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Publisher's Summary

Locked in the silence and darkness of your skull, your brain fashions the rich narratives of your reality and your identity. Join renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman for a journey into the questions at the mysterious heart of our existence. What is reality? Who are "you"? How do you make decisions? Why does your brain need other people? How is technology poised to change what it means to be human?

In the course of his investigations, Eagleman guides us through the world of extreme sports, criminal justice, facial expressions, genocide, brain surgery, gut feelings, robotics, and the search for immortality. Strap in for a whistle-stop tour into the inner cosmos. In the infinitely dense tangle of billions of brain cells and their trillions of connections, something emerges that you might not have expected to see in there: you.

This is the story of how your life shapes your brain and how your brain shapes your life. (A companion to the six-part PBS series.)

©2015 David Eagleman (P)2015 Random House Audio

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

Awe-inspiring book, but not Eagleman's best

David Eagleman is not just a great writer, he is also, in my opinion, one of the more creative pioneers in the field of neuroscience. His experiments, at first, seems almost like science fiction. But, to his immense credit, he always makes his propositions seem at least potentially realistic, even to a hardcore skeptic such as myself. He even manages to make fantastical ideas, such as sending a conscious brain simulation to an exoplanet, at the speed of light, or hijacking your brain’s computing power to predict changes at the stock market, seem at least potentially attainable.

On the slightly more negative side I think the book is a bit self serving in the sense that much of the book is devoted to Eagleman’s own research. This is not a huge problem because Eagleman’s research is really really interesting, but still, you get the feeling that a bit more of the book could be devoted to other people’s research.

With this book, Eagleman again demonstrates his ability to convey neuroscience and its potential implications in a thoroughly entertaining style. Still, compared to his previous book, Incognito, (which is probably the best popular neuroscience book I have read), this book was more shallow and less coherent. Don’t get me wrong, it is still one of the best books to read if you want to marvel at the brain and its capacity.

30 people found this helpful

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an easy entry for "incognito: abridged"

I loved Incognito: The secret life of the brain. At first I was disappointed that this was very similar and simplified version of incognito, but there's just enough new material as well as the future predictions that make it a worthwhile listen. As the author states in the beginning, this is an entry level introduction to his work and is easy to recommend. If you like this then you'll want to read incognito. After that you should read "Thinking fast, thinking slow" because they compliment each other well.

10 people found this helpful

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Accessible and enlightening

I can not find any faults with this book. My mind was opened to new ideas and the information was easy to digest. David Eagleman's performance was perfect. Excited to watch the PBS series based on this book.

5 people found this helpful

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Entertaining

I don't feel this book actually talked that much about the brain... I thought the author dove too much into social causes he's passionate for, that got preachy, rather than the topic at hand. as an AI data scientist, he was pushing it by the end of the book. Many dogmatic statements of facts that are actually opinions.

3 people found this helpful

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It's good but the same

David Eagleman is good, no doubt, and this is interesting material. Unfortunately for me I'd heard most of it already. This book is explicitly aimed at an audience new to neuroscience, rolls out pretty well known case studies and summary observations that are insightful, stimulating, but quite familiar already for a book published in 2015. Incognito (2011) had a lot of the same.

The delivery, like many audio books, is rather slow but that's a matter of taste. Speeding it up made it l quick and easy. So, I recommend it heartily if it's the first of its kind for you.

3 people found this helpful

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Powerful, informative, riveting, entertaining.

Worth your time. An eye opening look into the most vast and powerful computer ever devised ... our own brain.

2 people found this helpful

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Incognito pt. 2

The first book, incognito, written by the same author, was a great book. This book actually took entire chapters from the first book and passed them in here from the Texas shooter to the sleep walker who killed his family. This should have been titled incognito abridged. You could take this book tear out about 13 pages and pretty much have the whole new book. In my opinion, it was a waste of time and money.

2 people found this helpful

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Makes a textbook easily understood!

this was a great wrap up of what I learned in my last 2 years in behavioral neuroscience. I loved it

2 people found this helpful

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just superb.

gave me a new perspective on how people see things differently depending on their position.

2 people found this helpful

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Wow! This is awful.

I’ve seen Steve talk about brain science before. He’s obviously well educated and enthusiastic so I was eager find out what was in his book. From start to finish he is engaging in wild speculation when he tries to interpret the science. He backs up his claims by making up stories starring the reader and then telling us how we would experience his fictional situations to “prove” his crazy ideas are “true”. Also, he’s wrong A LOT.

1 person found this helpful

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