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The Brain: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #144)

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  372 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
The Brain: A Very Short Introduction provides a non-technical introduction to the main issues and findings in current brain research and gives a sense of how neuroscience addresses questions about the relationship between the brain and the mind. Short, clear discussions on the mechanical workings of the brain are offered and the details of brain science are covered in an a ...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published February 1st 2006 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published October 8th 2003)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
The Brain: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #144), Michael O'Shea
عنوان: مغز؛ نویسنده: مایکل اوشی؛ مترجم: ابوالفضل حقیری؛ تهران، بصیرت، 1387؛ در 192 ص؛ مصور، واژه نامه؛ شابک: 9786009047611؛ چاپ دوم 1390؛ موضوع: مغز قرن 21 م
عنوان: مغز؛ نویسنده: مایکل اوشی؛ مترجم: یاسر مالی؛ تهران، افق، 1389؛ در 160 ص؛ مصور، شابک: 9789643696993؛ چاپ دوم 1392؛؛ موضوع: مغز قرن 21 م
عنوان: اندیشیدن در باره مغز؛ نویسنده: مایکل اوشی؛ مترجم: رضا نیلی پور؛ تهران، هرمس، 1392؛ در 190 ص؛ نمایه، کتابنامه از
Hoz Kamaran
Sep 10, 2016 Hoz Kamaran rated it it was amazing
A wonderful, excellent, amazing, informative, well written, and perfect book.
Bojan Tunguz
Apr 05, 2011 Bojan Tunguz rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books in the VSI series, and I've read well over thirty by now. It gives a very good introduction to the basic neuroanatomy of the brain, and explains many important brain functions. The book is intended for laypeople, but even those (like me) who are familiar with the subject can benefit from reading it. Oftentimes neuroscience textbook overwhelm with details, and it is sometimes hard to see the forest from the trees. This book provides a good bird's eye perspective on t ...more
Apr 06, 2014 Armin rated it really liked it
Recommended to Armin by: VSI Series
This was one of the first ebooks that I bought from the Kindle store. It is an ultra-brief introduction to your brain. I don't recommend reading it if you have any background in the field of human biology or the nervous system. Nonetheless the book is accessible and thought-provoking. With the launch of Obama's BRAIN Initiative, I would not mind an updated version by Michael O'Shea.

Here are a few little nuggets I've highlighted in the book to give you a taste of it:

"If the connections in the who
Apr 23, 2016 Sara rated it really liked it
It took me about 10 days to read this book. It was not really easy to read it through because it has described so many details very shortly that would need further scrutinizing. However, there's a section in the book that talks about basic mechanisms of short and long term memory and divides memory to three parts of "procedural knowledge", "implicit memory" and "episodic memory". As a 127 page book, this book is valuable to get to know about the whole bio-procedures in the brain. We still do not ...more
Jan 06, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it
This was excellent. I have been working my way through the VSI brain books (see bookshelf) and this was the last one of the selection I have bought. Predominately this is about medicine and biology - not a subject I spend much enthusiasm on outside of " turning to page forty-seven and drawing little beards and moustaches on the sperms", so I was surprised to discover I actually found brain biology to be quite interesting.

The last chapter concentrates on potential future developments and of cours
Jan 15, 2015 Zeinab rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: کسانی که چیزهایی ابتدایی در مورد مغز می‌دانند، و می‌خواهند کمی بیشتر بدانند.
بالأخره به پایان آمد. :/ شش هفت ماه :|

بسیار جالب و جذّاب بود و سخت. __اگه فصل زیستی زمینۀ روانشناسی هیلگارد رو نخونده بودم چیزی ازش نمیفهمیدم.ــ

اسمش «مغز»ـه، ولی کلّاً به سیستم عصبی پرداخته. به اتّفاقات سیناپسی و ناقلهای عصبی هم. بنیان زیستی فرآیندهای یادگیری و حافظه رو هم به خوبی بررسی کرده.

ترجمهش یه جوری بود ولی :/
عرضم تمام.
Rafal Kudlinski
Sep 23, 2015 Rafal Kudlinski rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-for-all
Very interesting book. It's a really short introduction to "The BrAiN". It presents basic information on how brain developed over millions of years and how it works. If you like science topics it may be a good choice of the book for you to read. Give it a try!
Steve Mitchell
Feb 08, 2012 Steve Mitchell rated it liked it
This is another cracking little book that gives a very useful starting point to learn more about the subject.
Sep 22, 2016 Ada rated it liked it
I am not sure, to start with, that it the following a fair review. I am by no means an expert in neurology- my reading on the subject is comprised of articles in the National Geographic and the New Scientist. I also strongly suspect that if I had been reading a hard copy of the book, I would have been at leisure to study it more thoroughly- and have a careful look at its diagrams.

It's a fascinating, but by no means easy, read. In fact, I started reading it a few years ago and stopped in sheer e
Marwa Assem Salama
Sep 29, 2015 Marwa Assem Salama rated it it was ok
Incredibly boring! So, let's face it: As a non-specialist reader, There is nothing anyone can get if he knows all these overwhelming details about the anatomical structure and biological mechanisms of the brain with the related nervous system of the eyes and ears. Let alone the complexity of the ionic and electrical signalling between tiny neurons. This is a mere scientific rhetoric which no one cares about but its specialists. And even when they want to learn more about it, they will never end ...more
Craig Dolder
Aug 03, 2015 Craig Dolder rated it it was amazing
This is only my second foray into the VSI series and I loved it. Michael covers the history of research, the common misconceptions, and the current state of research. His prose are accessible to all readers. A bit of high school chemistry might help with understanding the mechanics of synapses, but it is not required. I found this a very thought provoking read.
Mennatallah Yahia
Dec 17, 2015 Mennatallah Yahia rated it liked it
Frankly, I could not understand the majority of the book as it contains many of the scientific terminologies which I have no knowledge of, yet I think it will be a good starting point for me to read more and more about the brain itself -this fascinating organ- and how it works, hopefully I can understand and become familiar with this kind of reading :))
Sep 21, 2009 Clay rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I found that although the information was useful, the writing was a bit flaccid.
Dec 26, 2013 Wilbur rated it liked it
Fascinating. Brief but full of important information. I'll need to read this again.
Jul 23, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it
Fascinating - will have to reread it to understand the more complex stuff.
Oct 12, 2010 Andrew rated it really liked it
Brief, straight-forward, if occasionally confusing.
Its a very short introduction to the brain
Bernie Gourley
Sep 12, 2016 Bernie Gourley rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in a quick down-low on their brains.
The human brain in 120-ish pages, it’s an ambitious goal considering that the brain is widely considered to be the most complex object in the known universe. Still, this is one of Oxford University Press’s “A Very Short Introduction” (AVSI) series, so the only promise is to give one a concise overview of the subject for beginners. In that task, the book succeeds. In fact, the book takes on some subjects that one might think beyond its scope, such as the historical progression of our understandin ...more
Yuganka Sharan
Oct 30, 2015 Yuganka Sharan rated it liked it
Say “Hi” to the most complex thing in the universe

I must start by congratulating OUP (Oxford University Press). In 1995 they came up with a stupendous idea and started working on it. Today, twenty years later, millions of readers like me are hooked on to it.

A Very Short Introduction series by OUP is a series of books that cover a wide range of topics. I have read a few titles in the series earlier, but this is the first time I am reviewing one of them.

As the name suggests, each book aims to gi
Daniel Wright
Scientists broadly understand how the brain works from two directions. First, from the bottom up: we know roughly how neurons work and what they do. Second, from the top down: we know which bits of the brain do what.

What we don't know is how these two meet in the middle. Professor O'Shea (of the University of Sussex) is very honest about the shortcomings of neuropsychology (as the study of the brain is known) in comparison with other science. Moreover, although he does clearly see his study as m
Nov 24, 2013 Aaron rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
This is my third book in the Very Short Introduction series, and this one was middle of the road. It lives up to the expectation as short and accessible introduction to the central nervous system. O'Shea throws in a few interesting facts here and there, and he makes a reasonable effort to illustrate the limitations of the research, of what can be known about the brain. With that said, his writing style is a bit hard to follow and he often goes into more detail than necessary. Because I was a psy ...more
Apr 15, 2014 Joshua rated it liked it
This is the least good of the Very Short Introduction books I've read since I decided to read all of the ones in areas of interest to me. This text, while interesting, doesn't go into very much and uses a ton of examples obfuscating rather than making clear what's going on. Then, there are streams of jargon-y prose about neuroscience. Since I've done some study of neuroscience, it wasn't too bad for me; however, I wanted more explanation and more time spent describing what's going on. And the la ...more
Christopher Roberts
Sep 28, 2016 Christopher Roberts rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
This is a phenomenal introductory text. It hits every necessary topic for a rudimentary understanding of neuroscience but also traces the history from Ancient Greek Philosophy to Descartes in order to give philosophical context. It also touches on subjects like free will, while not really developing a philosophical opinion, in order to understand how neuroscience might answer the question that some seem to think has already been answered. The final chapter deals with technology and artificial i ...more
Nov 02, 2015 Daphne rated it liked it
Shelves: quest
The first half of this book would be rightly titled "Anatomy of the Brain". It's a pretty intense introduction to the different cells and structure of the brain and nervous system. Either a great introduction to the nervous system OR a perfect refresher for someone like me that hasn't taken an anatomy, embryology, or organic chemistry class in several years. I actually read this section through twice before moving on with the last part.

The last section was a more hodge-podge introduction to the
Janet K. Cook
Feb 14, 2014 Janet K. Cook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nice review

Nice review

Thought I'd start my reeducation with something easy so I picked something I sort of already keep up on. I hope the rest of the A Very Short Introduction books are equally understandable.
Anthony Ferner
Aug 23, 2016 Anthony Ferner rated it really liked it
Useful intro for a non-specialist, good on the evolution of the brain from primitive neural systems.
Rex Libris
Aug 26, 2016 Rex Libris rated it really liked it
It was a nice summation, started out interesting, but seemed to get bogged down in memory too much.
Aug 12, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it
fMRIs are a trip. Not sure I understand that too well.
Dec 12, 2012 Julian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find difficulty in reviewing academic or non-fiction texts. Should I criticize the appropriate placement of awe and humility? Should I recommend more simple analogies?

No, I don't know, whatever.

This book is straightforward, informative, and brief. Like advertised, you'll receive a short introduction into the mystery of the brain. I don't recommend this to any reader. It's not silly, it doesn't make grand hopeful gestures of the inevitability of future discoveries. It's just an intro, a good on
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Michael O’Shea is Professor of Neuroscience and co-Director of the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics at the University of Sussex in the UK. Before taking up his present position he was Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Geneva, Switzerland and Associate Professor at the University of Chicago in the USA. He held Research Fellowships at the University of Cambridge and th
More about Michael O'Shea...

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“The complexity of the resulting signalling network in the brain is almost unimaginable: one hundred billion neurons each with one thousand synapses, producing a machine with one hundred trillion interconnections! If you started to count them at one per second you would still be counting 30 million years from now!” 1 likes
“Memories must somehow be represented physically in the brain. Brain chemistry and structure is altered by experience and the stability of these physicochemical changes presumably corresponds to the retention duration of memory.” 1 likes
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