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Publisher's Summary

It's not fiction: Gary Lynch is the real thing, the epitome of the rebel scientist - malnourished, contentious, inspiring, explosive, remarkably ambitious, consistently brilliant. He is one of the foremost figures of contemporary neuroscience, and his decades-long quest to understand the inner workings of the brain's memory machine has begun to pay off.

Award-winning journalist Terry McDermott spent nearly two years observing Lynch at work and now gives us a fascinating and dramatic account of daily life in Lynch's lab - the highs and lows, the drudgery and eureka moments, the agonizing failures. He provides detailed, lucid explanations of the cutting-edge science that enabled Lynch to reveal the inner workings of the molecular machine that manufactures memory. And he explains where Lynch's sights are now set: on drugs that could fix that machine when it breaks, drugs that would enhance brain function during the memory process and that hold out the possibility of cures for a wide range of neurological conditions, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Here is an essential story of science, scientists, and scientific achievement - galvanizing in the telling and thrilling in its far-reaching implications.

©2010 Terry McDermott (P)2010 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[McDermott's] exposition of the science is lucid, and his first-hand account of Lynch's seething laboratory is riveting, full of prickly egos, desperate battles for grants, and epic experiments...that become daily roller-coasters of triumph and despair as results trickle in. This is an engrossing story of science and the brilliant, flawed people who make it." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
  • Joe
  • St. Cloud, MN, United States
  • 04-18-10

Fascinating tale of a scientific maverick's lab

Disclaimer: I am a psychological scientist, so your enjoyment mileage may differ, but I found 101 Theory Drive a truly fascinating tale. McDermott's detailed account of the scientific (and personal) life of Gary Lynch--who first correctly worked out the neurological bases of memory formation in the brain--is full of interesting details about the life and work of a brilliant thinker and scientific investigator...warts, setbacks and all. It's got a lot of physiological detail, which may bore/confuse some readers, but it does not require a lot of knowledge to follow, and it is truly fascinating if you are at all interested in how the brain becomes "mind". I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the way science REALLY works and in how creative thinkers often work.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Roy
  • Beaumont, TX, United States
  • 08-23-10

Entertaining and Informative

In this book Terry McDermott aptly tells the story of Gary Lynch and his twenty year effort to understand the biochemical process and brain functions that support human memory. But wait - there is more. McDermott tells the story in a very compelling way, he explains the science in easy to understand terms, and describes the primary characters very well. If you have an interest in neurosocience, this is a good, non-technical book. Readers will gain insight into memory and better understand how the research contributes to that understanding.

In sum, this is an informative, well written book. Stephen Hoye does his usual best in the great reading.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Easy and entertaining listen on a complex subject

I really enjoyed this book and how it covered the very complex topic of memory and brain functions without being boring or overly technical. The story of how memory theory progressed over time in the Lynch lab and around the world was well told and included many interesting characters that you would not think would exist in a research environment.

I bought this book on the hope that it would be entertaining and educational and it succeeded on both counts. I highly recommend this book for those who like science and would like to better understand the process by which new ideas must go through to be accepted by the masses.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Will
  • Sparks, NV, USA
  • 05-14-10

Pretty Dang Funny

This audiobook chronicles the amazing career of a brilliant neuroscientist, who--how shall we say?--let's it all hang out. I was equally educated and entertained. The star of the book, Gary Lynch, strikes me as a cross between Carl Sagan and Oscar Madison (from the famed '70s TV Show, The Odd Couple). Gary Lynch comes through, loud and clear as a three-dimensional, provocative, and irreverent scientist. He regales all who listen with deep scientific thoughts and occasional "F-bombs," aimed mostly at jealous peer-reviewers, scientist-lemmings, and college administrators, who do nothing but thwart his greatness. Follow Gary in his journey to discover the physical, neurological manifestation of "memory" inside the brain. Listening to this audiobook, you will feel as if you are spending quality time with a rockstar of sorts. Learn and grow, as Gary lays out his wondrous neuroscientific wonderings about the brain, supported by scientific data that makes sense--even to lay people like me. Kudos to the narrator of the audiobook, who does a great job of injecting colorful voice inflections--especially when he quotes Gary Lynch in his refreshing moments of high sarcasm and choice profanity. Listening will make you smarter, or at least make you feel smarter. Oddly, I feel as if I got to know Gary Lynch and his merry band of lab-students, after listening to their real-life trials and tribulations, replete with scientific advances and setbacks. I wonder what that scientist-dude Gary is up to now. Maybe a sequel will come out? Hope so. I'll keep an eye out for 201 Theory Drive.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Science Writing

Wonderful science writing, excellent descriptions and use of humor. This isn't a book to listen to while doing something else -- it needs your full attention. I kept wanting to take notes!

Great primer for the novice and review for the experienced -- especially those who find themselves teaching complicated neuro science in lay terms.

It is also an up-close-and-personal look at the difficulties of bio-research, the FDA and the personalities involved in neuro-reseach. Well written, well narrated. Stephen Hoye was the perfect choice for this one

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Read

Mechanisms of synaptic plasticity: LTP, glutamate receptors and cell adhesion molecules, oh my....

Fascinating book about neurobiologist Gary Lynch at UC Irvine, the way the brain records memory, and quite a bit about how academic science and publishing works. As a bonus: brain drugs and possible cures for diseases including ADHD and alzheimer's. WAIT THAT'S NOT ALL, if you order right now.... mapping of the brain and an overview of the startup biotech craze of the '90s.

For as much technical neurobiology as is in this book (and not being a neurobiologist) the story was very engrossing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Lisa
  • Brooklyn, NY, United States
  • 04-06-12

Narrator needs work on characterization.

What did you like best about 101 Theory Drive? What did you like least?

The explanation of science is clear. The ability of the narrator to portray different characters is very awkward and uncomfortable.

Any additional comments?

It takes work, but why can't 2 narrators do one book. If someone's strength is description, let them do that and let others do characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Kinda boring and didn't really go anywhere

I did find a few parts quite interesting, but on the whole I was disappointed. I had just finished "The Talent Code" and was looking for more information regarding the balance between brain physiology and behavior, or at the very least, a better understanding of the chemistry of memory. Honestly, it could have used a bit more information regarding the science, and less about the politics of University funding.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bill
  • New Lenox, IL, United States
  • 03-10-11

Fascinating! Interesting, accessible science

This book charts the life work of a fascinating, complex man in his effort to understand the mechanics of of memory. The biographical approach and the brilliant treatment of complex information make the science accessible to everyone with an interest. And the nature of the scientist keeps the 'read' very interesting.

I really enjoyed this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Second Rate All the Way

Listening to this audiobook immediately brought memories of Life Decoded by Craig Venter. The subject of that book is more interesting, his achievements are greater, his personal life more colorful, and the writing is much-much better. If you want to listen to a good biology book, listen to Venter’s - or go second class and get this one. I listened dutifully to its first quarter of the audiobook, then began to skip, then chucked it, bored and uninspired.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful