• The Spike

  • An Epic Journey Through the Brain in 2.1 Seconds
  • By: Mark Humphries
  • Narrated by: Anand Jagatia
  • Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (59 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $17.47

Buy for $17.47

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

This audiobook narrated by Anand Jagatia tells the extraordinary story of a neural impulse and what it reveals about how our brains work.

We see the last cookie in the box and think, can I take that? We reach a hand out. In the 2.1 seconds that this impulse travels through our brain, billions of neurons communicate with one another, sending blips of voltage through our sensory and motor regions. Neuroscientists call these blips “spikes”. Spikes enable us to do everything: talk, eat, run, see, plan, and decide. In The Spike, Mark Humphries takes listeners on the epic journey of a spike through a single, brief reaction. In vivid language, Humphries tells the story of what happens in our brain, what we know about spikes, and what we still have left to understand about them.

Drawing on decades of research in neuroscience, Humphries explores how spikes are born, how they are transmitted, and how they lead us to action. He dives into previously unanswered mysteries: Why are most neurons silent? What causes neurons to fire spikes spontaneously, without input from other neurons or the outside world? Why do most spikes fail to reach any destination? Humphries presents a new vision of the brain, one where fundamental computations are carried out by spontaneous spikes that predict what will happen in the world, helping us to perceive, decide, and react quickly enough for our survival.

Traversing neuroscience’s expansive terrain, The Spike follows a single electrical response to illuminate how our extraordinary brains work.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Mark Humphries (P)2021 Princeton University Press

Critic Reviews

"The Spike gives a brilliant overview of our current understanding of brain function, from perception to action, based on our knowledge of systems neuroscience. Conveying ideas and concepts with impressive clarity, Humphries covers an astonishing amount of scientific literature. A joy to read." (Matthias Hennig, University of Edinburgh)

More from the same

What listeners say about The Spike

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    50
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    41
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    40
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Read this a year ago, very handy info

This book was great and timely. The stait forward 1.2 seconds was in my mind and super helpful in many, most behavior science reading I've done since.

Good time investment for audio-science.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great overview of what we know about the spike code

The punchline at the end however is surprising: we know almost nothing about the spike code and human consciousness. A strange omission in the book was not even a mention of EEG and measuring the brains local and global electrical fields that are related to but different than the spike code. He mentions fMRI which measure blood flows through the brain. But nothing about EEG or the likelihood that the brain’s large scale electric fields play a role in function and consciousness.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Entertaining and Dense

great book, exploring low level neuroscience in a very informational and dense way. even though the book is very short, it explores a lot of very modern concepts in neuroscience and physiology of the brain.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

fantastic read!

highly recommended. easily followed and really interesting. a book to re read again and again