Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review: Incognito

I apologize for not posting recently, but I've been getting my geek on. As per my last post, I've been indulging in learning more about scientific things that interest me, which includes reading books on astrophysics, math, physics, and neuroscience. In addition to this, I am spending time with my youngest son who is visiting me this summer. So, I hope you'll excuse my absence.

During my quasi-sabbatical, I read a book that I felt needed mentioning. Recently, I finished reading Incognito: Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman.

I first saw Dr. Eagleman discussing some of his research into the brain's mysteries on an episode of Nova ScienceNOW with my hero Neil deGrasse Tyson. Dr. Eagleman was conducting experiments to learn whether our brains perceive time differently during traumatic or scary events. This piqued my curiosity a great deal. Not to mention, he seemed like an extremely intelligent and laid back scientist, which is non-stereotypical of the field.
While recently browsing the bookshelves at Barnes & Noble, I saw this book and immediately remembered watching that episode on TV. I took the book down and quickly looked through it. The concepts outlined in the table of contents sounded very interesting.

I know many of you might think that reading a neuroscience book about our brain functionality seems anything but interesting, but, I have to disagree. For instance, Dr. Eagleman tackles subjects such as how we actually experience what we perceive to be reality; how our consciousness is only a facade for the neural subsystems that really drive what we do; how our brains can easily be fooled by illusions; and, how mental illnesses affect our actions, among other things.

If you're at all curious about how that three pounds of gray matter in your head controls who you are and what you do, I highly recommend this book. I promise, you won't be disappointed by the discoveries waiting for you between the front and back cover. In addition to the rich subject matter, Eagleman writes in a way that doesn't leave the average layperson wondering what he's talking about as many scientific books can.

Unlike most of my previous book reviews, I want to finish this one by leaving you with a video of Dr. Eagleman discussing his book. As always, thanks for stopping by!

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