Very readable -- Chatterjee takes complex brain studies and makes them understandable to the lay reader -- but the book is also full of excellent knowledge for the professional researcher in this field. Delightfully written with humor and poise. I was constantly reading aloud interesting factoids from the book to my wife.
Probably the best book on aesthetics that I've read. Less philosophizing and more direct on facts, I found this to be a very good book to organize my own thoughts on what art is and flush a lot of the typical aesthetic mumbo jumbo away. By no means does this book reduce art to a sterile reductionist state, in my mind, it merely provides order.
Great book! Focusing on three overarching questions--What is beauty? What is pleasure? What is art?—Chatterjee guides the reader across a wide range of topics, including the perception of faces, bodies, and landscapes; the enjoyment of food, sex, and money; and the analysis of both ancient and modern art. These domains appear to be quite diverse, but Chatterjee deftly shows how they are all interrelated, and he does so by drawing extensively on recent advances in not only evolutionary biology and psychology, but also cognitive neuroscience. He never goes overboard with these forays into the scientific literature, however; on the contrary, he always keeps the discussion at a level that is very accessible to nonspecialists and often highly entertaining. Moreover, I appreciated the fact that all of the chapters were pretty short and tight, since this enabled me to read the book very gradually over the course of about 6 weeks, while still feeling like I was sufficiently rewarded by each 15-minute dip into its contents. I would have liked more consideration of the musical and verbal arts, but Chatterjee’s treatment of the visual arts turned out to be so brilliant that I ultimately came away from the book very satisfied. Neuroaesthetics is a new field of study that is slowly gaining momentum, and I strongly recommend this book as an introduction to some of the deep issues that are being explored.
I was looking for a book about the nature of beauty and aesthetics and this was perfect! As an artist it was informative and as a human hugely eye opening. It is written well with a nice balance of theory and practical examples. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Anjan Chatterjee has a talent to write about complicated, scientific matters in a way which is not only perfectly comprehensible but also catchy and amusing for non-scientific readers. Actually, this book brings you great insights in the way our brain works. What I particulary like is "the Humanities approach" to this natural science subject, as the themes of the book are how the brain functions with beauty, pleasure and art. I can recommend it to everyone with an interest of arts subjects or humanism, as it gives new perspectives into these fields.