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Publisher's Summary

From the author of How Emotions Are Made, a myth-busting primer on the brain in the tradition of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

Have you ever wondered why you have a brain? Let renowned neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett demystify that big gray blob between your ears. In seven short essays (plus a bite-sized story about how brains evolved), this slim, entertaining, and accessible collection reveals mind-expanding lessons from the front lines of neuroscience research. You'll learn where brains came from, how they're structured (and why it matters), and how yours works in tandem with other brains to create everything you experience. Along the way, you'll also learn to dismiss popular myths such as the idea of a "lizard brain" and the alleged battle between thoughts and emotions, or even between nature and nurture, to determine your behavior.

Sure to intrigue casual listeners and scientific veterans alike, Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain is full of surprises, humor, and important implications for human nature - a gift of a book that you will want to savor again and again.

©2020 Lisa Feldman Barrett (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Acclaimed neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett narrates her series of essays in this brief but sprightly introduction to the brain. In her erudite, enthusiastic voice…Barrett's goal is to give compelling and comprehensible information to a general audience. In this production she has definitely succeeded." - AudioFile Magazine, An Earphones Award Winner

“An excellent education in brain science…[Feldman Barrett] deftly employs metaphor and anecdote to deliver an insightful overview of her favorite subject…so short and sweet that most readers will continue to the 35-page appendix, in which the author delves more deeply, but with no less clarity, into topics ranging from teleology to the Myers-Briggs personality test to ‘Plato’s writings about the human psyche.’ Outstanding popular science.” - Kirkus, STARRED

"What about that 'three-pound blob between your ears'? In seven essays about the brain and a half-size one about its evolution…Barrett has crafted a well-written tribute to this wow-inducing organ." - Booklist 

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What listeners say about Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain

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A very misleading book

This is one of the best example of a scientist who gave up her soul just to be popular and make a buck

1. on the actual science - to a general audience that doesnt have a background in this area, to claim specific functions are NOT related to any specific part of the brain is incrediblly misleading and certified malpractice , there are bunch more but I wont waste the time listing them all
2. all scientists know the danger of trying to shoehorn their field of expertise into large social economical issue and thus is recommended to tread very carefully - not this author, who blissfully touted her theory on poverty, human as a overrated species and etc social hot button issues with no real research or expertise to back that up

I am quite sure she is going to sell ton of her book targeting a specific segment of the population but it really besmirch her as a scientist

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misinformation

author constantly goes outside of her area of expertise, into things like economics and is just wrong.
in an attempt to simplify several of her essays actually contradict themselves.
it is especially troubling because not many people know much on the subject and are going to come away with a understanding of the brain that is completely incorrect.
I was very excited to read the book but am extremely disappointed.

10 people found this helpful

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A summary of some summaries, but beautifully done

This is a short, succinct and efficient presentation of the most current thinking in Dr. Barrett’s large research community. This will contradict many of the theories about the brain, the body and personhood that we have heard for years and which a large number of writers and researchers are still espousing as we speak.

This book presents these positions in brief form, leaving much of the proof of their arguments to a downloadable appendix and to their outlay in her previous publications. If you aren’t already familiar with the author’s previous book, which was also a summary of her academic publications, then that is a fleshier place to start and this book will require extending the author a modicum of faith. That said, from my perspective it is justified and this is a powerful rundown of the biological underpinnings of our human experience, leaving much room for hope.

5 people found this helpful

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A Children's Book

Perfect book about the brain, if you are a child, or just like to be talked to as you were one.

I gave up when the author - which by the way seemingly is one of the last defenders of the blank slate doctrine in science - explained that poverty is bad and just the result of dumb politicians.

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Excellent primer about new brain science

This is a well produced audiobook read by the author. The only issue I had is that to get the full experience one really needs to be able to look at the website at the same time, but this is a minor issue for a very worthwhile book.

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Very interesting!

The author has a beautiful speaking voice and a way of making a complex subject interesting and easy to understand. I especially enjoyed the chapter on how a child’s brain develops. A must for all new parents!!

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Excellent book. Must read.

Concepts are excellently organized and explained. Must read if you want to better understand the human brain.

3 people found this helpful

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  • dp
  • 12-15-20

Treat Your Brain and Predict the results

Listen. Learn. Re-listen. Rewire and Predict. This is a book you have to listen to and I predict that you will listen more than once. Down with essentialism!

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slow reader & little bit of a Wokie

started w/ a lot of promise.. but soon grew tired of the languorous, plodding voice of the author.. sounds like she is obsessed with the listener absorbing every syllable.
Also, the more it went on, the more the author's far-left political views kept creeping in. Just for the record, Im on the left myself (just not woke!), im just not looking for politics to be interjected in a book about the brain. When she started portraying Greta Thunberg as having some unique sort of cognitive system.. that's when i tapped out.

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Lisa, thank you!

I can't even begin to explain how much Lisa's books and talks have influenced my predictions and behavior.

if you think about it, don't, just get this book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-16-20

An overview not an extra insight

I chose this hoping to increase and challenge my existing understanding of the brain. I found that it didn't diverge greatly from my undergrad/working knowledge other than one specific main point. I was disappointed that the book didnt open up more challenging concepts and real world applications.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-22

Great Book

Full of knowledge and wisfom. Scientific researches and common sense too. Enjoyed the voice and the reading style as wrll. Thank you for such a useful book, everybody should read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • D. J. Wilkinson
  • 05-01-22

But I thought that…

This is a really useful and thought provoking book that dispels many of the old ideas about how our brains work and should be read by every trainer and consultant out there that relies anything to do with neurology.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Melanie Lowndes
  • 04-05-22

A very interesting book.

There were really interesting ideas and concepts in this book, fo that I see things (myself and the world) differently after reading it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • TJohnson
  • 12-31-21

If interested in the topic, this is a great start!

Complex concepts explained in simple and plain English!

Might be repetitive if you are beyond it up to an advanced level in this matter.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-18-21

Wowser... what a brilliant book!

I heard of the author after an interview with Tom Swarbrick on LBC - STUNNING work, absolutely brilliant, endlessly fascinating, supremely helpful!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matthew Dashper-Hughes
  • 09-11-21

A must read neuroscience primer

This book ought to be required reading for everyone who deals with other human beings. In other words: everyone.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tony
  • 08-14-21

thought provoked

a very gentle but profound peek at humans and what goes on under the hat.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-14-21

Short, sweet and informative

Lisa's descriptions are concise and vivid creating wonderful imagery for complex mechanisms ❤️I'm probably going to be listening again sometime soon 😅 Loved it!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Seagull
  • 04-14-21

Compelling, informative, clear and very well read

This is an excellent book to get a clear, concise and fascinating insight into the latest thinking on how the brain functions and the amazing feats it's capable of. It's a perfect book for those of us who are not experts, academics or neuroscientists (although I'm sure it'd appeal to them to) but nevertheless want current insights into brain research. I can imagine listening to these 'lessons' several times over. It's extremely well read by the author who has very pleasant and clear reading voice that keeps your attention and never jars or distracts. I hope she will produce more books in this format. I highly recommend this. I learned a lot and it has excited my imagination and deepened my curiosity: all of which feel good in my brain - splendid work!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Steven Di Pietro
  • 02-12-21

Brilliant. I put it On the shelf with God delusion

Brilliant book. It’s rare to find a book that makes you challenge your most dearly held beliefs. The God delusion was one, Sam Harris and his discussion about free will is another, and this book for its dismantling of my fairytale. I love it when an author talks to their own book, and Lisa handles it with aplomb.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-10-21

Transformed a huge deal of complexity so simply.

Author imprinted her understanding of the Brain straight to the reader's brain with a genius execution of flow.

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  • Grant Dewar
  • 04-28-21

Accessible wisdom

Anyone can make complex information difficult to understand. Lisa Feldman Barrett has a briiliant way of making the complexity of neuroscience understandable and accessible. She has turned this knowledge into wisdom in 7 1/2 lessons.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-24-21

Exceptional with actionable insights

Lisa has done an amazing job taking such a complex topic and breaking this down into an easy to understand and apply narrative. The intersection of deep science and with the social context is well crafted and this makes the science outcomes relevant and actionable in our lives. I have found myself unconsciously referencing the lessons from this book to other topics and texts. I have recommended the book to my family and friends. Great work Lisa!