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Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To

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The brain is an absolute marvel—the seat of our consciousness, the pinnacle (so far) of evolutionary progress, and the engine of human experience. But it’s also messy, fallible, and about 50,000 years out of date.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 endlessly replay our g The brain is an absolute marvel—the seat of our consciousness, the pinnacle (so far) of evolutionary progress, and the engine of human experience. But it’s also messy, fallible, and about 50,000 years out of date.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 endlessly replay our greatest fears. Idiot Brain is for anyone who has ever wondered why their brain appears to be sabotaging their life—and what on earth it is really up to. A Library Journal Science Bestseller and a Finalist for the Goodreads Choice Award in Science Technology.


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The brain is an absolute marvel—the seat of our consciousness, the pinnacle (so far) of evolutionary progress, and the engine of human experience. But it’s also messy, fallible, and about 50,000 years out of date.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 endlessly replay our g The brain is an absolute marvel—the seat of our consciousness, the pinnacle (so far) of evolutionary progress, and the engine of human experience. But it’s also messy, fallible, and about 50,000 years out of date.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 endlessly replay our greatest fears. Idiot Brain is for anyone who has ever wondered why their brain appears to be sabotaging their life—and what on earth it is really up to. A Library Journal Science Bestseller and a Finalist for the Goodreads Choice Award in Science Technology.

30 review for Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed Samir

    One of the most wonderful popular science books I have been lucky to come across. Although sometimes the examples diverge from the point, Burnett’s comedy and wit tend to make it worthwhile and very enjoyable. The book is plagued with scientific riches presented in the most elegant way possible. I not only learned loads from the book, but have used it for episodes on my YouTube channel. Extremely accessible and very enjoyable!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

    ^Are you excited already? Well, my idiot brain genuinely liked this book very much, and it's always right, isn't it? (not really). Admittedly, specialists would probably find the explanations simplistic (I extrapolate), but then, why would they read this book in the first place? Neuroscientists, this book is not for you. You think you're so clever, right? (hehe) Anyway, given that my knowledge on the subject is very limited (understand : I studied language and metacognition in teaching school, h ^Are you excited already? Well, my idiot brain genuinely liked this book very much, and it's always right, isn't it? (not really). Admittedly, specialists would probably find the explanations simplistic (I extrapolate), but then, why would they read this book in the first place? Neuroscientists, this book is not for you. You think you're so clever, right? (hehe) Anyway, given that my knowledge on the subject is very limited (understand : I studied language and metacognition in teaching school, had some notions about the way our vision sucks, but that's about it), Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To was a pleasurable and interesting book for me. I tend to find non-fiction books hard to rate, because my usual categories do not work : there's no such thing as a world-building or characters, for example. However, even these beloved categories are never really objective - or, rather, the way I use them is necessarily subjective, because Hello, biases. Therefore it won't come as a surprise that I followed a fundamentally biased pattern to give my stars : ... Also, I have a better self-esteem now because I realized that being Cartesian (mostly, I'm still afraid of clowns and dolls, BECAUSE OF REASONS) after having been raised surrounded by superstitions and other beliefs is actually pretty great. Yay, me. I kid, I kid. Mostly. I do know that technically, there are seven (eight) stars, but then, I never said that I was logical. The truth is, even though there were parts harder to get through, I was never bored. Now, perhaps this review is part of a great conspiracy to make you spend your money. Perhaps. *Looks in the distance* We'll never know... star vector For more of my reviews, please visit:

  3. 5 out of 5

    Greta G

    “Dedicated to every human with a brain. It’s not an easy thing to put up with, so well done.” Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist who also dabbles in stand-up comedy and writes a popular science blog ‘Brain Flapping’ for the Guardian, has written a very accessible and entertaining book on the weird and peculiar processes in the brain that influence everything we say, do and experience. Our sense of self and all that goes with it – memory, language, emotion, perception and so on – is supported by proce “Dedicated to every human with a brain. It’s not an easy thing to put up with, so well done.” Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist who also dabbles in stand-up comedy and writes a popular science blog ‘Brain Flapping’ for the Guardian, has written a very accessible and entertaining book on the weird and peculiar processes in the brain that influence everything we say, do and experience. Our sense of self and all that goes with it – memory, language, emotion, perception and so on – is supported by processes in our brain. Everything you are is a feature of your brain, and much of what your brain does is dedicated to making you look and feel as good as possible: the brain is largely egotistical. The brain is primed to think up potential threats and makes us constantly afraid. The brain’s love of patterns and hatred of randomness leads many people to bizarre beliefs, superstition and conspiracy theories. To the brain, bad things are typically more potent than good things, and criticism typically carries more weight than praise; praise is just telling us what we already know. Less intelligent people usually have illogical self-confidence, and the more confident a person is, the more convincing he is and the more others tend to trust and believe the claims he makes. Apparently it’s human nature that we pay more attention to confident clowns than to insecure intellectuals, who can be perceived as a threat by our egotistical brain. The metaphorical devil and angel on your shoulder are actually lodged in your head. The regions associated with producing motivation and responsive behaviour are present in both brain hemispheres, but do different things on each side; in the right hemisphere they produce negative, avoidance or withdrawal reactions to unpleasant things, and in the left hemisphere they produce positive, active, approach behaviour. Anger is seen as negative and harmful, but it turns out that anger is sometimes useful, because it lowers cortisol, and thus reduces the potential harm caused by stress. Studies have shown that anger causes raised activity in the motivational system in the left hemisphere, potentially prompting someone to deal with a stress-causing threat, thus lowering cortisol further. The right side’s influence doesn’t lead to anything being done about apparent threats, so they persist, causing anxiety and stress. So it’s fine to be angry, just don’t get angry at me! Just buy a punching bag or something. Carefully choose your friends and the group you want to belong to, because other people deeply impact our thought processes; the brain prefers to use other people as a go-to reference for information and for determining our actions in uncertain scenarios. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends. Under certain conditions, a group can actually suppress our individuality ; groupthink can take precedence over logical or reasonable decisions and a lot of extreme or worrying opinions concerning controversial subjects could be explained by group polarisation. No individual who’s part of a group is immune to this; our brain’s desire for group harmony is powerful. People derive much of their identity from the groups they belong to ; in certain conditions this can seriously alter our behaviour, and our brain can make us hostile to those who threaten our group or undermine the group uniformity. We care what other people think of us at a neurological level, and will go to great lengths to make them like us. All of which makes me conclude that in order to avoid being egotistical, to become carefree and confident, and to maintain your individuality, just don’t use your brain.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I have never needed well researched neuropsychology to tell me that my brain is an idiot. The years I have spent alive have proved this to me without question. What this book has allowed me to feel is relief that i'm not the only idiot and the reasons why. Thankfully it's given me an out for some of the ridiculous behaviour I have displayed in the past (and still sometimes do if i'm honest). On the other hand, it's become clear that some of it is still just me. Oh well. Written in an engaging, hu I have never needed well researched neuropsychology to tell me that my brain is an idiot. The years I have spent alive have proved this to me without question. What this book has allowed me to feel is relief that i'm not the only idiot and the reasons why. Thankfully it's given me an out for some of the ridiculous behaviour I have displayed in the past (and still sometimes do if i'm honest). On the other hand, it's become clear that some of it is still just me. Oh well. Written in an engaging, humorous style and with a lovely voiced Welsh narrator in the Audible version, this book is well worth a listen. It walks that perfect line of being clever but funny, allowing you to listen and learn with a smile on your face. There are so many examples of the things that *everyone* does that you'll be constantly wanting to contact friends and family to let them know why it is they walk into rooms and stand there wondering what the hell they came for... as just one example. You'll be pleased to have finally found out the answer. Though you'll probably forget that too.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Will Once

    Stonking (a technical term). This is one of those "popular science" books. These normally fall into one of two categories. Some are well written but not very authoritative. Others are not very well written, but well researched. In other words, the usual choice is between insubstantial fluff and weighty but indigestible text book. The Idiot Brian is that rarest of rare things. A science book that is both well researched and well written. Highly recommended. And five stars. It is especially recommende Stonking (a technical term). This is one of those "popular science" books. These normally fall into one of two categories. Some are well written but not very authoritative. Others are not very well written, but well researched. In other words, the usual choice is between insubstantial fluff and weighty but indigestible text book. The Idiot Brian is that rarest of rare things. A science book that is both well researched and well written. Highly recommended. And five stars. It is especially recommended for anyone who believes in conspiracy theories. The answers you are looking for are in here. Promise.

  6. 5 out of 5

    David

    Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist. He writes a regular blog for The Guardian, called Brain Flapping. And his writing style is not just entertaining, it is spirited and humorous and faithful to the science as well. Oh, and did I mention that he is a stand-up comedian? He signs his name "Dean Burnett, Ph.D. (no, really)" While most of this book is about psychology, he grounds quite a lot of his discussions in descriptions of the parts of the brain that are responsible for different actions. And, I Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist. He writes a regular blog for The Guardian, called Brain Flapping. And his writing style is not just entertaining, it is spirited and humorous and faithful to the science as well. Oh, and did I mention that he is a stand-up comedian? He signs his name "Dean Burnett, Ph.D. (no, really)" While most of this book is about psychology, he grounds quite a lot of his discussions in descriptions of the parts of the brain that are responsible for different actions. And, I learned a lot from this book, and actually, a lot of very useful things. Here I just scratch the surface of what I learned. Short-term memory can hold only up to four items, and lasts less than a minute. Anything more than this is actually part of long-term memory. When trying to remember things, context is very helpful--both internal as well as external context. For example, if you are on a drug (even alcohol) when learning something, recalling it at a later time is easier if you on the same drug. The brain encodes memories slightly differently if you are slightly intoxicated. Burnett does scatter sarcasm throughout the book, but it is in good fun. For example, at the end of the section about the ego bias of memory, he writes, "The upside of this is, even if you don't quite understand what's been written here, you'll probably remember that you did, so it all ends up the same regardless. Good work." And here is one of my favorite quotes of all time: "I'm also part of the great conspiracy of global scientists to promote the myths of climate change, evolution, vaccination, and a spherical earth. After all, there's nobody on earth wealthier and more powerful than scientists, and they can't risk losing this exalted position by people finding out how the world really works." It is so interesting how Burnett explains why know-nothings often win arguments and are believed. He writes that empty vessels make the most noise. People who are self-confident are most believed. Politicians are great at this. The smarter a person is, the less confident in their views, and the less they are trusted. Anti-intellectualism is due to the brain's egocentric bias or "self-serving" bias and the tendency to fear things. Someone who seems more intelligent is perceived as a threat. A physically fit person is easy to understand--they just go to the gym more. But someone who is more intelligent is an unknowable quantity, and the "better safe than sorry" instinct triggers suspicion and hostility. People with low intellectual abilities lack the ability to recognize that they are bad at something, so they are unjustifiably high in self-confidence. They have only their own experiences to go from, and cannot perceive what it is to be considerably more intelligent. It works the other way, too. Intelligent are more aware that they don't know everything, so that undercuts their self confident. The general consensus is that by the mid-20's, our brains are fully developed. Brain training games do not boost general intelligence. If you play them enough you can get better at them--but not better at anything else. I was amazed by the description of patients with aphasia, who cannot understand language. Nevertheless, in an experiment they found humor in a president's speech. Robbed of the ability to understand language, they develop their ability to decipher nonverbal cues. They can recognize from numerous facial tics, body language, rhythm of speech, and elaborate gestures, exactly when the president is lying! And here is another fascinating tidbit, having to do with the "Social Brain Hypothesis". We evolved big, complex brains as a result of human friendliness and complicated relationships. We want to believe that the world is fair. When we see a victim of something terrible, the brain doesn't like dissonance, so we have two options: conclude that the world is cruel and random, or that the victim did something to deserve it. While believing the victim is responsible is crueler, it allows us to keep our nice cozy assumptions about the world, and we blame victims for their misfortune. "Our brain is so concerned with preserving a sense of identity and peace of mind that it makes us willing to screw over anyone and anything that could endanger this. Charming." Again, I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to read a serious book about psychology and the brain, but with more than just a dash of humor.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    ***NO SPOILERS*** Who says books about the brain have to be boring? In Idiot Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett explained how the most complex organ in the human body is both awe-inspiring and...idiotic. My greatest take-away from Idiot Brain is that the brain isn't evolved enough--or rather, it's very stuck in the past. This is how it's idiotic. It responds to situations in ways that don't always make sense because it's still responding to ancient situations, not the modern ones it now needs to. ***NO SPOILERS*** Who says books about the brain have to be boring? In Idiot Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett explained how the most complex organ in the human body is both awe-inspiring and...idiotic. My greatest take-away from Idiot Brain is that the brain isn't evolved enough--or rather, it's very stuck in the past. This is how it's idiotic. It responds to situations in ways that don't always make sense because it's still responding to ancient situations, not the modern ones it now needs to. At the same time, these ancient responses are what have kept humans alive for millennia, so they're very sticky. Burnett examined major topics such as fear, memory, intelligence, personality, mental illness, observation, and--one of the most interesting to me--group behavior. Each chapter is broken down more specifically; for instance, the chapter on mental illness covers suicide and addiction. Idiot Brain covers a lot and answered countless questions I've had, such as why, when I look at an electrical outlet, I see two eyes and a mouth; how exactly addiction works and why relapse is so common; the mechanics of the eye and how closely it works with the brain; why the mind will believe in superstitions and conspiracy theories; how psychosis can cause visual and auditory hallucinations and delusions. This is but a tiny sampling. Idiot Brain is one of many neuroscience books written for non-neuroscientists, but it stands out for being a really well-balanced blend of technical and accessible. Aspiring neuroscientists will enjoy it, but it’s basic and not terribly neuro-heavy, so therefore suitable for an everyday reader. This isn't to say it's a lightweight; after all, Burnett is a neuroscientist. He used the tongue-tying scientific names for specific parts of the brain and explained the mechanics as a scientist would. But it's clear he isn't a scientist so out-of-touch with non-scientists that he's unable to explain on a basic level. Burnett's dabbling in stand-up comedy may be why. His humor is definitely an asset, as the book has a somewhat jaunty tone and a sprinkling of jokes. He's the fun, cool teacher with actual talent--an expert in a field who knows how to distill a complicated topic down to its most basic parts, and without a hint of arrogance. He also knew, almost instinctively, the very moment to move on from scientific explanations. His book is a good complement to (the more psychology-focused) Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average and (the more science-focused) Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Neil

    A very humane and entertaining look at how the brain works (and works against us). It's only downside is I felt an annoying need to read out various passages to whoever would listen. A very humane and entertaining look at how the brain works (and works against us). It's only downside is I felt an annoying need to read out various passages to whoever would listen.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dana Ilie

    I am deeply disappointed. An unattractive blend of information, without salt and pepper, nothing innovative.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Supratim

    Pop neuroscience at its best! Good job, Dr. Dean Burnett! Good job indeed! This book has been written by Dr. Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist who used to write a satirical science column for the Guardian. I had come across this book in a book sale; the cover attracted my attention, the title and the blurb piqued my interest. I must say that I did enjoy this light-hearted book on the human brain, and while reading this book I was constantly reminded of Oliver Sack’s seminal work – The Man Who Mistook Pop neuroscience at its best! Good job, Dr. Dean Burnett! Good job indeed! This book has been written by Dr. Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist who used to write a satirical science column for the Guardian. I had come across this book in a book sale; the cover attracted my attention, the title and the blurb piqued my interest. I must say that I did enjoy this light-hearted book on the human brain, and while reading this book I was constantly reminded of Oliver Sack’s seminal work – The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat. While Sack’s book conveyed the complexity and vulnerability of the brain, Burnett takes irreverent jibes at the brain. But, at the same time he also says, “..It’s a still awesome with a capacity and adaptability that puts even the most modern supercomputer to shame. The inherent flexibility and weird organization is something that evolved over millions of years, so who am I to criticize?” The author admits that the human brain is awesome, but has imperfections. He also says, “ If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t.” What could be a better praise! It is a fun read and I enjoyed the author’s humour. I was a bit unwell during the days when I was reading the book and it served as a comfort read. You might have studied a lot of the things the author has mentioned about the brain in your high school biology class. Thus, if you are expecting a profound read about the brain with new scientific information, then this is not the book for you. If you want a light read and the subject matter appeals to you, then you might want to give this book a try.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    Neurology writ simple, this book provides an easy to understand description of the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Chapters are dedicated to the subjects of brain/body connections, memory, fear, intelligence, observational systems, personality, sociability, and mental health. The audacious use of the word "idiot" in the title is a bit off-putting, but it probably communicates a similar message as those books titled, "(blank) for Dummies." It makes clear that the author and publisher Neurology writ simple, this book provides an easy to understand description of the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Chapters are dedicated to the subjects of brain/body connections, memory, fear, intelligence, observational systems, personality, sociability, and mental health. The audacious use of the word "idiot" in the title is a bit off-putting, but it probably communicates a similar message as those books titled, "(blank) for Dummies." It makes clear that the author and publisher have aimed this book at a "popular" reading audience. The author is a credentialed neurological scientist (PhD, "no, really"), but seems to have found a niche for himself as author of the Guardian’s most-read science blog, Brain Flapping . His writing style is light and filled with humor, and as best I can tell the information conveyed is a respectable and correct reflection of current knowledge in the field of neurology (but I'm not particularly qualified to judge). If you check out his blog you will see that his writing does not match the style of the usual academic person. This book is filled with an abundance of information about the various branches of neurology. While listening to the audio edition of this book I was wondering how I could summarize the variety of material for this review. Then at the beginning of the last chapter on mental health the author solved my task by providing the following summary of what the reader has learned about the human brain so far.What have we learned so far about the human brain? It messes with memories; it jumps at shadows; it's terrified of harmless things; it screws with our diet, our sleeping, our movement; it convinces us that we're brilliant when we're not; it makes up half the things we perceive; it gets us to do irrational things when emotional; it causes us to make friends incredibly quickly and turn on them in an instant;—a worrying list. What's even more worrying, it does all of this when it's working correctly. So what happens when the brain starts to go, for want of a better word, wrong? That's when we end up with a neurological or mental disorder. The preceding quotation sounds a bit flippant, which is reflective of the author's writing style. But within the context of the material provided in the preceding chapters it's a representative sampling. In general I found this book to be a good overall description of what is currently known about the workings of the brain. The author reminds the reader multiple times that knowledge in this field is changing and some of the material presented may be subject to change as knowledge in the field develops. _______ The following is not from this book. But it is about neurology. I just happened to come across this link while getting ready to write this review. It's about the differences between people on the ability to recognize faces. That happens to be one branch of neurology. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/1...

  12. 5 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    A very readable popular science book from a neuroscientist/comedian (yeah, so many of them). Lots of good jokes and the technical bits are conveyed as lightly as possible for a lay reader. My main takeaway is to see the brain as something of a mess, a cobbled together lot of stuff rather than a brilliantly adapted organ. Explains a lot.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    While this book may not be easy to read through, it was well worth the effort. I am sure that neuroscience junkies will enjoy this book. For myself, with only a slight background of this topic, I found the terminology and whatnot to be a little hard to remember, but Burnett excels in bringing analogs to his readers. I love that he compares many of the brain's processes to everyday events. Burnett writes well in the sense that I can always get a chuckle out of reading a chapter. The subjects in t While this book may not be easy to read through, it was well worth the effort. I am sure that neuroscience junkies will enjoy this book. For myself, with only a slight background of this topic, I found the terminology and whatnot to be a little hard to remember, but Burnett excels in bringing analogs to his readers. I love that he compares many of the brain's processes to everyday events. Burnett writes well in the sense that I can always get a chuckle out of reading a chapter. The subjects in the book can be difficult to wrap one's head around, but it was still a very enjoyable read. *Note: I was given an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley. I think I need to mention that somewhere.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Klara

    Not a bad book, but not quite what I was looking for. I am by no means an expert in neuroscience, but even for me that was a bit basic. The majority of the experiments mentioned are just common knowledge, like the Stanford Prison experiment, and a lot of the explanations were on the level of my high school neurobiology classes. I found the writing style condescending at times, and the attempts at humour tiresome.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    I picked this up as it seemed a natural progression from the education-based books I’d been reading, and for the most part, it was. It is however, a book of two halves, interestingly – or coincidentally, just like the brain. The first half has its roots in the psychology/biology relationship and was massively informative - in the educational perspective (I should say here that I listened to the audio book, which has probably the best narration of any I have encountered. Well done Mr Addis, outsta I picked this up as it seemed a natural progression from the education-based books I’d been reading, and for the most part, it was. It is however, a book of two halves, interestingly – or coincidentally, just like the brain. The first half has its roots in the psychology/biology relationship and was massively informative - in the educational perspective (I should say here that I listened to the audio book, which has probably the best narration of any I have encountered. Well done Mr Addis, outstanding job!) The second half is heavily into the science. The title gives it away really. I absolutely loved this book, it is educational, informative and engaging. Mr Burnett’s use of metaphor is not only wonderfully appropriate, aiding memory and retention of what can be difficult subject matter, but also fantastically funny! I’m going to end this hero worship now before I run out of superlatives. Listen to the audio, you’ll love it …

  16. 4 out of 5

    Yun

    Idiot Brain is a delve into the messy ways the brain works and how it can sometimes go awry. It touches upon a variety of interesting topics, including what is intelligence, how does memory work, what determines personality, and what happens when the brain isn't working correctly. My favorite section is Chapter 7's discussion about the brain's tendency to favor a "just and fair world", so if we see bad things happen to others, we tend to blame them, especially if the victim is someone we strongly Idiot Brain is a delve into the messy ways the brain works and how it can sometimes go awry. It touches upon a variety of interesting topics, including what is intelligence, how does memory work, what determines personality, and what happens when the brain isn't working correctly. My favorite section is Chapter 7's discussion about the brain's tendency to favor a "just and fair world", so if we see bad things happen to others, we tend to blame them, especially if the victim is someone we strongly identify with. The brain sees it as, if that someone is just like us and bad things are happening to them, then it must be due to their own fault... otherwise, the world is random and bad things may happen to us too, which is very unpleasant for the brain to contemplate. A weakness of this book is that instead of leading the reader on a journey of understanding, everything is just told to the reader, one fact after another. This makes it hard to retain much information, as it's too dense. I would've liked to have seen more examples of the interesting psychology experiments that the author alludes to and that give rise to some of the findings, but those are quickly glossed over in a lot of places. Also, a lot of time is spent on giving proper scientific terms to everything, which I don't think is really necessary for better understanding of the content. Another weakness is that at times the book reads like a stream of consciousness that hasn't seen an editor. This is most evident in Chapter 8, where a section comes off as the author ranting against anyone who doesn't understand that depression isn't a result of selfishness. While I agree with that, the section contains very little scientific evidence to back up that claim... it was mostly just the author going on. In conclusion, while the topics covered in this book are interesting and it has a few illuminating moments within its pages, I think the way it's presented makes it hard to retain and take a lot out of the book. Also, the quality of the sections in the book are uneven, with some being very well-researched and insightful, and others much less so.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    فيديو المراجعة: https://www.youtube.com/embed/H4erFaL... Amazing, informative and well-written in a very clever way. He is explaining boring scientific stuff with a sense of humor and with a LOT of simplification. For me as a pharmacist, I knew most of the scientific things he mentioned but it would be brand new information for non medical professions. It's a great introduction into neuroscience and psychology. There's a various topics about how we perceive our world through our brains, how we interac فيديو المراجعة: https://www.youtube.com/embed/H4erFaL... Amazing, informative and well-written in a very clever way. He is explaining boring scientific stuff with a sense of humor and with a LOT of simplification. For me as a pharmacist, I knew most of the scientific things he mentioned but it would be brand new information for non medical professions. It's a great introduction into neuroscience and psychology. There's a various topics about how we perceive our world through our brains, how we interact with it, why and what happens when it goes wrong. I definitely recommend it and I will read it again! Waiting to read his next book, The happy brain.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ed Erwin

    Nothing in here was new to me. I've studied all this stuff too long already. But, this is the first book on the subject that I've read that was written by a neuroscientist who is also a stand-up comedian. I never actually LOL-ed, but was amused at times. Nothing in here was new to me. I've studied all this stuff too long already. But, this is the first book on the subject that I've read that was written by a neuroscientist who is also a stand-up comedian. I never actually LOL-ed, but was amused at times.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I saw this book at the airport while travelling some months ago, but didn't buy it. I then saw it at a friend's the other week and she let me borrow it. I knew I would like it from the first paragraph about "Gary". A humorous look at the human brain, it covers a multitude of subjects we would all do well to learn about. My favourite parts included the 'just world' (just as in fair) idea, which makes a lot of sense from what I see happening around me, and the chapter on depression because the aut I saw this book at the airport while travelling some months ago, but didn't buy it. I then saw it at a friend's the other week and she let me borrow it. I knew I would like it from the first paragraph about "Gary". A humorous look at the human brain, it covers a multitude of subjects we would all do well to learn about. My favourite parts included the 'just world' (just as in fair) idea, which makes a lot of sense from what I see happening around me, and the chapter on depression because the author really pushes for lay people to understand that depression IS a physical disorder, and that it ISN'T a chosen path where one may "selfishly" commit suicide. I want more people to truly comprehend this. The only thing I didn't like about the book was the editing job. There were many errors, with some words missing while others were added, along with continual use of the word 'lead' instead of the correct 'led'. However, this probably only concerns those of us with a brain inclined toward grammatical perfection... Would be good to see follow up books about individual subjects, as this one was an introduction to all sorts of brain functions and disorders. As a migraine sufferer, I'd love to see a neuroscientist explaining the illness to a wider audience, but that may just be a dream for now.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rawan

    I'm so happy I finally finished this book, but I'm so sad I finally finished this book. Ironic, but any bookaholic will relate. It's one of those unique books that will stay on my 'to read again and again' shelf. Burnett made it clear how our brains can be bizarre yet so complex. What's super distinct about this book is the format it's written in: informal to a point that you'll feel that the author is talking directly to you. It's really not a normal scientific book, for almost all details in t I'm so happy I finally finished this book, but I'm so sad I finally finished this book. Ironic, but any bookaholic will relate. It's one of those unique books that will stay on my 'to read again and again' shelf. Burnett made it clear how our brains can be bizarre yet so complex. What's super distinct about this book is the format it's written in: informal to a point that you'll feel that the author is talking directly to you. It's really not a normal scientific book, for almost all details in the are explained in a way that even an idiot will get it; so don't worry if you don't like biology and neuroscience. After reading this book, you'll stop fighting with your friends over who has the right memory or judge a person who commits suicide or has an addiction to drugs. Literally, this book will open your mind to so many information that most likely has been misunderstood by you at some point. So, go ahead and give it a try, you won't regret.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bibliovoracious

    I like to judge books by the author's photograph (jk!), and this one may be the best I've ever seen. Now that is one neuroscientist I'd be delighted to meet! (not joking now - really, that's a guy you'd want a chat with!). Funny dude! Good writing, interesting! Probably the only neuroscientist to have read both Neil Strauss and Daniel Kahneman...or, hmmm, on second thought maybe just the only one to admit it ("it's for research!"). Only complaint is tt was just a little too overview for me; I've I like to judge books by the author's photograph (jk!), and this one may be the best I've ever seen. Now that is one neuroscientist I'd be delighted to meet! (not joking now - really, that's a guy you'd want a chat with!). Funny dude! Good writing, interesting! Probably the only neuroscientist to have read both Neil Strauss and Daniel Kahneman...or, hmmm, on second thought maybe just the only one to admit it ("it's for research!"). Only complaint is tt was just a little too overview for me; I've brushed up against most of the science he covers already elsewhere, so I learned less than I was hoping. However, if you're not regularly reading books about brains, then this would be an excellent start!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael Legge

    Shame he dies in the end.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gehad Harb

    This book was very interesting, enjoyable, informative, and funny. It offers illuminating discussions of your brain, you get to know about your actions,your motives,your fears and answering many of your questions; Why are doing this thing particularly? Why do you thinking this way? How our memory works? Why do we sleep? and what the mechanism for that? what is the relationship between your personality and your brain? and finally explains how our brain breaks down .. Briefly this book goes deep into yo This book was very interesting, enjoyable, informative, and funny. It offers illuminating discussions of your brain, you get to know about your actions,your motives,your fears and answering many of your questions; Why are doing this thing particularly? Why do you thinking this way? How our memory works? Why do we sleep? and what the mechanism for that? what is the relationship between your personality and your brain? and finally explains how our brain breaks down .. Briefly this book goes deep into your mind, you get to know about your crazy, bizzar behaviors, and the reason of it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    James Hartley

    "...if you feel the brain is a mysterious and ineffable object, some borderline-mystical construct, the bridge between human experience and the realms of the unknown, etc, then I´m sorry; you´re really not going to like this book." So starts this brilliant and brilliantly written book, and from the introduction, you have been warned. Dr Burnett, a journalist and neuroscientist, is the best guide you could hope for - entertaining, witty, amusing and informative - as he takes you on a tour of this "...if you feel the brain is a mysterious and ineffable object, some borderline-mystical construct, the bridge between human experience and the realms of the unknown, etc, then I´m sorry; you´re really not going to like this book." So starts this brilliant and brilliantly written book, and from the introduction, you have been warned. Dr Burnett, a journalist and neuroscientist, is the best guide you could hope for - entertaining, witty, amusing and informative - as he takes you on a tour of this oddball organ´s influence on our lives. Although he plays up the jokes, and how messy, fallible and disorganised the brain is, it´s also abundantly clear that Burnett is in love with it. The weird-looking organ´s influence on our life is dissected - from how the brain regulates the body and messes with memory, through how it allows fear to dominate our lives and how it shapes our personalities - and all in an engaging, winning style. "The brain is a terrifyingly complex tangle of connections and links," he writes in the chapter on memory. "It´s like a ball of Christmas tree lights the size of the known universe..." This book is a very, human, humble take on science - just as Burnett wants it to be - why not? He would argue. I particularly loved the end of his introduction at the start of the book... "And my final apology is based on the fact that a former colleague of mine once told me that I´d get a book published ´when hell freezes over´. Sorry to Satan. This must be very inconvenient for you! Dean Burnett, PhD (no, really)."

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Idiot Brain is a great, easily accessible introduction to neuroscience and psychology of human behaviour. If you've never read on the subject I can't think of a better place to start. Dean Burnett is writing in a light-hearted, clear style that is sure to appeal to most readers not looking for an academic tome. Because I've educated myself a little on the topic, I did find some chapters familiar, but a good refresher. If you've ever wondered why people might be irrationally scared of shadows in Idiot Brain is a great, easily accessible introduction to neuroscience and psychology of human behaviour. If you've never read on the subject I can't think of a better place to start. Dean Burnett is writing in a light-hearted, clear style that is sure to appeal to most readers not looking for an academic tome. Because I've educated myself a little on the topic, I did find some chapters familiar, but a good refresher. If you've ever wondered why people might be irrationally scared of shadows in the dark, or seeing familiar shapes in the clouds, or having a really hard time quitting addictive substances, Idiot Brain has the answers for you. I especially enjoyed the pages that explained why we sometimes give into peer pressure and care so much about negative feedback. If the author plans on writing any more books, I know will be checking them out.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Calzean

    There were moments of ah ha. There were moments of ha has. But there were too moments where the author's lame jokes spoilt his narrative on what a strange and still not fully understood thing the brain is. There were moments of ah ha. There were moments of ha has. But there were too moments where the author's lame jokes spoilt his narrative on what a strange and still not fully understood thing the brain is.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nadia

    Clever and insightful. I really admire his work - My brain found it irresistibly captivating :) It's unpredictable and entertaining; the best kind of popular science out there. Clever and insightful. I really admire his work - My brain found it irresistibly captivating :) It's unpredictable and entertaining; the best kind of popular science out there.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Literatures Movies

    Meh. I learned a lot about the brain from this book, but can't say it was a fun read. Blog: http://literaturesandmovies.com Meh. I learned a lot about the brain from this book, but can't say it was a fun read. Blog: http://literaturesandmovies.com

  29. 4 out of 5

    Daryl

    My second consecutive non-fiction book, and it's another (popular) science book - not always my best subject. Once again, a Goodreads First Reads giveaway win. This sounded pretty interesting and did not disappoint. The subjects and details are easy enough for a non-science type like me to follow and understand and the writing flows smoothly, easy to read, and often humorous. (Example: "Intelligence, like irony or daylight-saving time, is something most people have a basic grasp of but struggle My second consecutive non-fiction book, and it's another (popular) science book - not always my best subject. Once again, a Goodreads First Reads giveaway win. This sounded pretty interesting and did not disappoint. The subjects and details are easy enough for a non-science type like me to follow and understand and the writing flows smoothly, easy to read, and often humorous. (Example: "Intelligence, like irony or daylight-saving time, is something most people have a basic grasp of but struggle to explain in detail.") And how can you not love a book with a chapter titled "We Have Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself - and Clowns"? Actually, I really gained a lot from this chapter, as I have a couple of very powerful phobias, and have recently been suffering from anxiety and occasional panic attacks. Burnett covers a lot of ground in the book: memory, fear, intelligence, personality, how the senses work and are intertwined (fascinating stuff), and mental problems, among other things. Nothing is gone into in great depth, and we get just a basic discussion on any of these topics, but that's exactly what the book presents itself as. And, as I said, Burnett's writing is fun to read. (Example #2, on the subject of motivation: "Sex is a very powerful motivator. For proof of this, see anything ever.") If I had a criticism of the book, it would be that the final chapter ("When the Brain Breaks Down") deals with mental disorders: depression, nervous breakdowns, drug addiction, hallucinations and delusions. Important stuff, to be sure, but as the final chapter, it closed the book on a downer note. A concluding section (other than the one-line "afterword" presented) would have been appreciated.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Your brain is the most remarkable thing about you because it makes you you. So, when Dean Burnett, Ph.D. chose to describe all that the brain does to make you amazing, he did it in a uniquely humane and entertaining way. His popular science book Idiot Brain: What Your Head is Really Up To is well-researched, well-written, and highly recommended for anyone interested in learning about how the brain works, fails to work, and even works against you. What makes Idiot Brain so wonderful is that it’s n Your brain is the most remarkable thing about you because it makes you you. So, when Dean Burnett, Ph.D. chose to describe all that the brain does to make you amazing, he did it in a uniquely humane and entertaining way. His popular science book Idiot Brain: What Your Head is Really Up To is well-researched, well-written, and highly recommended for anyone interested in learning about how the brain works, fails to work, and even works against you. What makes Idiot Brain so wonderful is that it’s not a simple, linear, boring discussion of the brain with explanations starting from a description of a neuron and developing into more complex behaviors (as a textbook often does). Instead, Idiot Brain presents a comedic discussion of the brain that usually centers around the stranger things the brain does, especially the processes that make us do peculiar things. For example, why do we see a scary monster in the doorway when it’s just a bathrobe hanging on the door? And why is there always room for dessert at the end of a huge meal? And why did I just come into this room anyway? “The brain is a terrifyingly complex tangle of connections and links, like a ball of Christmas-tree lights the size of the known universe.” Thankfully, Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist, who moonlights as a comedian and writes for The Guardian, so he can dissect the brain and its functions in accurate yet accessible ways, with quips and analogies to ease the examination. I encourage anyone with a brain to read Idiot Brain because the brain is both extremely impressive, but also a bit stupid.

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