A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?
Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
Excerpt from Out of the Fog
I miss a fireplace. A working fireplace. Or rather, a fireplace of delights and dreams and real logs, real fire. I grew up with a fireplace in our living room, not used for heat, but for warmth, beauty, visions, friendliness. We carefully cleaned the fireplace each Christmas Eve, so Santa would not be covered in ash. On Christmas Day, we lit the fire using as kindling the few Christmas wrappings my mother deemed unsalvageable for another year. The fireplace crackled, snapped, and exuded good cheer all December 25th and New Years as it did on Thanksgiving, and on snowy January, February, and March days and evenings.
The fire removed the chill of fog in fall and spring, and in the hurricane became briefly a working fireplace, for heat, for light, for cooking, most of all, for the vision of coziness amidst the tempests roar. Even in summer, when the days turned damp and shivery, the fire would be lit and wed gather in its glow for fun and games. I still have the old wire popcorn popper we jiggled above the flames, waiting with bated breath for that first distinctive POP and then in exultation as the kernels exploded in a delicious cacophony of pows! I have lost years ago the wire marshmallow and hot dog toasters that the bold thrust into the flames (those of us who liked blackened marshmallows and hot dogs that split, taking the risk of losing them to the fire god) and the more genteel held with tense concentration hovering over the embers for perfectly browned outside, sumptuously melted inside, marshmallows. I remember my thirteenth birthday an icy, wind-whistling, February night when ten teen girls toasted and roasted and tried to scare each other silly with ghost stories as the fire died slowly down and the room grew dark until mother returned with hot chocolate and in her matter of fact manner stirred up the fire with a poker, adding a new log for good measure, breaking the spell of titillating terror. We turned to giggling over riddles, jokes, and songs featuring a lot of mindless alliteration.
I remember the dinner parties as an adult when talk would turn from children to gossip to politics to God somehow the fire drew us into an intimacy and warmth that went beyond the heat upon our faces. I remember so many faces, some grown, some gone, but all faces that turned more friendly around the fire, that gentled into peace, sharing the best of themselves in the steadfast glow.
If you have such a fireplace, invite your friends over, stockpile wood for the storm, or light a log alone and listen to the fires song. If, like me, your fireplace is in a room long gone from you, remember those of your past and those who shared them, and be thankful. Remember also those who have sat with you beside all the fires of your life, those who need no fireplace of bricks and mortar to laugh with you, and eat with you, and share your fears and delights. The fireplace may no longe
Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists. A highly trained neurosurgeon, Alexander knew that NDEs feel real, but are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.
Then, Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.
Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself.
Alexander’s story is not a fantasy. Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. Today Alexander is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.
This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life.
In this Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness? How the Mind Works synthesizes the most satisfying explanations of our mental life from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and other fields to explain what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and contemplate the mysteries of life.
This edition of Pinker's bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.
How many times have you seen a murder on the news or on a TV show like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and said to yourself, “How could someone do something like that?”
Today, neuroscientists are imaging, mapping, testing and dissecting the source of the worst behavior imaginable in the brains of the people who lack a conscience: psychopaths. Neuroscientist Dean Haycock examines the behavior of real life psychopaths and discusses how their actions can be explained in scientific terms, from research that literally looks inside their brains to understanding how psychopaths, without empathy but very goal-oriented, think and act the way they do. Some don’t commit crimes at all, but rather make use of their skills in the boardroom.
But what does this mean for lawyers, judges, psychiatrists, victims, and readers—for anyone who has ever wondered how some people can be so bad. Could your nine-year-old be a psychopath? What about your co-worker? The ability to recognize psychopaths using the scientific method has vast implications for society, and yet is still loaded with consequences.
The New York Times–bestselling author of The Brain That Changes Itself presents astounding advances in the treatment of brain injury and illness. Now in an updated and expanded paperback edition.
Winner of the 2015 Gold Nautilus Award in Science & Cosmology
In his groundbreaking work The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge introduced readers to neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to change its own structure and function in response to activity and mental experience. Now his revolutionary new book shows how the amazing process of neuroplastic healing really works. The Brain’s Way of Healing describes natural, noninvasive avenues into the brain provided by the energy around us—in light, sound, vibration, and movement—that can awaken the brain’s own healing capacities without producing unpleasant side effects. Doidge explores cases where patients alleviated chronic pain; recovered from debilitating strokes, brain injuries, and learning disorders; overcame attention deficit and learning disorders; and found relief from symptoms of autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and cerebral palsy. And we learn how to vastly reduce the risk of dementia, with simple approaches anyone can use.
For centuries it was believed that the brain’s complexity prevented recovery from damage or disease. The Brain’s Way of Healing shows that this very sophistication is the source of a unique kind of healing. As he did so lucidly in The Brain That Changes Itself, Doidge uses stories to present cutting-edge science with practical real-world applications, and principles that everyone can apply to improve their brain’s performance and health.
Luca Turin can distinguish the components of just about any smell, from the world’s most refined perfumes to the air in a subway car on the Paris metro. A distinguished scientist, he once worked in an unrelated field, though he made a hobby of collecting fragrances. But when, as a lark, he published a collection of his reviews of the world’s perfumes, the book hit the small, insular business of perfume makers like a thunderclap. Who is this man Luca Turin, they demanded, and how does he know so much? The closed community of scent creation opened up to Luca Turin, and he discovered a fact that astonished him: no one in this world knew how smell worked. Billions and billions of dollars were spent creating scents in a manner amounting to glorified trial and error.
The solution to the mystery of every other human sense has led to the Nobel Prize, if not vast riches. Why, Luca Turin thought, should smell be any different? So he gave his life to this great puzzle. And in the end, incredibly, it would seem that he solved it. But when enormously powerful interests are threatened and great reputations are at stake, Luca Turin learned, nothing is quite what it seems.
Acclaimed writer Chandler Burr has spent four years chronicling Luca Turin’s quest to unravel the mystery of how our sense of smell works. What has emerged is an enthralling, magical book that changes the way we think about that area between our mouth and our eyes, and its profound, secret hold on our lives.
From the Hardcover edition.
Like our bodies, our brains have very specific food requirements. And in this eye-opening book from an author who is both a neuroscientist and a certified integrative nutritionist, we learn what should be on our menu.
Dr. Lisa Mosconi, whose research spans an extraordinary range of specialties including brain science, the microbiome, and nutritional genomics, notes that the dietary needs of the brain are substantially different from those of the other organs, yet few of us have any idea what they might be. Her innovative approach to cognitive health incorporates concepts that most doctors have yet to learn. Busting through advice based on pseudoscience, Dr. Mosconi provides recommendations for a complete food plan, while calling out noteworthy surprises, including why that paleo diet you are following may not be ideal, why avoiding gluten may be a terrible mistake, and how simply getting enough water can dramatically improve alertness.
Including comprehensive lists of what to eat and what to avoid, a detailed quiz that will tell you where you are on the brain health spectrum, and 24 mouth-watering brain-boosting recipes that grow out of Dr. Mosconi's own childhood in Italy, Brain Food gives us the ultimate plan for a healthy brain. Brain Food will appeal to anyone looking to improve memory, prevent cognitive decline, eliminate brain fog, lift depression, or just sharpen their edge.
Psychiatry has come a long way since the days of chaining "lunatics" in cold cells. But, as Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, reveals in his eye-opening book, the path to legitimacy for "the black sheep of medicine" has been anything but smooth.
Dr. Lieberman traces the field from its birth as a mystic pseudo-science to its late blooming maturity--beginning after World War II--as a science-driven profession that saves lives. With fascinating case studies and portraits of the field's luminaries--from Sigmund Freud to Eric Kandel--SHRINKS is a gripping read, and an urgent call-to-arms to dispel the stigma of mental illnesses by treating them as diseases rather than unfortunate states of mind.
In the second part of the book, McGilchrist takes the reader on a journey through the history of Western culture, illustrating the tension between these two worlds as revealed in the thought and belief of thinkers and artists, from Aeschylus to Magritte. He argues that, despite its inferior grasp of reality, the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. This is truly a tour de force that should excite interest in a wide readership.
Tricky concepts are illustrated and explained with clarity and precision, as The Human Brain Book looks at how the brain sends messages to the rest of the body, how we think and feel, how we perform unconscious actions (for example, breathing), explores the nature of genius, asks why we behave the way we do, explains how we see and hear things, and how and why we dream. Physical and psychological disorders affecting the brain and nervous system are clearly illustrated and summarized in easy-to-understand terms.
In The Traumatized Brain, neuropsychiatrists Drs. Vani Rao and Sandeep Vaishnavi—experts in helping people heal after head trauma—explain how traumatic brain injury, whether mild, moderate, or severe, affects the brain. They advise readers on how emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety, mania, and apathy can be treated; how behavioral symptoms such as psychosis, aggression, impulsivity, and sleep disturbances can be addressed; and how cognitive functions like attention, memory, executive functioning, and language can be improved. They also discuss headaches, seizures, vision problems, and other neurological symptoms of traumatic brain injury.
By stressing that symptoms are real and are directly related to the trauma, Rao and Vaishnavi hope to restore dignity to people with traumatic brain injury and encourage them to ask for help. Each chapter incorporates case studies and suggestions for appropriate medications, counseling, and other treatments and ends with targeted tips for coping. The book also includes a useful glossary, a list of resources, and suggestions for further reading.-- Bob Woodruff, ABC News Journalist
Neurobiology rolls the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of thenervous system into one complex area of study. Neurobiology ForDummies breaks down the specifics of the topic in a fun,easy-to-understand manner. The book is perfect for students in avariety of scientific fields ranging from neuroscience and biologyto pharmacology, health science, and more. With a complete overviewof the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the nervous system,this complete resource makes short work of the ins and outs ofneurobiology so you can understand the details quickly.
Dive into this fascinating guide to an even more fascinatingsubject, which takes a step-by-step approach that naturally buildsan understanding of how the nervous system ties into the veryessence of human beings, and what that means for those working andstudying in the field of neuroscience. The book includes a completeintroduction to the subject of neurobiology.Gives you an overview of the human nervous system, along with adiscussion of how it's similar to that of other animalsDiscusses various neurological disorders, such as strokes,Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and schizophreniaLeads you through a point-by-point approach to describe thescience of perception, including how we think, learn, andremember
Neurobiology For Dummies is your key to mastering thiscomplex topic, and will propel you to a greater understanding thatcan form the basis of your academic and career success.
—New York Times
“Gazzaniga is one of the most brilliant experimental neuroscientists in the world.”
“Gazzaniga stands as a giant among neuroscientists, for both the quality of his research and his ability to communicate it to a general public with infectious enthusiasm.”
—Robert Bazell, Chief Science Correspondent, NBC News
The author of Human, Michael S. Gazzaniga has been called the “father of cognitive neuroscience.” In his remarkable book, Who’s in Charge?, he makes a powerful and provocative argument that counters the common wisdom that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes we cannot control. His well-reasoned case against the idea that we live in a “determined” world is fascinating and liberating, solidifying his place among the likes of Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio, V.S. Ramachandran, and other bestselling science authors exploring the mysteries of the human brain.
Biology of Sensory Systems has thus been completelyrevised and takes a molecular, evolutionary and comparativeapproach, providing an overview of sensory systems in vertebrates,invertebrates and prokaryotes, with a strong focus on humansenses.
Written by a renowned author with extensive teaching experience,the book covers, in six parts, the general features of sensorysystems, the mechanosenses, the chemosenses, the senses whichdetect electromagnetic radiation, other sensory systems includingpain, thermosensitivity and some of the minority senses and,finally, provides an outline and discussion of philosophicalimplications.
New in this edition:Greater emphasis on molecular biology and intracellularmechanismsNew chapter on genomics and sensory systemsSections on TRP channels, synaptic transmission, evolution ofnervous systems, arachnid mechanosensitive sensilla andphotoreceptors, electroreception in the Monotremata, language andthe FOXP2 gene, mirror neurons and the molecular biology ofpain
Updated passages on human olfaction and gustation.
Over four hundred illustrations, boxes containing supplementarymaterial and self-assessment questions and a full bibliography atthe end of each part make Biology of Sensory Systemsessential reading for undergraduate students of biology, zoology,animal physiology, neuroscience, anatomy and physiologicalpsychology. The book is also suitable for postgraduate students inmore specialised courses such as vision sciences, optometry,neurophysiology, neuropathology, developmental biology.
Praise from the reviews of the first edition:
"An excellent advanced undergraduate/postgraduate textbook."ASLIB BOOK GUIDE
"The emphasis on comparative biology and evolution is one of thedistinguishing features of this self-contained book. .... this isan informative and thought-provoking text..." TIMES HIGHEREDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT
*An NBC News Notable Science Book of 2015*
*Named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2015*
*A Book of the Month for Brain HQ/Posit Science*
*Selected by Forbes as a Must Read Brain Book of 2015*
*On Life Changes Network’s list of the Top 10 Books That Could Change Your Life of 2015*
In the tradition of Oliver Sacks, a tour of the latest neuroscience of schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, ecstatic epilepsy, Cotard’s syndrome, out-of-body experiences, and other disorders—revealing the awesome power of the human sense of self from a master of science journalism.
Anil Ananthaswamy’s extensive in-depth interviews venture into the lives of individuals who offer perspectives that will change how you think about who you are. These individuals all lost some part of what we think of as our self, but they then offer remarkable, sometimes heart-wrenching insights into what remains. One man cut off his own leg. Another became one with the universe.
We are learning about the self at a level of detail that Descartes (“I think therefore I am”) could never have imagined. Recent research into Alzheimer’s illuminates how memory creates your narrative self by using the same part of your brain for your past as for your future. But wait, those afflicted with Cotard’s syndrome think they are already dead; in a way, they believe that “I think therefore I am not.” Who—or what—can say that? Neuroscience has identified specific regions of the brain that, when they misfire, can cause the self to move back and forth between the body and a doppelgänger, or to leave the body entirely. So where in the brain, or mind, or body, is the self actually located? As Ananthaswamy elegantly reports, neuroscientists themselves now see that the elusive sense of self is both everywhere and nowhere in the human brain.
From the Hardcover edition.
Lauren Marks was twenty-seven, touring a show in Scotland with her friends, when an aneurysm ruptured in her brain and left her fighting for her life. She woke up in a hospital with serious deficiencies to her reading, speaking, and writing abilities, and an unfamiliar diagnosis: aphasia. This would be shocking news for anyone, but Lauren was a voracious reader, an actress, director, and at the time of the event, pursuing her PhD. At any other period of her life, this diagnosis would have been a devastating blow. But she woke up…different. The way she perceived her environment and herself had profoundly changed, her entire identity seemed crafted around a language she could no longer access. She returned to her childhood home to recover, grappling with a muted inner monologue and fractured sense of self.
Soon after, Lauren began a journal, to chronicle her year following the rupture. A Stitch of Time is the remarkable result, an Oliver Sacks–like case study of a brain slowly piecing itself back together, featuring clinical research about aphasia and linguistics, interwoven with Lauren’s narrative and actual journal entries that marked her progress. Alternating between fascination and frustration, she relearns and re-experiences many of the things we take for granted—reading a book, understanding idioms, even sharing a “first kiss”—and begins to reconcile “The Girl I Used to Be” with “The Girl I Am Now.” For fans of Brain on Fire and My Stroke of Insight, the deeply personal and powerful A Stitch of Time is an “engrossing” (Publishers Weekly) journey of self-discovery, resilience, and hope.