Welcome to Your Brain
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Welcome to Your Brain

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  736 ratings  ·  99 reviews
The popular, myth-busting guide to the neuroscience of everyday life, by two high-profile neuroscientists.

In this 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 wom...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 2008)
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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...more
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.
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...more
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...more
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...more
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!
David
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.
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!
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.
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.
Kaitlin
There's a lot of great information here. I haven't read too much about the brain yet but over the last few months have read What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain and Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, all of which deal in some way with the brain. Of the four, this was the densest. It doesn't presuppose that the reader has any relevant knowledge, but the authors aren't bashful about using medical t...more
Scott To
When beginning to read this book, I was excited to learn about the basic functions of the brain and answers to many unclear answers. Continuing into the book I realized that the book contains many terms that I'm unclear of currently, by looking in the dictionary, I found out what these scientific terms mean but still had trouble throughout understanding the specific long terms. My favorite parts of the book is the times where they mention something similar to me, for instance, yawning and what i...more
Kunal
This is was overall an interesting book, but was highly too technical and scientific for me to fully comprehend. It was interesting to learn about what causes some of the decisions we make, but as I am finding with the brain, it is a field of study that is extremely complex and with my lack of interest in the sciences, I find it more and more difficult to follow along with these books. One thing that I will never forget about is the research they had done looking at what are the real causes of h...more
Thurston Hunger
I'm not sure what the genre for these books is. To a degree the old "popular science" applies, with the accent here on popularity. But the formatting, I guess I would call "splash non-fiction." It seems the goal is to break up the experience of page-after-page text, which is probably a good thing, but which leaves this reader feeling a bit like the target in a shell game. Computers/magazines have blazed the way in busting up typesetting columns (and I remember Coupland's "Generation X" as a pion...more
Emily
Do you like reading textbooks but wish they were just a little cheekier with more frequent asides and little sidebars of clever information? Then, this book is for you. A lot of what's in here I've heard or read elsewhere and in almost every case, those stories were better told in that elsewhere. Part of the problem, I suspect, is that the authors are attempting to summarize ALL the cool stuff about the brain into an un-intimidating sized book. This inevitably leads to heavy duty reduction of th...more
Michael
While I find myself increasingly enjoying nonfiction, this book reminded me why it is a genre I don’t read voraciously. There were sections of the book that I found fascinating (such as the sections of how drugs affect the brain and the chapter about the link [or non-link] between vaccines and autism) and I was continually learning throughout the course of the book. Even the chapters focusing on how the brain transmits information and then stores it were interesting.

Unfortunately, this book fal...more
Heather Browning
An interesting and readable introduction to some psychology, cognitive science and neuroscience. At times I found the technical neurological detail a little offputting, but that might just be my own bias towards the more behavioural aspect. I love learning about all the little tricks your brain performs to get around in the world, and particularly what happens when these go wrong. The format of the book made it really easy to read a bit at a time so I never felt overloaded.
James
Good book to get up to speed quickly on how the ol' noggin works--and doesn't work. It's an intro level book, full of interesting, myth-busting factoids, so it belongs on the coffee table. Easy to read and accessible, mostly because it's got so many metaphors and analogies whenever some "hard" concept is introduced. Chapters are short and sweet, too. It's main strength is on the application of knowledge about the brain in everyday events that we take for granted. Loved the part on theory of mind...more
Silas
As a popular science book, this struck a good balance. It didn't flinch from using the correct names for parts of the brain, but did a good job of helping a lay person understand what those parts do, in general, and giving you a basic understanding of relatively recent research about how the brain works. I learned a good bit from this, having only had some exposure to these ideas before, and though I didn't retain exactly which part of the brain does what in my long term memory, I felt that it w...more
Rachel Brady
I picked this up out of personal interest. I love learning more about how our brains work--always have. Most of the reading I do on the subject is technical, so it was wonderful to find a book written in lay language. This made it engaging and fun.

The authors cover all kinds of interesting topics: why some of us are morning people and others are night owls, why some people sneeze when they go out in bright sunlight, the intricacies of language, whether cramming for exams really works, the aging...more
Aamet
Speaking accordingly with my developmental psychology classes, the book consists of various types of missing and insufficient information. It's academia I trust more than a book ofcourse, however, it is a good start for ones who just want to enjoy and learn about some interesting studies, special cases etc.
Aaron Vivar
I absolutely loved this book. It was my first actual book that I read that involved science. I had to read it for my incoming ninth grade biology assignment but the book was packed with a lot of information and in fact taught me a lot. I actually ended up doing my exhibition with the help / evidence of this book (my exhibition was about how sleep affect the brain and memory function). This book is basically an introduction to neurology (study of the brain) and how it works. Not all the answers t...more
Lisa Ard
This is a fun read for a layperson wanting to know why our brain works the way it does. Written by Sam Wang, an associate professor of neuroscience... and Sandra Aamodt, neuroscience postdoc and editor in chief for Nature Neuroscience, the authors do an outstanding job of making a difficult topic fun and accessible.

After a tour of the brain, its key parts and functions, the book is divided into sections covering the senses, how one's brain changes throughout life, emotions, rational thinking and...more
Courtney
Dewey - 612.82
This is a good book for those interested in the brain and how biology can affect psychology and vice versa. The authors give several great practical tips based on our understanding of the brain at this time. My only complaint about the book is the lack of diagrams, illustrations, and images to explain what they are talking about. The give a diagram of the brain areas early in the book, but it would have been helpful to see additional diagrams as new areas were mentioned and areas p...more
Deborah
This book has 31 chapters divided into six parts and an index. The best parts were the boxes. The boxes contained the type of information that might be put in sidebars (myths and practical tips), but were across the entire page and sometimes continued to a second page.

The problem with the boxes was the way the text was formatted, or really not formatted, around the boxes. It looks like the chapters were written first and the the boxes were just dropped into the text with no consideration for th...more
Virginia
This book provides an excellent overview of current neuroscience (but in a very novice-friendly style). Although eventually I did start to think to myself, "I already know this" and skimmed parts, I am a psychology teacher, so I found it forgivable. If you read a lot about neuroscience, there might not be much "new" in here, but I think this would be a great read for someone just casually interested in the field.

I'm planning on using parts of it with my classes in the future, since the writing i...more
Annk
This is a great survey about the brain that is in a popular format, i.e. it doesn't go through the layout of the brain to explain how it works; rather it goes through common questions (nature vs nuture, psychosis, drugs, gender differences, etc) to offer a neuroscientist's explanation. There's also some useful debunking, particularly in the first chapter, which deals with the truth vs. myth of brain disorders in movies. I really enjoyed the topics but think I would have enjoyed it more if I had...more
Aaron Ash
Take the introduction seriously. This isn't a book to read straight through. Which makes it a poor choice for a library loan, unless you are going into it with specific questions you want answered. Of course, you would only do that if there wasn't this thing called the Internet.

Basically, this is a book written by college professors, who, I sincerely believe, tried to dumb down for their audience. Unfortunately, it comes off as poor writing. It is less interesting than it should be, and compare...more
Suzanne
Aug 01, 2008 Suzanne rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone with a new interest in brain/memory issues
Recommended to Suzanne by: Found at the library
I enjoy books about the brain and neurology---maybe too much, as I found I learned little new from this book. It's written for someone that's probably never read any similar books, and if that was the case, you would probably find it interesting, but I've read stories like the one about the man injured in a blasting accident whose personality changed many, many times! I also found the author's jokey writing a little distracting. It's something I'm seeing more in books about medical or other fair...more
Valerie
I enjoyed this book. It was easy to read, and consisted of many short chapters, each on a different topic so could be read in little bits. I learned several interesting facts about our brains and unlearned a few (a couple of drinks does not kill brain cells but more than four might). Also the authors were not afraid to admit they couldn't fully explain everything, always a good point in reading non-fiction and better than making up your own unproven theories. This was not a comprehensive neurosc...more
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