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.
©2011 David Eagleman (P)2011 Random House
"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)
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".
Say something about yourself!
Excellent exploration of how your brain works and what it means to your identity and behavior.
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.
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 :)
No. He exhibits profound ignorance of physics and chemistry, making me question whether he really knows about the brain at all.
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.
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.
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