Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
If the conscious mind—the part you consider to be you—is just the tip of the iceberg, what is the rest doing?
In this sparkling and provocative new book, the renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries: Why can your foot move halfway to the brake pedal before you become consciously aware of dange
Let me move on to the more interesting stuff. This book is deceptive. Eagleman uses a "slight of hand" writing style. Just as he describes how magic tricks deceive the brain, Eagleman uses this entertaining little book to advocate for a social and justice system that disregards civil rights.
How does he do this? He strings ...more
The only David Eagleman book I’d read was my favourite book, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, a collection of extremely short extremely thought-provoking stories. So I really wasn’t sure what to expect from a book from his “day job” as a neuroscientist. I needn’t have worried.
While this is a non-fiction book about the biology of the brain, it is just as intriguingly thought-provoking as Sum. There are footnotes and an extensive reference list and index, for th ...more
Superstrings vs. The Brain: "Incognito - The Secret Lives of the Brain" by David Eagleman
"Experimentation and transformation in both art and science spring from the same root - to understand, to encapsulate the world. This is why I've ever found reductionism (and scientism) drearily limiting and worthily pompous - that utilitarian speculation over what art 'is for', that misapprehension of art as a kind of elaborate trickery, only read ...more
Though I give the book four stars and have already recommended it to more people than any book I've ever read, I would strongly disagree with the first reviewer that the book is an "engaging romp" or "fun".
The book is, and should be, profoundly unsettling, though for reasons which make it all the more important to con ...more
It's a mouthful, but relevant, to mention that the author is director of Baylor College of Medicine's Initiative on Neuroscience and Law, at Stanford University.
As the book progresses, it can be seen as an argument for assessing and handling criminals differently. Eagleman thinks we should pay much more attention to the physical and psychological factors which may influence individual crim ...more
The topic has the potential to be textbook-like, but readers shouldn't be scared of Incognito. Eagleman ...more
Incognito is a wide-ranging and entertaining look at the development of our thinking about thinking, and the current state of brain-science. He covers
• how and why we have practically no conscious knowledge of what’s going on in the incredibly complex machinery of our brains, and why the “chief executive” (ou ...more
And I listened to this as a talking book - and the author reads the book. This, too, is generally a mistake. But he did a reasonable job even here, although, to be honest, I think he would have been better served with a professio ...more
He has anothe ...more
I've said it time and time again that an outstanding book is one that leaves me speechless with incomprehensible gibberish being the only sounds you hear. After all, how can I summarize what is already so eloquently told by the book itself? It's an experience you must go through yourself.
Most of us are aware that our brain can be split simply into two parts; the conscious and the unconscious. But beyond that, do we consider anything? Do we even care? Surely the most ...more
Incognito is probably the best work of nonfiction that I have read this year (2011), and it is also one of the best books on neuroscience that I have read in quite some time. Some of the material here has been presented elsewhere (if you have read works on neuroscience or consciousness by scientists and philosophers like Antonio Damasio, V. S. Ramachandran, Joseph ...more
What I'd like to note right now is: this is another book I highly recommend to scientists and laymen alike. If you've ever struggled with questions such as "Telepathy? What do you mean, reading my mind? Am I supposed to have only one of them?" or "So who is the real me? The one who passionately believes in ahimsa and no ...more
As someone who's very interested in neurology this book does have it's good moments, but they're largely eclipsed by a bunch of dumbing down.
I don't blame Eagleman, I know it's people in the publishing industry who probably pushed this book to be like this. Following is my reaction to each element I found annoying. There's a summary at the end.
Dumbing it down: Too much repetition and unnecessary metaphors. I do not kn ...more
Mr. Eagleman shows through examples how often our behavior is regulated by factors we don’t control. And, the answer to "Who/ What am I?" is a never-ending search process unti ...more
"Incognito" is a fascinating look into our brain and the secrets that it reveals. It's a wonderful book that covers recent findings of mainly the unconscious processes of our brains. Neuroscientist and best-selling author, David Eagleman takes the reader on a journey of discovery of our brains; an enjoyable and enlightening ride that makes the young field of neuroscience fun and informative. This instructive 304-page book is composed of ...more
More on those later. The book runs the gambit of freshman-level psychology with the Freud, the subconscious, chicken sexing (not as dirty as it sounds), priming, synesthesia, etc. It introduces a theory of mind based on a team of rivals, which is pretty neat.
The author puts in his two cents on the justice system. He calls for less emphasis on modifiability rather ...more
I particularly like what Eagleman has to say about the enteric nervous system and it's importance as an example of running as a human system that is not regulat ...more
Some of the things I thought were especially interesting ...more
I soon discovered I just didn't like the style of writing, the way in which the subject was explained, skim-read looking for something really good to catch my interest, found very little, and sailed through to the end of the book at page 254.
What did interest me though were ...more
• Our conscious mind is only aware of a tiny fraction of wh ...more
1. Why does your foot hit the break pedal before you are conscious of danger ahead?
2. Why do you hear your name in a conversation that you didn’t think you were listening to?
3. Why is a person whose name begins with J more likely to marry another person whose name begins with J?
4. Why is it so difficult to keep a secret?
5. How is it possible to get angry at yourself: who, exactly is mad at whom?
6. Are some marriage partners more likely to ch ...more
Incognito is an engaging and eye-opening romp through fundamental questions related to human consciousness, perception, and free will, as seen through the lens of neuroscientific resea ...more
The second downfall is that the author isn't half the writer that Mal ...more