. A good, basic picture depicting the state of our quest to understand the origin of conscious thought and a scientific understanding of the human "soul".

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger Smith Orlando, Florida United States 07-25-11
    Roger Smith Orlando, Florida United States 07-25-11 Member Since 2007

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Your Brain"

    Excellent exploration of how your brain works and what it means to your identity and behavior.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy College Station, TX, United States 07-14-11
    Timothy College Station, TX, United States 07-14-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent!"

    This book is so interesting!! Every few minutes you'll learn something you didn't know before! Engaging, well written, and well narrated by the author.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tycho Speaker Santa Cruz, CA USA 08-01-15
    Tycho Speaker Santa Cruz, CA USA 08-01-15 Member Since 2010
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    "SO GREAT"

    This book is smart and really enlightening as far as neuroscience but manages to also be engaging with anecdotal stories and interesting studies. Definitely nerdy but not to a fault :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chris segal 07-28-15
    chris segal 07-28-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Interesting ideas"

    Fascinating and interesting ideas by the original author. Siegelman take complex concepts and explain to them and understandable fashion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 07-06-15
    Andrew 07-06-15 Member Since 2013

    MA Golfer

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    "Profound ignorance of physics & chemistry"
    Would you try another book from David Eagleman and/or David Eagleman?

    No. He exhibits profound ignorance of physics and chemistry, making me question whether he really knows about the brain at all.


    Was Incognito worth the listening time?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    His comments about the relevance of quantum mechanics to brain function are so nonsensical to be painful (and I am a PhD physicist who has published many papers in chemical physics and worked in bioinformatics for 15 years). I lost all faith in the author's expertise and now place him in the "mystical brain" and religious zealot category. Frankly, I don't know how much of anything the author states is true or just his interpretation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Call 07-05-15
    Peter Call 07-05-15 Member Since 2015
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    "great
    "

    I felt it was a great introduction to neuroscience as well as adding practical application.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 06-10-15
    Andrew 06-10-15 Member Since 2015
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    4
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    "Fascinating and Educational"

    Great narrator (the author himself) makes the book fly by. Prepare to have your mind blown!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christian 05-17-15
    Christian 05-17-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Amazing and insightful"

    An amazing and insightful book that challenges our understanding of reality and consciousness. A great listen in 2x

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    charles CONROE, TEXAS, United States 05-15-15
    charles CONROE, TEXAS, United States 05-15-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great even handed incite"

    This is well done. I enjoy audio books on the way the brain works. This one covers aspects others do not cover in the same way or detail and yet it is very understandable and fair. I say fair because it takes into account interpretation with respect to what we know based on facts but allows for more than just one way to make sense of the facts with regard to nature vs nurture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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