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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 (850 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Christina Bellaire, TX, United States 02-07-12
    Christina Bellaire, TX, United States 02-07-12 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    "Very enlightening book"
    Would you listen to Incognito again? Why?

    Yes. I learned so much from reading this book that I was constantly telling my family and friends interesting facts I learned about the brain. This is not a


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There are no


    Have you listened to any of David Eagleman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It was fascinating.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone can relate to this material. I was particularly astounded at how much of what we

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Aberdeen, Md, United States 12-26-11
    Peter Aberdeen, Md, United States 12-26-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Mind Altering"

    This was an amazing journey through the brain. It was so accessible. Buy this book, read this book, and thank me later. :)

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenessa Auburn, CA, United States 12-06-11
    Jenessa Auburn, CA, United States 12-06-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Familiar research but brand new ideas"
    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I've read a lot of bio psych books, so most of his research was familiar. What really impressed me about this book was the new ideas he made using this familiar research. Two ideas especially blew my mind:

    1.) In chapter six, he proposes that because of what bio psych teaches us, our legal system would better serve us all if it concentrated on preventing future crimes rather than worrying about figuring out who's to blame. Blame is messy and nearly impossible to detach from biology not entirely under our control, but there is plenty of research to suggest that we might be able to have some influence on possible future crimes with the right kind of treatment. His idea about using bio feedback as a


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ghulam Linoclnton, NC, United States 11-13-11
    Ghulam Linoclnton, NC, United States 11-13-11
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    4
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    "Intersting"

    very interesting, Enjoyable, Easy listening.
    and clearly this is meant for a lay audience, I dont think anyone with a serious interest in neuroscience field will spend hours to listen to it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    11-06-11
    11-06-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Fascinating"

    As an educator, I found this book fascinating. It definitely helped expand my understanding of how the brain works. I am especially interested in David Eagleman's idea of the "prefrontal workout" and how that could be translated into education.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Onslow 10-21-11 Member Since 2010
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    3
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    "Don't read if you're a control freak"

    Who knew? The frontal cortex as the big chief - running the show - in control - what you think you know about yourself and how you work is pretty well overturned by this book - neat stories and popular science combine to illuminate just how 'out of control' we really are on a minute-to-minute basis throughout our lives. Don't kid yourself you are the boss...you don't see the strings being pulled inside your own head...fascinating.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucas Austin, TX, United States 10-20-11
    Lucas Austin, TX, United States 10-20-11 Member Since 2015

    on a quest to read Audible's entire nonfiction science section...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enthralling"

    This book is about how much our subconscious minds do and what a small part our conscious minds play in most of our daily tasks. David Eagleman is a neuroscientist so you're getting science straight from the source and he writes clearly and, at times elegantly. He also narrates the book and, I must say, I'd love to have him read more titles. He does a much better job than some of the non-author narrators I've listened to.

    This is my first book about brain science but I do a LOT of "sci-nonfi" and I found it so compelling that I started it again as soon as I finished it; I can't say that about many other books I've listened to.

    I think Eagleman separates the subconscious from the conscious a bit too profoundly--for instance he laughs at us for saying, "I just came up with this great idea!" (emphasis on the letter I) when he says it's the subconscious that's really worked out the problem. That may be so but is the subconscious not part of ME?? He says that one of the great roles of the conscious minds is in setting goals to which we dedicate our brains. Do I not deserve some of the credit for setting my subconscious to the task? Also, being a student of martial arts to some degree, I have seen a marked increase in my reflexive actions. That would fall under the subconscious control but I think my conscious mind deserves a bit of credit too. Regardless, it's a fun ride.

    One of Eagleman's primary topics is our justice system and how we sentence wrong-doers. I found that somewhat less intriguing but perhaps it's more so to you.

    Overall I would rank this quite high in the 20-30 science books I've listened to from Audible.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Hampton, VA, United States 10-15-11
    Donald Hampton, VA, United States 10-15-11 Member Since 2015

    Instructional Designer is the area of Workforce Development.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Resource for Teachers!"

    I am a college instructor and I found this audio-book a must for anyone working with very diverse groups. David points out social norms that are part of the human brain makeup. His teachings will help me manage my approach in working with large diverse groups in the classroom and understanding social bias.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffery COLFAX, WA, United States 10-12-11
    Jeffery COLFAX, WA, United States 10-12-11 Member Since 2015
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    8
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    "Great read by the author"
    Would you listen to Incognito again? Why?

    The author's narration didn't sound like an actor, so it was a little less graceful, but it did sound like a brilliant and interesting man who knows his stuff and is really excited about the research. I felt like drives in my car were one-on-one time with a favorite professor. Really great material. I'll By the book.

    Jefery R.Campbell, PhD


    What did you like best about this story?

    To be able identify some of various we use our mind


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The study that the pretty girls facing the men.
    the determining factor was nothing more than whether the subjects eyes were dialated. Many great cases, also.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It really caused me to want to take my and learn to develop better


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Cupertino, CA, United States 09-26-11
    Michael Cupertino, CA, United States 09-26-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Mildly interesting and educational"

    I was very disappointed given the positive reviews I had read. The book is very superficial and left me hanging.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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