Why can your foot move halfway to the brake pedal before you're consciously aware of danger? Why do you notice when your name is mentioned in a conversation that you didn't think you were listening to? Why are people whose name begins with J more likely to marry other people whose name begins with J? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret? Renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate these surprising mysteries. Taking in brain damage, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synaesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence and visual illusions.
©2012 David Eagleman (P)2012 Canongate Books
“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)
“A fun read by a smart person for smart people…it will attract a new generation to ponder their inner workings.” (New Scientist)
“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.” (Kevin Kelly, Wired Magazine)
Family father, neuroscientist, and non-fiction audiobook addict.
Do you think that you are in charge of your actions? What should we do with criminals who clearly committed a crime because of say a tumor in the brain? How can we use the brains ability to change to our advantage?
From start to finish this book was highly interesting, highly entertaining, and highly relavant for anyone who want to understand the brain better. Though I am soon getting my PhD in neuroscience and has taught medical students for several years, this book gave me new insights and many examples that I now use when teaching students. Though it gives you more than just the basics, the reader does not need much in terms of background knowledge. Eagleman does a great job of explaining difficult concepts.
I rarely give top ratings to books, but this book deserved it. Buy!
Thought provoking; insightful
The purpose of this review was not so much to critique the book but to give praise to the narrator. I had never listened to an audiobook before so I approached my first encounter with skepticism. Much to my delight I was gobsmacked at the high quality of the narration. The narrator spoke in a dynamic and appropriate manner, emphasising critical sentence points and the like. The overall experience has been a pleasurable one and I would recommend audiobooks to all.
fascinating insight into the human mind/spirit. I can not recommend this enough: it's intriguing, thrilling and informative... brilliant.
"Interesting, but not enough depth."
I would like to say that this is an amazing book but for me it lacked in examples and detail. It took me three chapters to get into the book as most of the beginning David waffled on trying to explain in layman's terms the difference in the conscious and unconscious brain. This simplifying was a little OTT throughout the book and a little insulting/annoying. However there are some interesting facts and the book is well narrated by the author himself, and I am tempted to listen to it again to pick up an lost details I may have missed!
All in all the book does make you think and is a good first read it you're interested in psychology/science. If you enjoy this and would like to discover more then I would recommend Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland (which is on Audible.co.uk!).
"Not for experts"
I really enjoyed the book but I have never studied neuroscience or psychology to any degree. I suspect it would be familiar ground for someone with an extensive interest in the area but it's quite good for someone with a more casual interest.
"Engaging but not ground breaking"
Eagleman reads his own text in an appealing way and takes the listener through much of the same territory that can be listened to in Bruce Hood's 'The Self Illusion' or Timothy D. Wilson's 'Strangers to Ourselves' -- e.g. what experiments on split brain patients reveal about confabulation, blindsight (being able to use the mid-brain to see even when you can no longer consciously process what you see), the accident that sent an iron rod through the prefrontal cortex of Phineas Gage and changed his personality. Eagleman's particular interest is in the consequences which a more brain-savvy and up-to-date account of human identity has for the idea of legal responsibility. Bruce Hood gives you a bit more science, without being difficult to listen to (for even more science you could try David Linden's excellent 'The Accidental Mind'). Timothy Wilson is interesting because his account of processes below the level of consciousness (what he calls the adaptive unconscious) engages explicitly with the psychoanalytic tradition. Eagleman is a good starting point: a thought provoking and accessible text that will probably lead you to want to listen to more such books.
I found this book fascinating throughout. If you have ever wondered why you do things impulsively or how you manage to perform an act with very little conscious thought, this book will enthral you. I have been an Audible member for several years and this book has soared to the top of my ratings. A must for any library.
Couldn't stop listening to this! I really enjoyed learning about the effects of the brain... and entertaining!
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