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You: The Owner's Manual for the brain: an expert, comprehensive, and lively guide that makes sense of all the latest scientific findings about how your brain really works. We are using our brains at practically every moment of our lives, and yet few of us have the first idea how they work. Much of what we think we know comes from folklore: that we only use 10 percent of ou You: The Owner's Manual for the brain: an expert, comprehensive, and lively guide that makes sense of all the latest scientific findings about how your brain really works. We are using our brains at practically every moment of our lives, and yet few of us have the first idea how they work. Much of what we think we know comes from folklore: that we only use 10 percent of our brain, or that drinking kills brain cells. These and other brain myths are wrong, as demonstrated by the work of neuroscientists who have spent decades studying this complex organ. However, most of what scientists have learned is not known to the world outside their laboratories. In this readable, lively book, Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang dispel common myths about the brain and provide a comprehensive, useful overview of how it really works. In its pages, you'll discover how to cope with jet lag, how your brain affects your religion, and how men's and women's brains differ. With witty, accessible prose decorated by charts, trivia, quizzes, and illustrations, this book is great for quick reference or extended reading. Both practical and fun, Welcome to Your Brain is perfect whether you want to impress your friends or simply use your brain better.


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You: The Owner's Manual for the brain: an expert, comprehensive, and lively guide that makes sense of all the latest scientific findings about how your brain really works. We are using our brains at practically every moment of our lives, and yet few of us have the first idea how they work. Much of what we think we know comes from folklore: that we only use 10 percent of ou You: The Owner's Manual for the brain: an expert, comprehensive, and lively guide that makes sense of all the latest scientific findings about how your brain really works. We are using our brains at practically every moment of our lives, and yet few of us have the first idea how they work. Much of what we think we know comes from folklore: that we only use 10 percent of our brain, or that drinking kills brain cells. These and other brain myths are wrong, as demonstrated by the work of neuroscientists who have spent decades studying this complex organ. However, most of what scientists have learned is not known to the world outside their laboratories. In this readable, lively book, Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang dispel common myths about the brain and provide a comprehensive, useful overview of how it really works. In its pages, you'll discover how to cope with jet lag, how your brain affects your religion, and how men's and women's brains differ. With witty, accessible prose decorated by charts, trivia, quizzes, and illustrations, this book is great for quick reference or extended reading. Both practical and fun, Welcome to Your Brain is perfect whether you want to impress your friends or simply use your brain better.

30 review for Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys But Never Forget How To Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Behavior

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Previous reviews of this book have ranged from high praise to disdain. This diversity of opinion may reflect a broad spectrum of interests, and background in neuroscience, among the reviewers. As a career neuroscientist, my view is that the authors have done an excellent job of portraying brain and cognitive function, with a subtle but rigorous depth that professionals can appreciate for their individual areas of interest. For more general readers, there is a clear focus throughout on everyday ex Previous reviews of this book have ranged from high praise to disdain. This diversity of opinion may reflect a broad spectrum of interests, and background in neuroscience, among the reviewers. As a career neuroscientist, my view is that the authors have done an excellent job of portraying brain and cognitive function, with a subtle but rigorous depth that professionals can appreciate for their individual areas of interest. For more general readers, there is a clear focus throughout on everyday examples, and these should provide a sense of how brain research is relevant to everyday life. I will quote and then comment on three examples from the book to show what I mean. 1) Question: “I’m losing my memory. Do I have Alzheimer’s disease?” Short Answer: “If you forget where you put your glasses, that’s normal aging. If you forget that you wear glasses, then you probably have dementia.” This simple guideline provides a clear sense of what should be expected with age, and what should be a major concern. The section goes on to explain that dementia involves degeneration of specific brain regions (e.g. cortical frontal lobes), has a strong genetic component, and that exercise and pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen can provide significant protection from its onset. All of these statements are based on rigorous, up-to-date neuroscience/neurological research. 2) (from the book’s subtitle) “Forgetting your keys but remembering how to drive” Question: “In the movie Memento, Leonard has brain damage that leaves him unable to remember what has happened to him just a few moments before”… “Yet he still remembers how to drive a car perfectly well. How can this be?” Answer (excerpts): “Although we normally think of memory as a single phenomenon, it really has many components… Leonard’s trouble learning about new facts and events” (was caused by damage to) “the temporal lobes at the sides of the brain”… “A skill such as driving a car uses a number of brain regions but does not require the temporal lobe system.” Elsewhere in the book, the authors list movies that portray neurological syndromes with accuracy (including Memento, A Beautiful Mind and Awakenings), and those that don’t (e.g. Total Recall and 50 First Dates). In the latter, Drew Barrymore “portrays a pattern of memory loss that never occurs in any known neurological condition”. 3) Question: “Do vaccines cause autism? Short Answer (paraphrased): Very unlikely – the primary ‘evidence’ suggesting a causal link came from sloppy studies that did not have adequate (or any) control groups. On a recent family vacation I was asked this question by at least 5 individuals, while discussing the recent work that my lab has done on an autism model. The idea has been pushed hard by celebrity voices, and a parent whose child is diagnosed with autism will certainly look for answers in the events that preceded the diagnosis. But the authors very carefully explain the rules of evidence in studies that look for cause and effect in such cases. Correlation is not causation – we train all graduate students to understand this. In this instance, one key test would be to compare the number of autism diagnoses that occur just BEFORE vaccination (a legitimate control group) with the number just AFTER vaccination. Such tests provide clear indications that vaccines in current use (some containing trace amounts of a non-toxic form of mercury) are very likely not the culprit. A careful and detailed discussion of these points can be found here: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/... The authors draw similar conclusions about the possible roles of environmental contaminants. But there is recent evidence, published since this book went to press (2008), that some environmental contaminants can and likely do increase the incidence of autism. Children living near coal-burning, mercury-emitting power plants are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with autism than those living farther away (a type of control comparison). Many more studies of this type will be needed to fully resolve this important controversy. Indeed, one core premise of the book is that new research findings can dramatically improve our understanding of both neurological syndromes and normal brain function. The bottom line for all of these examples, and for the book, is that we need to base our ideas about brain function and brain disorders on hard-won facts from careful studies. To do that, we need to know the difference between hard evidence on the one hand, and emotion and ‘myth’ on the other. You can run from the truth, or think of facts as evidence when they really are coincidence, or even fiction. But doing so doesn’t solve the very real and tragic problem of severe disorders like autism. More likely, the confusion of fact and fiction will only make matters worse. I had the good fortune to discuss Sandra Aamodt’s research with her at a Society for Neurosciences meeting some years ago. She told me that she was taking a job at Nature, one of the top 2 or 3 journals in the world for peer-reviewed, cutting edge science in many fields. Today, Dr. Aamodt is Editor-in-Chief of Nature Neuroscience, a highly prestigious spinoff from the parent journal. As such, she sees an enormous number of cutting-edge manuscripts that are submitted for the journal (most of them are rejected without review, or after peer-review, and published in lesser but still good journals). What this means is that Sandra Aamodt has a critical awareness of the latest and best neuroscience research, to an extent that even most professionals will never achieve. The take-home message is that this book, co-written by Drs. Aamodt and Sam Wang, is not pop psychology designed to make a quick buck on a marketable idea. It is a precise, closely reasoned discussion of brain function, notwithstanding the studied simplicity of some passages. It is also a readable book that can potentially be enjoyed by a wide audience. Yes, you will need to think carefully to follow the trail – some won’t want to go there, and others already know the path and will prefer more challenging material. If this is your first read on how the brain works, my advice is to start with any section that interests you from the table of contents. Keep in mind that what you are reading is an accurate portrayal of the state of the art, as current as you are likely to find in a popularized book on science. To me, that makes it a winner.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tagwa Warrag

    Understanding the biology and chemistry behind many emotional concepts as love, blindly trusting people, falling for jerks, anxiety, autism, even dreams was: number one, really cool i felt so much intellectually educated lol, and number two, kind of made me less hard on my own self with a bit more tolerance. I was thinking that i should read more of this well-written non-fictions that analyze topics in a funny and light way -since i started getting easily bored because of some bad bookish choice Understanding the biology and chemistry behind many emotional concepts as love, blindly trusting people, falling for jerks, anxiety, autism, even dreams was: number one, really cool i felt so much intellectually educated lol, and number two, kind of made me less hard on my own self with a bit more tolerance. I was thinking that i should read more of this well-written non-fictions that analyze topics in a funny and light way -since i started getting easily bored because of some bad bookish choices that i have been making lately and the so many books that i left unfinished. I want to thank Manfred for the hardcover edition of book, which i borrowed from him but it ended up as a gift : ))

  3. 4 out of 5

    Todd Martin

    Welcome to Your Brain is a nice overview of the brain and its functions. Although it doesn’t go into much depth, the book is well written and easy to read. Overall, it’s an good introduction to neuroscience for non-scientists. Two criticisms: 1) The book is replete with bounded side boxes, each a few paragraphs in length, with a short explanation of a topic related to the main text. I found these to be both distracting and annoying as you are forced to repeatedly interrupt the flow of the book wi Welcome to Your Brain is a nice overview of the brain and its functions. Although it doesn’t go into much depth, the book is well written and easy to read. Overall, it’s an good introduction to neuroscience for non-scientists. Two criticisms: 1) The book is replete with bounded side boxes, each a few paragraphs in length, with a short explanation of a topic related to the main text. I found these to be both distracting and annoying as you are forced to repeatedly interrupt the flow of the book with these side discussions. It would have been better had the authors simply incorporated these topics into the main body of the text. 2) The authors characterized Richard Dawkins as a “bomb thrower”, an accusation that is unsupported by the evidence. Someone who presents data to critique a view of history, math or science is not considered a “bomb thrower”. Neither are criticisms of politics, social institutions or public policy viewed as such. One, and only one, topic appears to be immune from rational discourse, and that is the topic of religion. Dawkins has simply applied the rules of evidence we use in every other aspect of life to spiritual beliefs. I think “rationalist” would have been a better descriptor.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karlan

    Although published for adults, this reminded me of the good ya nonfiction I enjoy reading. The great subtitle sets the tone for an exploration of recent knowledge about the human brain. I keep telling friends bits of information I learned in the small boxes throughout. Did you know frequent jet lag can cause brain damage? 25% of the US population sneezes when they see a bright light. And lots of amusing quotes, too. Made me want to do a booktalk.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kit

    I liked reading this book, but only half of the book was interesting to me, other half was not so much. I already read something similar and knew some facts before, but anyway i recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about brain funtions and in general about yourself.

  6. 5 out of 5

    May Ling

    Summary: Lots of good solid info. This category is getting very crowded and difficult to make a splash in. I think it's hard to get 5 stars relative to some of the targetted writing like The male brain and the female brain. Book starts with a great test. If you pass it, you prob already know too much about the brain and this will not be your book. First, can I say, I hate Kindle having books with no page numbers. It is the worst. Chapter 4 - The idea and example that you are actually quite able to Summary: Lots of good solid info. This category is getting very crowded and difficult to make a splash in. I think it's hard to get 5 stars relative to some of the targetted writing like The male brain and the female brain. Book starts with a great test. If you pass it, you prob already know too much about the brain and this will not be your book. First, can I say, I hate Kindle having books with no page numbers. It is the worst. Chapter 4 - The idea and example that you are actually quite able to multi-task, it's just the degree to which you allow and train yourself to do so. The video game example is an interesting one. Makes you think about how ought you to treat people who are constantly on their phone. Also in this chapter, they talk about the dangers of people frequently cross many time zones and how this can create damage to brain and memory. I don't quite get the impression they know why though, which is unfortunate. Hard to say if this is a real study. Chapter 5 - It talks about weight loss. The brain doesn't like to use fat for energy. It also talks about the fact that there are may studies on calorie restriction and extended life. This whole fasting thing is really intriguing. Chptr 6- You need to train the senses. The whole patch over an eye is a bad thing. Let your eyes figure out how to see out of both or have depth perception and a host of other issues for year. I had this prob as a kid personally and still cant really catch a ball correctly. Chpt 7 - Hearing. they talk about how amazing the brain is at differentiating sound. When you're a kid, you can do it among foreign languages. Later you kind of can't. There is very little done on multi-lingual, which is what i find curoius. It also talks about how the brain rewires to hone in on particular sounds. It also says that the hearing experiments show that certain parts of the brain are far more plastic early on, but others are fine on plasticity later. It's intriguing. 90% of your brain is done at age 6 though. Chtr 10 - they talk about Mozart has nothing to do with baby development but stimuli in general do. Most of baby research though is on animals, not actual babies. That would be cruel. Chptr 11 - Even deaf children that learn to sign late have difficulty with grammar, etc. The whole information on pitch and how absolute pitch is genetic and more common among those that speak tonal languages. Most people have relative pitch. There is an area in the brain that relates to sound that is more developed. But then again Stravinsky started training late, so you just don't know. Chapter 12 - 90% of size by age 6. They now know it's about the connections that you create. This can dictate more what is going on. Intellligence is about synapses and forming the hell out of them. Ch 14 - Older people use different parts of their brain to accomplish the same task as young people. Has to do how we conceptualize (?) the task, using both right and left brain most of the time. Anything you learned thoroughly when you were young tends to be spared as you age. Chapter 18 - Sex is the one thing that makes people truly happy. Nothing else correlates quite as high. All the other stuff, writing down gratefulness, small things pale in comparison. Ch 19 - ADHD was great for hunter gathering. Ch 20 - The relationship between trust, oxytocin and sex. Ch 22 - Women perform worse when reminded that women are dumb. Women in general are worse at spatial recognition, though if you add testosterone to them, they suddenly become great at it. Ch 25 - Men think about the physical arrangement of hte world diff from women. Also, the Larry Summers comment on men being better at math, he missed the distribution. Men on average and according to the distribution are better, it's the extremes of the distribution. Ch 29 - The importance of blood flow to the brain. You get about 3 hrs. Ch 30 - Trips and their impact on seratonin Ch 31 - The use of brain-machine interfaces for curing depression.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wilson

    (Note: This review is for the audio version, which at the time of this writing isn't listed on Goodreads.) This book was okay. I learned some interesting things. Most people would learn more than I did, because I follow the Brain Science Podcast and have read other brain science books. The most valuable thing I learned was just how scary strokes are. Holy crap. To me, that stuff is scarier than any horror story! What I disliked the most was the chapter on religion. The parts of the chapters that ar (Note: This review is for the audio version, which at the time of this writing isn't listed on Goodreads.) This book was okay. I learned some interesting things. Most people would learn more than I did, because I follow the Brain Science Podcast and have read other brain science books. The most valuable thing I learned was just how scary strokes are. Holy crap. To me, that stuff is scarier than any horror story! What I disliked the most was the chapter on religion. The parts of the chapters that aren't an attack on atheist writers are basically an apologetic for why brain science doesn't invalidate religious belief, even while science tries to explain such belief. For a book that claims so hard to be based on science and scientific research, this was a huge disappointment.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ca’Layci Coffey

    I really enjoyed reading “Welcome to Your Brain” by Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D and Sam Wang, Ph.D. Prior to reading this book for a class assignment, I was not aware of all the inaccuracies that I believed about the brain and how it works. This book addresses those myths and common misconceptions, while also diving into the complex processes and characteristics of the brain. The text is broken into six parts. Each part explores a different topic related to the brain including the anatomy of the brain, I really enjoyed reading “Welcome to Your Brain” by Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D and Sam Wang, Ph.D. Prior to reading this book for a class assignment, I was not aware of all the inaccuracies that I believed about the brain and how it works. This book addresses those myths and common misconceptions, while also diving into the complex processes and characteristics of the brain. The text is broken into six parts. Each part explores a different topic related to the brain including the anatomy of the brain, how the brain develops, senses, emotions, decision-making, memory, spirituality, and how the brain operates in altered states (dreams, consciousness, drugs and alcohol). This book begins with a quiz on common misconceptions about the brain. I completed the quiz before reading the chapters, which made for a fun and engaging reading experience. Each question on the quiz is addressed at some point in the text. I appreciated the decision to include those topics in the text, as I scored a 6/20 on the “how well do you know your brain” quiz—yikes! I also enjoyed the myths vs. facts portions of the text. I liked how the discussion about myths related to the topic in the chapter were discussed in a separate text box completely dedicated to debunking said myths. It is amazing what we allow ourselves to believe, but even more amazing to get a glimpse into why we believe those things. Exploring the origins of the myths presented was a fun side-bar activity throughout the text. This text was sometimes difficult to follow when discussing the complex processes of the brain and occasionally, I wondered if the information I was reading was rooted in science or personal beliefs. Nevertheless, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a light, leisure read packed full of information on why, and how, our brain does all the things it can do!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mysti

    In connection with my career, I have studied various aspects of the brain as they apply to learning, but I am the first to admit that I am not a neuroscientist nor can I even begin to have a true understanding of how the brain works; however, it is a subject that I have found interesting over the years. In this book, Aamodt and Wang explain various aspects of the brain and how it works in simple terms with everyday examples. This approach is very reader friendly as it does not put-off the reade In connection with my career, I have studied various aspects of the brain as they apply to learning, but I am the first to admit that I am not a neuroscientist nor can I even begin to have a true understanding of how the brain works; however, it is a subject that I have found interesting over the years. In this book, Aamodt and Wang explain various aspects of the brain and how it works in simple terms with everyday examples. This approach is very reader friendly as it does not put-off the reader with pretentious jargon, which is greatly appreciated. One of the topics discussed is how our brains relate to and perceive the world around us. They include examples from popular films and how our brains interpret video and still images. They even go on to make that all too important connection of our brain and weight as this is a struggle many deal with. Along with these more pedestrian topics, they lay out the actual workings of neurons and synapses which make up the actual workings of our brains in terms even I could understand. The authors go on to cover the topic of how the 5 senses interact and are controlled by different portions of our brains and how that governs our perception of the world. One of the more interesting subjects they tackle is the brain and how it changes throughout one’s lifespan looking from early childhood development to adolescent hormonal changes to the brain through to the affects of aging and how to counteract these affects. They go on to discuss both the emotional as well as the rational aspects and how those can sometimes play against one another. The final supposition that is made is how the brain is affected and altered by sleep, religion, injuries, therapy, and substances. Overall, this book takes a fascinating yet understandable look at the brain and how it functions and is influenced. The everyday examples and suppositions they make allows for an understanding and connection by readers even if they have little prior knowledge of the brain or neuroscience tenants.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chase Brisendine

    As a Middle School teacher and a future parent I found this book very helpful about how the human brain works. This book provides an in depth study of the senses, development of the brain, emotions and altered states of the human brain. This book provides a lot of information that could be very beneficial to anyone in the education field or anyone who is a parent. This book takes an in-depth look at how the senses help humans learn. This book explains how each one of these senses are connected t As a Middle School teacher and a future parent I found this book very helpful about how the human brain works. This book provides an in depth study of the senses, development of the brain, emotions and altered states of the human brain. This book provides a lot of information that could be very beneficial to anyone in the education field or anyone who is a parent. This book takes an in-depth look at how the senses help humans learn. This book explains how each one of these senses are connected to the brian, and how the brain interprets this into learning. For example the book mentions that we do not like bitter tasting food because bitter is often associated with toxins. The part I enjoyed most as a teacher was how the brain develops through someone's life. The book covers how young children and babies learn how older people can retain the information that they learned throughout their lives. The book also covers how humans deal with emotions that we deal with. The book describes how emotions motivate us to shape our behaviors to seek our desires and to avoid fears and physical pain. Emotions are often thought to cloud decision making, but they actually help in the decision making process. The last part I wanted to cover is what if the brain is altered. This part of the book covers what happens when something happens to your brain like drug or alcohol abuse. These things can have an effect on learning and decision making of the brain. Overview this book takes a deep dive into the processes and functions of the human brain, and I would encourage educators, parents, and any other person that has personal interest in the brain. This book will bring some insight on the human brain.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sidney (aka Sidsbooks)

    I absolutely loved reading this book. I was incredibly engaged towards differing facts and myths mentioned within each chapter and getting to dive deeper into interesting topics. I almost felt as if I was back in high school studying Psychology again, which was one of my favourite subjects. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in furthering your knowledge towards an incredibly complex organ we all possess.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Story: It’s a book about your brain. What we know about how it works, what we don’t know, and everything in between. The book helps to dispel a lot of popular myths (we do use more than just 10% of our brain) and discusses several studies on how our brain works with our senses, reasoning, intelligence, and more. Thoughts: This was an enjoyable book that almost anyone would find something interesting in. While it seems a bit technical at times, it makes efforts to break everything down and has humor Story: It’s a book about your brain. What we know about how it works, what we don’t know, and everything in between. The book helps to dispel a lot of popular myths (we do use more than just 10% of our brain) and discusses several studies on how our brain works with our senses, reasoning, intelligence, and more. Thoughts: This was an enjoyable book that almost anyone would find something interesting in. While it seems a bit technical at times, it makes efforts to break everything down and has humor sprinkled throughout. The myths it dispels are worth the purchase just to impress your friends the next time they bring up one of these common misnomers. Should you read it? Yes. You will learn enjoy learning about your brain.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    A decent book with good description of a variety of topics involving the brain, decision-making, diseases and neuroscience for the lay person. If you are a neuroscientist you might find it a bit simplistic, but for most people it makes the topics accessible. If you want to know more about how your brain works, this is the book for you!

  14. 5 out of 5

    C. Hsiung

    You don't need to read this book in chronological order. Each chapter is self-contained and contains a number of boxed articles that are interesting and sometimes insightful. It's a good book to go back to or to pick up any chapter at random and start reading. If you're curious about the workings of the brain, you'll find this book interesting. You don't need to read this book in chronological order. Each chapter is self-contained and contains a number of boxed articles that are interesting and sometimes insightful. It's a good book to go back to or to pick up any chapter at random and start reading. If you're curious about the workings of the brain, you'll find this book interesting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Himes

    This is a great book if you like to challenge your mind! I really enjoy exploring how your brain really works. It also offers challenging quizzes, test, and puzzles for people who enjoy those kinds of things!

  16. 4 out of 5

    David Rolo

    While there are some incredibly interesting parts of this book about how your brain works I feel like the book was bogged down with some of the more scientific explanations. I felt at times like I was reading a text book, which is not so enjoyable to me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hopemontier

    This book doesn't cover any new ground, and it's a bit on the simplistic side fr me, but it's clear and readable. This book doesn't cover any new ground, and it's a bit on the simplistic side fr me, but it's clear and readable.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    So far, I'm really enjoying this book. It debunks a lot of common brain myths and has good, seemingly accurate information written in a readable, but not condescending, way. So far, I'm really enjoying this book. It debunks a lot of common brain myths and has good, seemingly accurate information written in a readable, but not condescending, way.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Read from recommendation from Ray Dalio's list from "Principles". Rudimentary at best. Read from recommendation from Ray Dalio's list from "Principles". Rudimentary at best.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    The human brain is the most difficult organ in the human body to investigate. You can see a heart pumping, lungs filling, muscles moving, and stomachs churning to get some idea of how they work and what they do. However, just looking at a human brain in action doesn’t tell you about how it is functioning; no lights flash and no lobes pulsate. While CAT and MRI scans show you that things are happening, it is difficult to know what section of the brain is doing what. In fact, research has shown th The human brain is the most difficult organ in the human body to investigate. You can see a heart pumping, lungs filling, muscles moving, and stomachs churning to get some idea of how they work and what they do. However, just looking at a human brain in action doesn’t tell you about how it is functioning; no lights flash and no lobes pulsate. While CAT and MRI scans show you that things are happening, it is difficult to know what section of the brain is doing what. In fact, research has shown that often multiple locations of the brain are involved in even a single action or thought. Because the brain is so difficult to study, over the years a lot of myths and misinformation about it have emerged. Doctors Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang have written a book to try to not only explain what we know about the brain but, perhaps equally as important, identify many of the misconceptions we have about it. This book goes into a fair amount of scientific detail but, by dividing it up into short sections, creating interesting “asides” sections, and presenting everything with as little jargon as possible the authors have geared this book toward the general public. They have also humanized it by including vignettes from their own lives to illustrate points they wish to make. Neurology and the study of the brain is a rapidly changing field. This book was written in 2008 and several ideas mentioned are already becoming obsolete based on new discoveries utilizing more modern technology. Despite this, Aamodt and Wang have written a book that gives a lot of information that is both current theory and provoking of thought. Daring to go into areas that many other authors skirt, Aamodt and Wang have sections about how brain function might relate to sex-linked test performance, drug use and abuse, sexual orientation, and religion. While I disagree with some of the ideas they present and a few of the theories mentioned have already been refuted by later study, I admire that they were willing delve into dangerous waters. Putting forth their ideas and the most current information available to them prods the reader into considering their own thoughts on these matters and to read further about areas that interest them. The amount scientists know about the brain has increased dramatically over the past decade. However, the brain is not quick to give up its secrets and direct research is severely limited because it would be immoral to just jab probes or cut into a living brain. Fortunately, researchers are developing techniques to “peer inside” without using a scalpel. Let us hope that future discoveries will allow doctors to treat conditions that are currently untreatable. Despite being a decade old, I enjoyed reading Welcome To Your Brain. I learned quite a bit, put into perspective some things I had learned in other books, and found that I held some old myths about brain function that have been repudiated.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Oktay Yagiz

    Written by two neuroscientists, this is a book unique in its ability in addressing both the sophisticate and the layman (like myself) for a better understanding of our gray matter that weighs only about two pounds yet consumes more energy per weight than any other organ in the human body and is made up of about one hundred billion (100,000,000,000) cells. Not afflicted by the highbrow style of the aloof scientist, the book reads like a coffee-table chat, yet is unapologetically unforgiving of the Written by two neuroscientists, this is a book unique in its ability in addressing both the sophisticate and the layman (like myself) for a better understanding of our gray matter that weighs only about two pounds yet consumes more energy per weight than any other organ in the human body and is made up of about one hundred billion (100,000,000,000) cells. Not afflicted by the highbrow style of the aloof scientist, the book reads like a coffee-table chat, yet is unapologetically unforgiving of the so many myths and misconceptions that have misled us regarding the structure, function, ability, and shortcomings of the brain and the correlation between these and the intellect. The authors warn the readers of the risks of being lured by claims (mostly marketing sell) for medical treatment, advising that we first "check if the treatment is described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature', second "ignore testimonials", third "follow the money", and fourth "get a second opinion". The book subtly sprinkled throughout with humor places the greatest emphasis for brain development on regular physical exercise, ending with advice that we (I for one) might better take to heart: "If you have $400 (to spend on computerized brain exercises), the best advice is to buy yourself a gym membership... or turn off the computer and go for a brisk walk. Your brain will thank you."

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Cervas

    I’ve had the great privilege of working with one of the authors in a completely different context and I admire his work in my area very much. It turns out, he’s even better at his first job. This book is a fun, and very accessible read. The chapters seem to be about 4-5 pages on average (okay I did the math it’s closer to 6.5 pages... gotta use the brian occasionally). I like that I can read in short spurts, and that’s reflected in the 6 months it took to finish. In any case, if you are wonderin I’ve had the great privilege of working with one of the authors in a completely different context and I admire his work in my area very much. It turns out, he’s even better at his first job. This book is a fun, and very accessible read. The chapters seem to be about 4-5 pages on average (okay I did the math it’s closer to 6.5 pages... gotta use the brian occasionally). I like that I can read in short spurts, and that’s reflected in the 6 months it took to finish. In any case, if you are wondering about how the brian works, what myths exists about increasing intelligence, how sleep helps us function, or how the best exercise to enhance brain power is physical, get yourself a copy of this book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Aamodt begins with a physical tour, lobe by lobe, before visiting aspects of the brain — memory, emotion, reason, changes with age, and so on. Aamodt and Wang purposely try to correct popular misconceptions about the brain — that we only use 10% of our minds, for instance, or that concussions are a reliable means of incurring and recovering from amnesia. As surveys go, it’s broad and generally fascinating, but the amount of material to cover means that interested reads are only given an agonizin Aamodt begins with a physical tour, lobe by lobe, before visiting aspects of the brain — memory, emotion, reason, changes with age, and so on. Aamodt and Wang purposely try to correct popular misconceptions about the brain — that we only use 10% of our minds, for instance, or that concussions are a reliable means of incurring and recovering from amnesia. As surveys go, it’s broad and generally fascinating, but the amount of material to cover means that interested reads are only given an agonizing taste of many subjects.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    I liked this, but I would have enjoyed more depth for fewer subjects. Having written this, I reserve my right to return and change to higher marks (most likely not giving fewer stars) as I recognize some of these revelations -- ahem, extended welcomes -- play out in my life. Good for direct descriptions, this book tempts me to read more about how our brains work and sometimes fail to work.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lindstromsteph

    Great information for laymen’s neuroscience and covered a wide range of neuro subjects (memory, language, aging). Unfortunately, it was written very much like You: The Owners Manual, and I had higher expectations.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emir

    A great science book for what would be called 'laymen'. It gives straightforward answers to some highly debated questions and builds explanations on them; does this with a simple and understandable language while throwing jokes occassionally. It was a good read. A great science book for what would be called 'laymen'. It gives straightforward answers to some highly debated questions and builds explanations on them; does this with a simple and understandable language while throwing jokes occassionally. It was a good read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Adam Roll

    Great book with a lot of interesting insight. We do use one hundred percent of our brains, and alcohol doesn't kill nerve cells were two of the more interesting thoughts for me, but there's something here on every page if you are interested in science, or like using your brain. Great read. Great book with a lot of interesting insight. We do use one hundred percent of our brains, and alcohol doesn't kill nerve cells were two of the more interesting thoughts for me, but there's something here on every page if you are interested in science, or like using your brain. Great read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stevie Farmer

    Did you know that over the course of a day, your brain uses the amount of energy contained in two large bananas? Also, the brain is only 3% of the body’s weight, but it consumes 17% of the body’s total energy! ⁣⁣These are just a few of the interesting facts I learned while reading this book. It was easy to read and easy to understand. I really enjoyed the format with small excerpts of tips, tricks, and facts. I recommend this for anyone who has an interest in neuroscience or psychologist.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karen Caulfield

    A well-written and organized overview of what is known about how the brain works. It is a little on the dry side and probably could have used a little more anecdotal evidence.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joel Ogunjimi

    This is one of my top favourite books so far. the authors did a great job simplifying the brain and its functions for the layman and I've learnt a lot from reading it. This is one of my top favourite books so far. the authors did a great job simplifying the brain and its functions for the layman and I've learnt a lot from reading it.

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