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The Brain: A Very Short Introduction
There is no question: the mystery of brain is a challenge for science. Not just for the neuroscience.
The challenge that most surely will not be met in any predictable time.
The amazing little book: "The Brain: A Very Short Introduction" is a title in the Oxford University Press Series "Very Short Introductions" aimed at general readers and beginners alike.
Michael O'Shea's "The Brain" is a kind of the popular review of the state of art of brain research. Using simple terminology, the book covers the structure of the brain, signal transmission, evolutionary transformation of the brain, senses and effectors and the current understanding of the complex problem of memory. It also contains some analysis of very recent advances in robotics when it comes to its relation to neuroscience. And many, many more fascinating topics...
Among them is the very recent notion of "wireless-like", non-synaptic communication in the brain. Called "volume signalling" or GasNets, allows remote neurons to communicate without any synaptic connections.
There are fascinating short stories of discoveries as well. For example I was amazed by the description of the essence of Eric Kandel remarkable discoveries about memory.
I also found a very good, non-naive passages about relation of modern neuroscience and computer science. Some simple analysis presented by the author make the pretentious claims of strong AI proponents just ridiculous.
There's a good amount of technical discussion in this book, which is exactly why I got it (to supplement my psychobiology class). If you don't know much about brain anatomy, you might find yourself opening up the dictionary pretty often. But it's all very interesting, and it's read slowly enough that I don't think it's impossible to follow. If you're looking for more of a real life-application type of book, this probably isn't it, but it's a good primer for those books.
Yes... if the friend wanted to learn more about the brain. Looking back, it is hard to believe that all of this information was put into less than five hours. The author provides information about the physical make up of the brain, how it relates to the body, and how it functions.
The clear organization of the information.
This book has way too much technical detail about physiology and anatomy for the casual listener. More appropriate for serious students of human biology.
This is not a tongue in cheek review. I'm not kidding,I've taken all sorts of pills to help my insomnia.Listening to this book works better.When I get into bed I just turn this on and I'm asleep in 10 minutes.It is like being in a class you hate and all of a sudden you are asleep.I've stopped taking pills.I will never erase this from my library.
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