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)
Since I work in the criminal law arena, the conclusions reached were interesting and should be thought provoking to the court system. I have known for a long time that the brain is one of the last unexplored areas on our earth. I hope 50 years from now we do not look back on how we deal with people with mental health differences and cringe at the lack of knowledge we had.
Just an all around awesome person.
The author presents the information in a well thought out and easily understood way. at no point in this book was i bored or trailing off. Thanks David.
Say something about yourself!
Excellent exploration of how your brain works and what it means to your identity and behavior.
I enjoyed every minute of this book and I think Eagleman did a fine job reading it to us. There's one practicality to consider, and that is the richness of the text. As Eagleman made incredible revelations my mind would drift as I considered them, before I knew it - I missed something good and then had to rewind (is that what they call it with an I-Pod?). I'll probably listen to it all again. Recommended!
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.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
Incognito has a lot of interesting ideas, but the author has an agenda that I found mildly disconcerting. People need to know that their ideas and actions are driven by subconscious activity. I suspect just about everyone has heard this by now. The author also uses the book to promote the idea of altering the legal system to include more neural science so people can be treated instead of punished. I find this both premature (we don???t quite know what we are doing) and short sighted (as legal punishments are largely to provide resolution to victims which is necessary for a stable society). The author???s narration is a bit over the top for my taste with overly strong emphases and the use of tone to try to convince the listener.
I like magical realism.
Generally, I enjoy it when authors read their own books, but this is the exception. He just spoke too slowly. I had to put the speed to x2.5 to get it to a speed that I found tolerable. It could just be me.
The overall subject is very interesting. I especially liked the chapter on vision. If you find cognitive science interesting and do not have a strong background in it, you'll find this a very good read. If you already know quite a bit about cognitive science, I don't know how much of this will be new to you. I have a pretty rudimentary knowledge of it, and the majority of the information was new to me or explained in a way I had never thought about it.
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