- Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre
- That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise
- How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This Is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks and David Byrne, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.
The last in a trilogy of books that investigates the philosophical and scientific foundations of human life
Joy, sorrow, jealousy, and awe--these and other feelings are the stuff of our daily lives. In the seventeenth century, the philosopher Spinoza devoted much of his life's work examining how these emotions supported human survival, yet hundreds of years later the biological roots of what we feel remain a mystery. Leading neuroscientist Antonio Damasio--whose earlier books explore rational behavior and the notion of the self--rediscovers a man whose work ran counter to all the thinking of his day, pairing Spinoza's insights with his own innovative scientific research to help us understand what we're made of, and what we're here for.
- How do we read other people?
- What is the neurochemistry behind love and sex?
- What does it mean that the brain is teeming with powerful chemicals closely related to recreational drugs?
- Why does music move us to tears?
- Where do breakthrough ideas come from?
Johnson answers these and many more questions arising from the events of our everyday lives. You do not have to be a neuroscientist to wonder, for example, why do you smile? And why do you sometimes smile inappropriately, even if you don't want to? How do others read your inappropriate smile? How does such interplay occur neurochemically, and what, if anything, can you do about it?
Fascinating and rewarding, Mind Wide Open speaks to brain buffs, self-obsessed neurotics, barstool psychologists, mystified parents, grumpy spouses, exasperated managers, and anyone who enjoys speculating and gossiping about the motivations and behaviors of other human beings. Steven Johnson shows us the transformative power of understanding brain science and offers new modes of introspection and tools for better parenting, better relationships, and better living.
Long before Oliver Sacks became a distinguished neurologist and bestselling writer, he was a small English boy fascinated by metals-also by chemical reactions (the louder and smellier the better), photography, squids and cuttlefish, H.G. Wells, and the periodic table. In this endlessly charming and eloquent memoir, the author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings chronicles his love affair with science and the magnificently odd and sometimes harrowing childhood in which that love affair unfolded.In Uncle Tungsten we meet Sacks' extraordinary family, from his surgeon mother (who introduces the fourteen-year-old Oliver to the art of human dissection) and his father, a family doctor who imbues in his son an early enthusiasm for housecalls, to his "Uncle Tungsten," whose factory produces tungsten-filament lightbulbs. We follow the young Oliver as he is exiled at the age of six to a grim, sadistic boarding school to escape the London Blitz, and later watch as he sets about passionately reliving the exploits of his chemical heroes-in his own home laboratory. Uncle Tungsten is a crystalline view of a brilliant young mind springing to life, a story of growing up which is by turns elegiac, comic, and wistful, full of the electrifying joy of discovery.
In How to Avoid Making Art, the bestselling author of The Artist's Way delivers a (tongue-in-cheek ) guide to doing anything and everything you possibly can to avoid making art. Anyone who is engaged in a creative pursuit will no doubt identify with these wonderful cartoons by award-winning artist Elizabeth Cameron of creative wannabes doing everything except actually getting down to work.
For most people creativity is a serious business, says Julia Cameron. They forget the telling phrase 'the play of ideas' and think that they need to knuckle down and work more. Often, the reverse is true. They need to play. Ultimately, the characters in this book show us how we can turn our procrastination into play and our play into great work. With this delightful volume, Julia Cameron once again hits the nail on the head on the subject of creativity.
A fascinating, provocative book exploring the mysteries of human thought and behavior, by the author of the acclaimed bestseller The Language Instinct.
The human mind is fantastically complex -- we often take its abilities for granted, yet few would argue that any amount of technology will ever duplicate human intelligence. How does the human mind work? How do we see in three dimensions? Why do we fall in love? How do we remember names and faces? How is it, indeed, that we ponder the nature of our own consciousness?
In this bold, extraordinary book, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists and author of the widely praised bestseller The Language Instinct, tackles the intricacies of the human mind to decipher how we think, feel, and act. Using "reverse-engineering" -- determining what natural selection designed the mind to accomplish in a hunting-and-gathering environment -- Pinker explains how the mind stores and uses information, a process that allowed our ancestors to understand and outsmart objects, animals, plants, and each other.
How the Mind Works makes sense of some of the more bewildering aspects of everyday life, such as: why is beauty important to us? How is it that we are moved to tears or laughter? Why do we feel that a run of heads makes the coin more likely to land tails? Why is self-restraint so difficult? This is a witty and compelling work, synthesizing the best of cognitive science and evolutionary biology.