The Idiot Brain
Author: Dean Burnett
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
A neuroscientist’s delightful tour of our mysterious, mischievous, entirely fallible grey matter It’s happened to all of us at some point. You walk into the kitchen, or flip open your laptop, or stride confidently up to a lectern, filled with purpose?and suddenly haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re doing. Welcome to your idiot brain. Yes, it is an absolute marvel in some respects?the seat of our consciousness, the pinnacle (so far) of evolutionary progress and the engine of all human experience?but your brain is also messy, fallible and about 50,000 years out of date. We cling to superstitions, remember faces but not names, miss things sitting right in front of us and lie awake at night while our brains replay our greatest fears on an endless loop. Yet all of this, believe it or not, is the sign of a well-meaning brain doing its best to keep you alive and healthy. In The Idiot Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett celebrates blind spots, blackouts, insomnia and all the other downright laughable things our minds do to us, while also exposing the many mistakes we’ve made in our quest to understand how our brains actually work. Expertly researched and entertainingly written, this book is for everyone who has wondered why their brain appears to be sabotaging their life, and what on earth it is really up to.
The Idiot Brain
Author: Dean Burnett
Publisher: Guardian Faber Publishing
Why do you lose arguments with people who know MUCH LESS than you? Why can you recognise that woman, from that thing... but can't remember her name? And why, after your last break-up, did you find yourself in the foetal position on the sofa for days, moving only to wipe the snot and tears haphazardly from your face? Here's why: the idiot brain. For something supposedly so brilliant and evolutionarily advanced, the human brain is pretty messy, fallible and disorganised. For example, did you know that your memory is egotistical? That conspiracy theories and superstitions are the inevitable effects of a healthy brain? Or that alcohol can actually improve your memory?** In The Idiot Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett tours our mysterious and mischievous grey (and white) matter. Along the way he explains the human brain's imperfections in all their glory and how these influence everything we say, do and experience. Expertly researched and entertainingly written, this book is for anyone who has wondered why their brain appears to be sabotaging their life, and what on earth it is really up to. **Editor's note: please read the book before testing this conclusion.
The Idiot Brain
Author: Dean Burnett
The brain may be the seat of consciousness and the engine of all human experience, but it’s also messy, fallible and disorganized. It’s undeniably impressive, but it’s far from perfect, and these imperfections influence everything that humans say, do and experience. In The Idiot Brain, Dean Burnett celebrates the downright laughable things our minds do to us, as well as exposing the fact that people are often way off in their thinking about how the brain works. For example, did you know that your memory is egotistical? stress can actually increase your performance at a task? conspiracy theories and superstitions stem from your brain’s insistence that the world isn’t random? the brain’s limitations mean you really can miss something that’s right under your nose? the way the brain’s processing works means that time really does fly if you’re having fun? alcohol can sometimes improve your memory? Dean Burnett’s unpredictable and entertaining first book explores the unexpected side of everyday life, highlighting where conventional thinking is wrong and how our brains trip us up at every turn. This is lucid, funny and smart: in short, the best kind of popular science.
Neuroscientist Dean Burnett dives into the squishy science and bubbly feelings of what happiness means. The pursuit of happiness is one of the most common and enduring quests of human life. It’s what drives us to get a job, fall in love, watch stand-up comedy, go to therapy, have questionable obsessions, and come home at the end of the day. But where does happiness come from, and why do we need it so much? Is lasting, permanent happiness possible—or should it be? And what does any of this have to do with the brain? In this delightful sequel to Idiot Brain, Dean Burnett explores these questions from a neuroscientific perspective. He combines the latest research and theories about how the brain works with interviews and contributions from relevant individuals, such as relationship experts, psychology professors, comedy writers, celebrities, millionaire gurus, and pretty much anyone else involved in bringing about happiness in others. Distinguished by Burnett’s signature wit and curiosity, Happy Brain elucidates our understanding of what happiness actually is, where it comes from, and what exactly is going on in our brains when we’re in a cheery state. Humorous and enlightening, Happy Brain explores a fascinating aspect of modern neuroscience and, in the process, reveals something about what it means to be human.
The Memory Illusion
Author: Dr Julia Shaw
Publisher: Random House
Think you have a good memory? Think again. Memories are our most cherished possessions. We rely on them every day of our lives. They make us who we are. And yet the truth is they are far from being the accurate record of the past we like to think they are. True, we can all admit to having suffered occasional memory lapses, such as entering a room and immediately forgetting why, or suddenly being unable to recall the name of someone we've met dozens of times. But what if our minds have the potential for more profound errors, that enable the manipulation or even outright fabrication of our memories? In The Memory Illusion, forensic psychologist and memory expert Dr Julia Shaw uses the latest research to show the astonishing variety of ways in which our brains can indeed be led astray. She shows why we can sometimes misappropriate other people's memories, subsequently believing them to be our own. She explains how police officers can imprison an innocent man for life on the basis of many denials and just one confession. She demonstrates the way radically false memories can be deliberately implanted, leading people to believe they had tea with Prince Charles, or committed crimes that never happened. And she reveals how, in spite of all this, we can improve our memory through simple awareness of its fallibility. Fascinating and unnerving in equal measure, The Memory Illusion offers a unique insight into the human brain, challenging you to question how much you can ever truly know about yourself.
We live in times of great change on Earth. In fact, while previous shifts from one geological epoch to another were caused by events beyond human control, the dramatic results of our emission of carbon to the atmosphere over the past century have moved many scientists to declare the dawn of a new era: the Anthropocene, or Age of Man. Watching this consensus develop from her seat as an editor at Nature, Gaia Vince couldn’t help but wonder if the greatest cause of this dramatic planetary change—humans’ singular ability to adapt and innovate—might also hold the key to our survival. And so she left her professional life in London and set out to travel the world in search of ordinary people making extraordinary changes and, in many cases, thriving. Part science journal, part travelogue, Adventures in the Anthropocene recounts Vince’s journey, and introduces an essential new perspective on the future of life on Earth.
You're no idiot, of course. You know your own mind, but when it comes to understanding what's really going on in your head - all those synapses, all those neurones - you feel like you're just about brain-dead! Don't let it unnerve you! 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding the Brain' proves that you don't need to be a genius to be in the know, and gives you losts of fun stuff to think about, too. In this 'Complete Idiot's Guide', you get: -The history of human knowledge of the brain. -Insights into what causes brain disorders and how best to treat them. -Thoughtful tips about the many different ways we learn new information.
Author: David Eagleman
"The dramatic story of the brain's role in creating our world, our experience of it, and ourselves; the basis for a PBS television series by the bestselling David Eagleman. How does a three pound mass of biological matter locked in the dark, silent fortress of the skull produce the extraordinary multi-sensory experience that comprises us, while also constructing reality and guiding us through the endless need to make decisions and determine our judgments and into a future that we are convinced we are shaping? David Eagleman compares the brain to a cityscape with different neighborhoods where neural networks vie for supremacy and determine our behavior in ways we are not always aware or in control of. At the same time, he suggests that the brain works as a storyteller--creating a narrative that allows us to navigate and make sense of a world that it is busy constructing for us"--
“Engrossing … [An] expedition through the hidden and sometimes horrifying microbial domain.” —Wall Street Journal “Fascinating—and full of the kind of factoids you can't wait to share.” —Scientific American Parasites can live only inside another animal and, as Kathleen McAuliffe reveals, these tiny organisms have many evolutionary motives for manipulating the behavior of their hosts. With astonishing precision, parasites can coax rats to approach cats, spiders to transform the patterns of their webs, and fish to draw the attention of birds that then swoop down to feast on them. We humans are hardly immune to their influence. Organisms we pick up from our own pets are strongly suspected of changing our personality traits and contributing to recklessness and impulsivity—even suicide. Germs that cause colds and the flu may alter our behavior even before symptoms become apparent. Parasites influence our species on the cultural level, too. Drawing on a huge body of research, McAuliffe argues that our dread of contamination is an evolved defense against parasites. The horror and revulsion we are programmed to feel when we come in contact with people who appear diseased or dirty helped pave the way for civilization, but may also be the basis for major divisions in societies that persist to this day. This Is Your Brain on Parasites is both a journey into cutting-edge science and a revelatory examination of what it means to be human. “If you’ve ever doubted the power of microbes to shape society and offer us a grander view of life, read on and find yourself duly impressed.” —Heather Havrilesky, Bookforum
Author: Chris Helder
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Positive thinking has had its time — the new way of overcoming life's challenges is USEFUL BELIEF Useful Belief turns the "be positive" industry upside down with a fresh and modern approach to achievement. Sometimes things in life are not positive. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. If you've had a nightmare of a year, the last thing you want to hear is "Be positive!" Instead, you need an actual strategy to dig yourself out, and a truly useful guidebook to show you where to go next. This is that guidebook. Through the engaging tale of a business traveller and the three significant encounters on his journey, this book takes you on a journey of your own — to self awareness, and an improved approach to business, parenting and relationships. You'll learn how thinking "useful" is better than thinking "positive", and you'll uncover the utility of your past, present and future challenges. You'll undergo a major shift in the way you solve your problems, and you'll learn how to navigate your way out of ambiguity and toward success. If you have challenges at work right now, just deciding to "be positive" will not fix them. Useful belief and strategy will. This book shows you how to frame your challenges to make them surmountable, and how to formulate an action plan for getting where you need to be. Learn a simple self-awareness strategy that turns problems into plans Discover the truth about "truth" and the importance of "useful" Go beyond positivity to actually fix personal and professional problems Uncover the valuable lessons you've learned from the challenges you've overcome Everything that has ever happened to you has happened for a reason. It doesn't matter if it's true, because it's useful to believe it is true. Useful Belief leads you toward the self-awareness and strategic outlook you need to achieve personal fulfillment and professional success.
Is It All in Your Head?
Author: Suzanne O'Sullivan
Publisher: Other Press, LLC
A neurologist's insightful and compassionate look into the misunderstood world of psychosomatic disorders, told through individual case histories It's happened to all of us: our cheeks flush red when we say the wrong thing, or our hearts skip a beat when a certain someone walks by. But few of us realize how much more dramatic and extreme our bodies' reactions to emotions can be. Many people who see their doctor have medically unexplained symptoms, and in the vast majority of these cases, a psychosomatic cause is suspected. And yet, the diagnosis of a psychosomatic disorder can make a patient feel dismissed as a hypochondriac, a faker, or just plain crazy. In IS IT ALL IN YOUR HEAD? neurologist Suzanne O'Sullivan, MD, takes us on a journey through the world of psychosomatic illness, where we meet patients such as Rachel, a promising young dancer now housebound by chronic fatigue syndrome, and Mary, whose memory loss may be her mind's way of protecting her from remembering her husband's abuse. O'Sullivan reveals the hidden stresses behind their mysterious symptoms, approaching a sensitive topic with patience and understanding. She addresses the taboos surrounding psychosomatic disorders, teaching us that "it's all in your head" doesn't mean that something isn't real, as the body is often the stand-in for the mind when the latter doesn't possess the tools to put words to its sorrow. She encourages us to look with compassion at the ways in which our brains act out, and to question our failure to credit the intimate connection between mind and body.
Author: Gail Jarrow
Publisher: Highlights Press
In March 1900, San Francisco’s health department investigated a strange and horrible death in Chinatown. A man had died of bubonic plague, one of the world’s deadliest diseases. But how could that be possible? Bubonic Panic tells the true story of America’s first plague epidemic—the public health doctors who desperately fought to end it, the political leaders who tried to keep it hidden, and the brave scientists who uncovered the plague’s secrets. Once again, acclaimed author and scientific expert Gail Jarrow brings the history of a medical mystery to life in vivid and exciting detail for young readers. This title includes photographs and drawings, a glossary, a timeline, further resources, an author’s note, a bibliography, and source notes.
Pink Brain, Blue Brain
Author: Lise Eliot
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Turning conventional thinking about gender differences on its head, Lise Eliot issues a call to close the troubling gaps between boys and girls and help all children reach their fullest potential. Drawing on years of exhaustive research and her own work in the field of neuroplasticity, Eliot argues that infant brains are so malleable that small differences at birth become amplified over time as parents, teachers, and the culture at large unwittingly reinforce gender stereotypes. Indicating points of intervention where social pressures can be minimised, she offers concrete solutions for helping everyone grow into wellrounded individuals.
Get a money makeover from the legendary FT columnist, Mrs Moneypenny, author of Mrs Moneypenny's Careers Advice for Ambitious Women. Why do personal finances present such a hurdle for women? And what can we do about it? In her bestselling book Mrs Moneypenny's Careers Advice for Ambitious Women, Mrs Moneypenny stressed the importance of financial literacy and introduced the idea of a 'financial finish line' - or how much money you need in your lifetime. But how do you know what 'enough' looks like? And how do you get there? In this essential and punchy guide, the hilarious and wise Mrs Moneypenny shows you how to set your own financial finish line, and then how to go about reaching it. From increasing your income to cutting your bills cutting your grocery bills, from starting a business to saving a pension, she gives practical, easy ways to think about your money and take control of your life. Whether you're struggling to remember what interest rate you are paying on your mortgage, or are an entrepreneur trying to raise the finance for your business, this book will inspire you, inform you, and above all, empower you. 'Clever, wise, funny and necessary. This book should be by every woman's bed' -Jeanette Winterson 'This is just the book I wish someone who cared about me and my indigent future had pressed into my clueless hands when I was in my twenties' -Rachel Johnson For over 14 years Mrs Moneypenny has been entertaining readers of the Financial Times with her weekly column. She presented the Channel 4 series 'Superscrimpers', and the Mrs Moneypenny show has run at the Edinburgh Fringe, off Broadway and the Hay Festival. She is the author of Mrs Moneypenny's Careers Advice for Ambitious Women. Heather McGregor owns and runs Taylor Bennett, the executive search firm. She is a committed philanthropist in the area of employability and social mobility, having founded the Taylor Bennett Foundation in 2008, and is currently the chair of Career Academies Foundation.
The GCHQ Puzzle Book
Publisher: Penguin UK
** WINNER OF 'STOCKING FILLER OF THE YEAR AWARD' GUARDIAN ** Pit your wits against the people who cracked Enigma in the official puzzle book from Britain's secretive intelligence organisation, GCHQ. 'A fiendish work, as frustrating, divisive and annoying as it is deeply fulfilling: the true spirit of Christmas' Guardian 'Surely the trickiest puzzle book in years. Crack these fiendish problems and Trivial Pursuit should be a doddle' Daily Telegraph If 3=T, 4=S, 5=P, 6=H, 7=H ... what is 8? What is the next letter in the sequence: M, V, E, M, J, S, U, ? Which of the following words is the odd one out: CHAT, COMMENT, ELF, MANGER, PAIN, POUR? GCHQ is a top-secret intelligence and security agency which recruits some of the very brightest minds. Over the years, their codebreakers have helped keep our country safe, from the Bletchley Park breakthroughs of WWII to the modern-day threat of cyberattack. So it comes as no surprise that, even in their time off, the staff at GCHQ love a good puzzle. Whether they're recruiting new staff or challenging each other to the toughest Christmas quizzes and treasure hunts imaginable, puzzles are at the heart of what GCHQ does. Now they're opening up their archives of decades' worth of codes, puzzles and challenges for everyone to try. In this book you will find: - Tips on how to get into the mindset of a codebreaker - Puzzles ranging in difficulty from easy to brain-bending - A competition section where we search for Britain's smartest puzzler Good luck! 'Ideal for the crossword enthusiast' Daily Telegraph