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Praise for “Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain”

“Best Books of 2020”


“Best Science Books of 2020”

  —Barnes and Noble

“[A] Must-Read Science Book”

  — Discover Magazine

“[A] best popular science book”

  — BBC Science Focus, March 2021

“Notable Books of 2020”

  — Behavioral Scientist

“Earphones Award winner” (audiobook)

  — AudioFile Magazine, February 2021

“A deeply researched, compulsively readable, subtly philosophical tour through the human brain.”

  —Dan Pink, New York Times bestselling author of Drive and When

“Beautiful writing and sublime insights that will blow your mind like a string of firecrackers. If you want a rundown of the brain and its magic, start here.”

  —David Eagleman, Stanford neuroscientist, New York Times bestselling author of Incognito and Livewired

“I love everything about this book. The writing is crisp and intelligent. The examples of how the brain works grab your attention. I learned dozens of new insights..”


“Fascinating and informative, it is popular science at its best.”

  — The Guardian

Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain reads like a novel—one whose main character is all of us. Read this book! It will make you smarter about yourself, and your species.”

  —Leonard Mlodinow, New York Times bestselling author of The Drunkard’s Walk, Subliminal, and Elastic
book cover

Praise for "How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain"

  • "Barrett's is a singular book, remarkable for the freshness of its ideas and the boldness and clarity with which they are presented."
    Scientific American Mind, May 2017
  • "Fascinating... If you want to read emotions better, read this book."
    Harper’s Bazaar, March 2017
  • "Ms. Barrett writes clearly, with compelling examples and stories, and helps bring us all up to speed on most of the major developments in the field of emotion studies. [Her] book is a thought-provoking journey into emotion science."
    Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2017
  • "Prepare to have your brain twisted around as psychology professor Barrett takes it on a tour of itself. Her enthusiasm for her topic brightens every amazing fact and theory about where our emotions come from."
    Booklist Reviews, February 15, 2017
    (starred review)
  • "FIVE STARS. The depth with which Barrett describes [the nature of emotion] is truly remarkable. [She] ties together the many facets of emotional concerns and makes them accessible to the average reader. [...] Down-to-earth and a delight to read."
    Seattle Book Review, March 2017
  • "Most of us make our way through the world without thinking a lot about what we bring to our encounters with it. Lisa Feldman Barrett does — and what she has to say about our perceptions and emotions is pretty mind-blowing."
    Elle, March 2017
  • "[Barrett's] book, chock-full of startling, science-backed findings, is an entertaining and engaging read."
    Forbes, March 8, 2017
  • "Ever wonder where your emotions come from? Lisa Barrett, a world expert in the psychology of emotion, has written the definitive field guide to feelings and the neuroscience behind them."
    Angela Duckworth,
    best-selling author of Grit
  • How Emotions are Made is a provocative, insightful, and engaging analysis of the fascinating ways that our brains create our emotional lives, convincingly linking cutting edge neuroscience studies with everyday emotions. You won't think about emotions in the same way after you read this important book.”
    Daniel L. Schacter,
    author of The Seven Sins of Memory
  • "After reading How Emotions Are Made, I will never think about emotions the same way again. Lisa Barrett opens up a whole new terrain for fighting gender stereotypes and making better policy."
    Anne-Marie Slaughter,
    author of Unfinished Business
  • “This meticulous, well-researched, and deeply thought out book reveals new insights about our emotions—what they are, where they come from, why we have them. For anyone who has struggled to reconcile brain and heart, this book will be a treasure; it explains the science without short-changing the humanism of its topic.”
    Andrew Solomon,
    best-selling author of Far From the Tree and The Noonday Demon
  • “We all harbor an intuition about emotions: that the way you experience joy, fear or anger happens automatically and is pretty much the same as a Kalahari hunter-gatherer. In this excellent new book, Lisa Barrett draws on contemporary research to offer a radically different picture: that the experience of emotion is highly individualized, neurobiologically idiosyncratic, and inseparable from cognition. This is a provocative, accessible, important book.”
    Robert Sapolsky,
    author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers and A Primate’s Memoir
  • “Everything you thought you knew about what you feel and why you feel it turns out to be stunningly wrong. Lisa Barrett illuminates the fascinating new science of our emotions, offering real-world examples of why it matters in realms as diverse as  health, parenting, romantic relationships and national security.”
    Peggy Orenstein,
    author of Girls & Sex
  • “What if everything you thought you knew about lust, anger, grief, and joy was wrong? Lisa Barrett is one of psychology’s wisest and most creative scientists and her theory of constructed emotion is radical and fascinating. Through vivid examples and sharp, clear prose, How Emotions are Made defends a bold new vision of the most central aspects of human nature.”
    Paul Bloom,
    author of Against Empathy and How Pleasure Works
  • “Lisa Barrett writes with great clarity about how your emotions are not merely about what you’re born with, but also about how your brain pieces your feelings together, and how you can contribute to the process. She tells a compelling story.”
    Joseph LeDoux,
    author of Anxious and Synaptic Self
  • How Emotions Are Made offers a grand new conception of emotions—what they are, where they come from, and (most importantly) what they aren’t.  Brain science is the art of the counterintuitive and Lisa Barrett has a remarkable capacity to make the counterintuitive comprehensible.  This book will have you smacking your forehead wondering why it took so long to think this way about the brain.”
    Stuart Firestein,
    author of Failure: Why Science is So Successful and Ignorance: How It Drives Science
  • “Lisa Barrett masterfully integrates discoveries from affective science, neuroscience, social psychology, and philosophy to make sense of the many instances of emotion that you experience and witness each day. How Emotions are Made will help you remake your life, giving you new lenses to see familiar feelings—from anxiety to love—anew.”
    Barbara Fredrickson,
    author of Positivity and Love 2.0
  • “Extraordinarily well written, Lisa Barrett’s How Emotions are Made chronicles a paradigm shift in the science of emotion.  But more than just a chronicle, this book is a brilliant work of translation, translating the new neuroscience of emotion into understandable and readable terms."
    Nancy Gertner,
    Senior Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, and former U.S. federal judge for the United States District Court of Massachusetts
  • "Every lawyer and judge doing serious criminal trials should read this book. We all grapple with the concepts of free will, emotional impulses, and criminal intent, but here these topics are exposed to a new scrutiny and old assumptions are challenged. The interface of law and brain science is suddenly the area we ought to be debating."
    Baroness Helena Kennedy,
    QC, House of Lords, U.K.
  • "[Barrett] presents a new neuroscientific explanation of why people are more swayed by feelings than by facts. [She] progressively builds her case, writing in a conversational tone and using down-to-earth metaphors... [Her] theories of emotion and the human brain set forth here are revolutionary...."
    Library Journal, January 2017
    (starred review)
  • "A well-argued, entertaining disputation of the prevailing view that emotion and reason are at odds. [Barrett contents that] we are responsible for our individual actions, of course, but we also bear responsibility for working to eliminate racial prejudice, gender stereotyping, and the like from our society.... [This] has important legal as well as moral implications and leads into the thorny questions surrounding free will. A highly informative, readable, and wide-ranging discussion."
    Kirkus Reviews, January 2017
    (starred review)
  • "How Emotions are Made is a tour de force in the quest to understand how we perceive, judge and decide. It lays the groundwork to address many of the mysteries of human behavior. I look forward to how this more accurate view of emotion will help my clients in athletics and trading."
    Denise K. Shull, MA,
    Founder and CEO, The ReThink Group
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About Dr. Barrett

Lisa Feldman Barrett

Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, is among the top 0.1% most cited scientists in the world for her revolutionary research in psychology and neuroscience. She is a University Distinguished Professor at Northeastern University with appointments at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Barrett was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in neuroscience in 2019, and she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada. More...

Contact Dr. Barrett