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The Odd Brain: Mysteries of Our Weird and Wonderful Brains Explained

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Dr. Juan is that rarest of rarities, a scholar with a sense of humor. He fearlessly tours the brain's mysterious corridors, discussing such wide-ranging topics as phobias, compulsive water drinking, serial killers, the secrets of hypnotism, and the man who thought he was a cat. You will find this book absolutely engrossing. Do kleptomaniacs have a legitimate excuse to steal Dr. Juan is that rarest of rarities, a scholar with a sense of humor. He fearlessly tours the brain's mysterious corridors, discussing such wide-ranging topics as phobias, compulsive water drinking, serial killers, the secrets of hypnotism, and the man who thought he was a cat. You will find this book absolutely engrossing. Do kleptomaniacs have a legitimate excuse to steal? Can excessive TV watching physically "shape" a child's growing brain? These answers and scores more fill Dr. Stephen Juan's fascinating and endlessly entertaining book The Odd Brain. Following up his popular first book, The Odd Body, Dr. Juan takes us on an animated tour of the enigmatic organ that sits on top of them all. Equal parts scholarly professor--he teaches at the University of Sydney--cultural detective, and theater of oddities tour guide, Dr. Juan explores bizarre brain disorders and the normal-but-still-weird brain phenomena that we all occasionally experience (like deja vu). Through it all, Dr. Juan pulls off the nifty trick of making the clinical both clear and entertaining. Each chapter is packed with real-life anecdotes and case studies. These include the Criminal Brain, the Savant Brain, the Shy Brain, the Suicidal Brain, the Thrill-Seeking Brain, the Obsessive-Compulsive Brain, and more than 20 others. For anyone who's ever witnessed unusual behavior and thought, "Now, what would make a person do that?" The Odd Brain is sure to have an answer.


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Dr. Juan is that rarest of rarities, a scholar with a sense of humor. He fearlessly tours the brain's mysterious corridors, discussing such wide-ranging topics as phobias, compulsive water drinking, serial killers, the secrets of hypnotism, and the man who thought he was a cat. You will find this book absolutely engrossing. Do kleptomaniacs have a legitimate excuse to steal Dr. Juan is that rarest of rarities, a scholar with a sense of humor. He fearlessly tours the brain's mysterious corridors, discussing such wide-ranging topics as phobias, compulsive water drinking, serial killers, the secrets of hypnotism, and the man who thought he was a cat. You will find this book absolutely engrossing. Do kleptomaniacs have a legitimate excuse to steal? Can excessive TV watching physically "shape" a child's growing brain? These answers and scores more fill Dr. Stephen Juan's fascinating and endlessly entertaining book The Odd Brain. Following up his popular first book, The Odd Body, Dr. Juan takes us on an animated tour of the enigmatic organ that sits on top of them all. Equal parts scholarly professor--he teaches at the University of Sydney--cultural detective, and theater of oddities tour guide, Dr. Juan explores bizarre brain disorders and the normal-but-still-weird brain phenomena that we all occasionally experience (like deja vu). Through it all, Dr. Juan pulls off the nifty trick of making the clinical both clear and entertaining. Each chapter is packed with real-life anecdotes and case studies. These include the Criminal Brain, the Savant Brain, the Shy Brain, the Suicidal Brain, the Thrill-Seeking Brain, the Obsessive-Compulsive Brain, and more than 20 others. For anyone who's ever witnessed unusual behavior and thought, "Now, what would make a person do that?" The Odd Brain is sure to have an answer.

30 review for The Odd Brain: Mysteries of Our Weird and Wonderful Brains Explained

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sergei_kalinin

    С одной стороны очень классная книга - интересная, занимательная, лёгкая, эмоциональная. Своего рода шедевр научпопа, где все жанры хороши, кроме скучного :) . Книга = подборка занимательных фактов о работе мозга/нервной системы и психики человека в норме и патологии. Много впечатляющих цифр, много уникальных и даже шокирующих фактов. Но с другой стороны книга больше похожа не на книгу, а на дайджест (довольно качественно составленный), на подборку газетных вырезок со всякими "сенсациями" :). Ка С одной стороны очень классная книга - интересная, занимательная, лёгкая, эмоциональная. Своего рода шедевр научпопа, где все жанры хороши, кроме скучного :) . Книга = подборка занимательных фактов о работе мозга/нервной системы и психики человека в норме и патологии. Много впечатляющих цифр, много уникальных и даже шокирующих фактов. Но с другой стороны книга больше похожа не на книгу, а на дайджест (довольно качественно составленный), на подборку газетных вырезок со всякими "сенсациями" :). Какой-то единой логики в подаче информации в книге нет - это всего лишь россыпь разрозненных фактов. Это раздражает, потому что запомнить такой объём фактов вне целостной системы практически невозможно :(. Сознаюсь, что читать было интересно :) Вроде давно занимаюсь психологией, но примерно половина фактов из книги оказались для меня новыми. Например, я не знал о "ранней сигнальной триаде" (три поведенческих признака, наличие которых в детстве позволяет с высокой вероятностью прогнозировать склонность к совершению убийства: недержание мочи, любовь к поджогам, жестокость по отношению к животным; см.Главу 20) и т.п. При этом добавлю, что с момента первого издания прошло уже около 10 лет, и приведенные в ней факты местами устарели. Т.е. даже если вы найдёте в тексте что-то особенно для себя интересное - не поленитесь залезть в интернет и проверить информацию. Думаю, что идеальная целевая аудитория для данной книги - старшеклассники или студенты-гуманитарии начальных курсов. Книгу также можно использовать как идеальный справочник для копирайтеров, журналистов, лекторов и т.п. в качестве источника ярких примеров, с помощью которых можно улучшить любой текст о человеческой психике.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena

    I had high hopes for this book. Based on the introduction and description on the inside of the book jacket, I expected a book on abnormal neurology explained in laymen's terms without dehumanizing or insulting people with mental abnormalities. The book failed that expectation in several ways. First, it alternates between being overly simplistic and being overly technical. It contains lots of little factoids and superficial descriptions of various mental disorders, but it also contains passages t I had high hopes for this book. Based on the introduction and description on the inside of the book jacket, I expected a book on abnormal neurology explained in laymen's terms without dehumanizing or insulting people with mental abnormalities. The book failed that expectation in several ways. First, it alternates between being overly simplistic and being overly technical. It contains lots of little factoids and superficial descriptions of various mental disorders, but it also contains passages that requires the reader to have a good working knowledge of neuroanatomy. Don't know where the hypothalamus is or what it does? This book will not clear that up for you, unless you know what the diencephalon is or what the pituitary gland does. Second, it does dehumanize people with mental problems. (Except, for some reason, kleptomania, which the author makes quite a point of describing as no one's fault, both in the introduction and in the chapter on kleptomania) If you or a loved one have any of the disorders mentioned in this book, be prepared to see an unflattering depiction in this book. Occasionally, there is a paragraph encouraging understanding, but these passages are few and far between and not necessarily even phrased in a sympathetic way. For example, after a paragraph promoting "understanding, tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness" towards people with OCD, there is a one-sentence paragraph that reads, "In fact, it should be our obsession." As someone who has OCD, I found that use of the word "obsession" to be in poor taste, not to mention the fact that I'm baffled as to why someone needs to be forgiven for having OCD. Finally, and worst of all, some of the information is just plain wrong. Asperger's is described as an inability to have empathy, leading to violent criminal behavior, which is just not the case. Asperger's is not associated with violence, and a lack of empathy is neither the definition nor one of the diagnostic criteria. The chapter on schizophrenia is subtitled "When you think you're split in two," which is not what schizophrenia is. (Fortunately, the content of the chapter doesn't continue to play off of that common misconception, but I find it troublesome that the chapter title itself is incorrect. And yes, I know what the etymology of "schizophrenia" is, but it's not a literal description of the disorder.) It makes me wonder how much else in this book is wrong, that I just didn't catch because I'm not an expert in brain science or abnormal psychology. So, despite my interest in the subject matter, I do not recommend this book. And if you do choose to read it, take it with plenty of grains of salt.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Miriam

    A light read. Full of fun facts about human brains and behavior. He comes off as incredibly trusting in scientists (and their molecular magic) to cure obesity and other brain-related human diseases. Great to read in small doses.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emerson

    It was an interesting book and I learned some things about the brain. Sadly the OCD one did not have much info on it, but I do know there is not much info known but it would have been nice to read more of the thing I have.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Olena Pravylo

    Книжка не розповідає про якісь особливі відкриття чи знахідки нейробіологів. Це така собі научно-популярна книжка з переліком хвороб, в більшості психологічних, які пов'язані з ураженням мозку. Книжка не розповідає про якісь особливі відкриття чи знахідки нейробіологів. Це така собі научно-популярна книжка з переліком хвороб, в більшості психологічних, які пов'язані з ураженням мозку.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Septia Kholimatussadiah

    Dapetin buku impor ini cuma dengan 60ribu di BBW books dua bulan lalu. Inggrisan, tapi seru dan nagihin. Isinya berat tapi pas mbacanya terasa ringan (eh itu gimana ya?!) Skizofrenia, kleptomania, hipnotis, halusinasi, deja vu, prosopagnosia, OCD, hingga otak para kriminal, pembunuh berdarah dingin, 'vampir', pemilik trauma dan fobia, juga mereka yang pemalu atau kelewat narsis, dibuka dan dibedah tuntas oleh penulis buku ini. Buku ini semacam paper review (daftar pustakanya gila!), kumpulan art Dapetin buku impor ini cuma dengan 60ribu di BBW books dua bulan lalu. Inggrisan, tapi seru dan nagihin. Isinya berat tapi pas mbacanya terasa ringan (eh itu gimana ya?!) Skizofrenia, kleptomania, hipnotis, halusinasi, deja vu, prosopagnosia, OCD, hingga otak para kriminal, pembunuh berdarah dingin, 'vampir', pemilik trauma dan fobia, juga mereka yang pemalu atau kelewat narsis, dibuka dan dibedah tuntas oleh penulis buku ini. Buku ini semacam paper review (daftar pustakanya gila!), kumpulan artikel-artikel ilmiah tentang masing-masing kondisi aneh dari otak manusia, yang diringkas dan dimampatkan ke dalam 300 halaman. Kita (eh, saya maksudnya) nggak pernah nyangka bahwa kelainan psikologis bukan sekedar kelainan psikologis; bahwa serial killer (pembunuh berantai) bukan sekedar kriminal atau psikopat; dan bahwa ehm, psikopat bukan sekedar psikopat. Segala jenis kosakata yang hanya kita temukan di novel atau film best seller, yang artinya hanya kita ketahui lewat separagraf wikipedia, dijabarkan dan diberikan penjelasan ilmiahnya di sini: melalui ilmu kedokteran otak (neurologis) dan kejiwaan. Superb!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Belinda

    I read and enjoyed this book whilst studying psychology over a decade ago. I recently picked it up again and had a quick read but couldn’t get past the first chapter which happened to be about Aspergers. When I first read this book I was unfamiliar with disorders such as Aspergers and autism, but I’ve since read quite a bit on the topic. I was therefore appalled to find the brief chapter on this complex disorder being heavily associated with violence and psychotic tendencies! I couldn’t believe I read and enjoyed this book whilst studying psychology over a decade ago. I recently picked it up again and had a quick read but couldn’t get past the first chapter which happened to be about Aspergers. When I first read this book I was unfamiliar with disorders such as Aspergers and autism, but I’ve since read quite a bit on the topic. I was therefore appalled to find the brief chapter on this complex disorder being heavily associated with violence and psychotic tendencies! I couldn’t believe the case study presented was about a young person bashing an older woman simply because they “cannot feel”! I’ve never heard such a ridiculously inaccurate, insulting and simplistic portrayal of a person with Aspergers in my life. I can only hope no one reads this (who has no prior Aspergers knowledge) and believes this garbage. I can only assume the rest of the disorders discussed in the book are not explained with actual facts, therefore this book will be going in the bin!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Xanthi

    A book about medical oddities to do with the brain. It is a little dated now, with some of the information not quite accurate anymore. Also, the part about Aspergers sounded very off the mark. The author describes people with it in such a way that I was left wondering if he got it mixed up with sociopathy! That aside, an interesting read during my breaks at work.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jonah

    If you want a voyeuristic, inaccurate, and exploitative book about brain disorders, this is it. Bleagh! I read a few entries and didn't bother continuing; having family members with multiple of the disorders misdescribed here, I didn't have the stomach to finish it. If you want a voyeuristic, inaccurate, and exploitative book about brain disorders, this is it. Bleagh! I read a few entries and didn't bother continuing; having family members with multiple of the disorders misdescribed here, I didn't have the stomach to finish it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Very interesting and informative book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Zeka Vasch

    Нудновато, но есть полезная информация о тем, чем болеет знаменитый Иван Горбачев

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy Morrissey

    A light, fun read with interesting and weird facts about the human brain.

  13. 4 out of 5

    MaRia

    Even better that "The Odd Body" Even better that "The Odd Body"

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tysia

  15. 5 out of 5

    B Schrodinger

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daria Gudanova

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Ott

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carla

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ihor Kolesnyk

  21. 4 out of 5

    Don Voorhees

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katerina Mihale

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tanya Behagen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Skeeters

  27. 5 out of 5

    Troy David

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

  30. 5 out of 5

    Janice

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