Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart

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The award-winning New York Times bestseller about the extraordinary things that can happen when we harness the power of both the brain and the heart
 
Growing up in the high desert of California, Jim Doty was poor, with an alcoholic father and a mother chronically depressed and paralyzed by a stroke. Today he is the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, of which the Dalai Lama is a founding benefactor. But back then his life was at a dead end until at twelve he wandered into a magic shop looking for a plastic thumb. Instead he met Ruth, a woman who taught him a series of exercises to ease his own suffering and manifest his greatest desires. Her final mandate was that he keep his heart open and teach these techniques to others. She gave him his first glimpse of the unique relationship between the brain and the heart.
 
Doty would go on to put Ruth’s practices to work with extraordinary results—power and wealth that he could only imagine as a twelve-year-old, riding his orange Sting-Ray bike. But he neglects Ruth’s most important lesson, to keep his heart open, with disastrous results—until he has the opportunity to make a spectacular charitable contribution that will virtually ruin him. Part memoir, part science, part inspiration, and part practical instruction, Into the Magic Shop shows us how we can fundamentally change our lives by first changing our brains and our hearts.

 
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About the author

James R. Doty, M.D., is a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), where he researches the neuroscience of compassion and altruism. He is also a philanthropist funding health clinics throughout the world and has endowed scholarships and chairs at multiple universities. He serves on the board of a number of nonprofits, including the Charter for Compassion International and the Dalai Lama Foundation.
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4.4
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Feb 2, 2016
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780698404021
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Psychology / Personality
Science / Life Sciences / Neuroscience
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Katrina Firlik is a neurosurgeon, one of only two hundred or so women among the alpha males who dominate this high-pressure, high-prestige medical specialty. She is also a superbly gifted writer–witty, insightful, at once deeply humane and refreshingly wry. In Another Day in the Frontal Lobe, Dr. Firlik draws on this rare combination to create a neurosurgeon’s Kitchen Confidential–a unique insider’s memoir of a fascinating profession.

Neurosurgeons are renowned for their big egos and aggressive self-confidence, and Dr. Firlik confirms that timidity is indeed rare in the field. “They’re the kids who never lost at musical chairs,” she writes. A brain surgeon is not only a highly trained scientist and clinician but also a mechanic who of necessity develops an intimate, hands-on familiarity with the gray matter inside our skulls. It’s the balance between cutting-edge medical technology and manual dexterity, between instinct and expertise, that Firlik finds so appealing–and so difficult to master.

Firlik recounts how her background as a surgeon’s daughter with a strong stomach and a keen interest in the brain led her to this rarefied specialty, and she describes her challenging, atypical trek from medical student to fully qualified surgeon. Among Firlik’s more memorable cases: a young roofer who walked into the hospital with a three-inch-long barbed nail driven into his forehead, the result of an accident with his partner’s nail gun, and a sweet little seven-year-old boy whose untreated earache had become a raging, potentially fatal infection of the brain lining.

From OR theatrics to thorny ethical questions, from the surprisingly primitive tools in a neurosurgeon’s kit to glimpses of future techniques like the “brain lift,” Firlik cracks open medicine’s most prestigious and secretive specialty. Candid, smart, clear-eyed, and unfailingly engaging, Another Day in the Frontal Lobe is a mesmerizing behind-the-scenes glimpse into a world of incredible competition and incalculable rewards.
From head trauma to scientific wonder—a “deeply absorbing . . . fascinating” true story of acquired savant syndrome (Entertainment Weekly).

Twelve years ago, Jason Padgett had never made it past pre-algebra. But a violent mugging forever altered the way his brain worked. It turned an ordinary math-averse student into an extraordinary young man with a unique gift to see the world as no one else does: water pours from the faucet in crystalline patterns, numbers call to mind distinct geometric shapes, and intricate fractal patterns emerge from the movement of tree branches, revealing the intrinsic mathematical designs hidden in the objects around us.
 
As his ability to understand physics skyrocketed, the “accidental genius” developed the astonishing ability to draw the complex geometric shapes he saw everywhere. Overcoming huge setbacks and embracing his new mind, Padgett “gained a vision of the world that is as beautiful as it is challenging.” Along the way he fell in love, found joy in numbers, and spent plenty of time having his head examined (The New York Times Book Review).
 
Illustrated with Jason’s stunning, mathematically precise artwork, his singular story reveals the wondrous potential of the human brain, and “an incredible phenomenon which points toward dormant potential—a little Rain Man perhaps—within us all” (Darold A. Treffert, MD, author of Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired, and Sudden Savant).
 
“A tale worthy of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! . . . This memoir sends a hopeful message to families touched by brain injury, autism, or neurological damage from strokes.” —Booklist
 
“How extraordinary it is to contemplate the bizarre gifts that might lie within all of us.” —People
In Listen to the Patient Ciric weaves together the story of his life, which brought him from a continent and ocean away to the US, with the meaning, secrets, and ethical aspects of neurosurgery, including the unique privilege and daunting responsibility of navigating through the hidden nooks and crannies of the human brain. Through a series of select patients stories and operations, Ciric describes the cascading steps leading up to a neurosurgical procedure for a variety of brain and spinal cord maladies, and he shares the intricate details and majestic beauty of brain and spinal cord surgeries.

Blending technical information with personal stories and humor, this memoir reminisces about a life well lived.

This is an extremely pleasant walk through reminiscences in the life of a true neurosurgical giant. Colleagues and laity will gather much from his lifewell-lived and hard-workedand the sage lessons derived from the collisions of past and present, success and failure, hope and despair, are eloquently described in this story of dedication and devotion from the humble humanity of this remarkable man. I highly recommend the read.

John L. D. Atkinson MD, FACS, Professor of Neurosurgery, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota

This book is an inspiring odyssey. Its elegant prose describes the character and accomplishments of a premier neurosurgeon. His intellect and surgical prowess are responsible for important technical and conceptual advances in the challenging field of neurological surgery. This is a chronicle of a true surgeons surgeon, a valued educator, and a role model for many of his peers.

Edward R. Laws, MD, FACS, Professor of Neurosurgery, Harvard Medical School

An extraordinary memoir about the cutting-edge brain therapy that dramatically changed the life and mind of John Elder Robison, the New York Times bestselling author of Look Me in the Eye

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST

Imagine spending the first forty years of your life in darkness, blind to the emotions and social signals of other people. Then imagine that someone suddenly switches the lights on.

It has long been assumed that people living with autism are born with the diminished ability to read the emotions of others, even as they feel emotion deeply. But what if we’ve been wrong all this time? What if that “missing” emotional insight was there all along, locked away and inaccessible in the mind?

In 2007 John Elder Robison wrote the international bestseller Look Me in the Eye, a memoir about growing up with Asperger’s syndrome. Amid the blaze of publicity that followed, he received a unique invitation: Would John like to take part in a study led by one of the world’s foremost neuroscientists, who would use an experimental new brain therapy known as TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, in an effort to understand and then address the issues at the heart of autism? Switched On is the extraordinary story of what happened next.

Having spent forty years as a social outcast, misreading others’ emotions or missing them completely, John is suddenly able to sense a powerful range of feelings in other people. However, this newfound insight brings unforeseen problems and serious questions. As the emotional ground shifts beneath his feet, John struggles with the very real possibility that choosing to diminish his disability might also mean sacrificing his unique gifts and even some of his closest relationships. Switched On is a real-life Flowers for Algernon, a fascinating and intimate window into what it means to be neurologically different, and what happens when the world as you know it is upended overnight.

Praise for Switched On

“An eye-opening book with a radical message . . . The transformations [Robison] undergoes throughout the book are astonishing—as foreign and overwhelming as if he woke up one morning with the visual range of a bee or the auditory prowess of a bat.”—The New York Times

“Astonishing, brave . . . reads like a medical thriller and keeps you wondering what will happen next . . . [Robison] takes readers for a ride through the thorny thickets of neuroscience and leaves us wanting more.”—The Washington Post

“Fascinating for its insights into Asperger’s and research, this engrossing record will make readers reexamine their preconceptions about this syndrome and the future of brain manipulation.”—Booklist

“Like books by Andrew Solomon and Oliver Sacks, Switched On offers an opportunity to consider mental processes through a combination of powerful narrative and informative medical context.”—BookPage

“A mind-blowing book that will force you to ask deep questions about what is important in life. Would normalizing the brains of those who think differently reduce their motivation for great achievement?”—Temple Grandin, author of The Autistic Brain

“At the heart of Switched On are fundamental questions of who we are, of where our identity resides, of difference and disability and free will, which are brought into sharp focus by Robison’s lived experience.”—Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Effect
Co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post Arianna Huffington shows how our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted compromises our health and our decision-making and undermines our work lives, our personal lives--and even our sex lives in this New York Times bestseller.

We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis, with profound consequences to our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. What we need is nothing short of a sleep revolution: only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.

In The Sleep Revolution, Arianna explores all the latest science on what exactly is going on while we sleep and dream. She takes on the sleeping pill industry, and all the ways our addiction to technology disrupts our sleep. She also offers a range of recommendations and tips from leading scientists on how we can get better and more restorative sleep, and harness its incredible power.

The result is a sweeping, scientifically rigorous, and deeply personal exploration of sleep from all angles, from the history of sleep, to the role of dreams in our lives, to the consequences of sleep deprivation, and the new golden age of sleep science that reveals the vital role sleep plays in our every waking moment and every aspect of our health--from weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease to cancer and Alzheimer’s.  

In today's fast-paced, always-connected, perpetually-harried and sleep-deprived world, our need for a good night’s sleep is more important--and elusive--than ever. The Sleep Revolution both sounds the alarm on our worldwide sleep crisis and provides a detailed road map to the great sleep awakening that can help transform our lives, our communities, and our world.
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