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Proust Was a Neuroscientist | [Jonah Lehrer]

Proust Was a Neuroscientist

In this technology-driven age, it's tempting to believe that science can solve every mystery. After all, science has cured countless diseases and even sent humans into space. But as Jonah Lehrer argues in this sparkling debut, science is not the only path to knowledge. In fact, when it comes to understanding the brain, art got there first.
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Publisher's Summary

In this technology-driven age, it's tempting to believe that science can solve every mystery. After all, science has cured countless diseases and even sent humans into space. But as Jonah Lehrer argues in this sparkling debut, science is not the only path to knowledge. In fact, when it comes to understanding the brain, art got there first.

Taking a group of artists - a painter, a poet, a chef, a composer, and a handful of novelists - Lehrer shows how each one discovered an essential truth about the mind that science is only now rediscovering.

We learn, for example, how Proust first revealed the fallibility of memory; how George Eliot discovered the brain's malleability; how the French chef Escoffier identified umami (the fifth taste); how Cézanne worked out the subtleties of vision; and how Gertrude Stein exposed the deep structure of language - a full half-century before the work of Noam Chomsky and other linguists. It's the ultimate tale of art trumping science.

More broadly, Lehrer shows that there's a cost to reducing everything to atoms and acronyms and genes. Measurement is not the same as understanding, and this is what art knows better than science.

An ingenious blend of biography, criticism, and first-rate science writing, Proust Was a Neuroscientist urges science and art to listen more closely to each other, for willing minds can combine the best of both, to brilliant effect.

©2008 Jonah Lehrer; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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    D. Donohue New York, NY USA 08-06-12
    D. Donohue New York, NY USA 08-06-12 Member Since 2009

    dungha

    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    94
    18
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    FOLLOWING
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So delightful. I re-listened"
    Would you listen to Proust Was a Neuroscientist again? Why?

    Well, I love Jonah Lehrer, and he has a great way of telling a story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is packed with thought provoking ideas that lead to further reading [listening too].


    Have you listened to any of Dan John Miller’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, I only wish the author had been reading, as he did for Imagine. That was terrific. This is fine, just not as good as Lehrer.


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

    It made me have a 180 on my opinion of Gertrude Stein, for one thing. It made me tell people stories from it, as Imagine did, and recommend it avidly.


    Any additional comments?

    I do not care a fig about the supposition about Lehrer's Dylan quotes, although I am sure that he does. I think he is a remarkable story-teller and I am very sorry he resigned from the New Yorker. These little details do not matter in the service of the high-level thinking that he conveys in such plain English in his books. I am still recommending this book to everyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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