Many books and videos explain the brain, but they are of varying quality. Here are some I especially recommend. They expand upon some of the essay topics in my new book, Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain.
These are all scholarly books, so they’re more challenging reading than Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain, but they are more accessible than average. Think Tank is the most accessible.
- After Phrenology: Neural Reuse and the Interactive Brain, by Michael L. Anderson. A discussion of mapping brain function to brain structure.
- Rhythms of the Brain, by George Buzsaki. How neurons oscillate together, at various frequencies, to achieve various functions.
- How Do You Feel? An Interoceptive Moment with Your Neurobiological Self, by A. D. Craig. The neuroanatomy that supports interoception — the peripheral nerves that bring interoceptive prediction error to the brain, and the brain system that models the body (creates interoception).
- Think Tank: Forty Neuroscientists Explore the Biological Roots of Human Experience, by David J. Linden. Interesting essays on a variety of neuroscience topics by different neuroscientists.
- Networks of the Brain, by Olaf Sporns. An overview of the brain as a complex network.
- Principles of Neural Design, by Peter Sterling and Simon Laughlin. All about general organization principles of the brain.
- Brain Architecture, by Larry Swanson. A discussion of the structural architecture that is shared by mammalian brains.
The UBC Neuroanatomy series from the University of British Columbia shows actual brains and describes the anatomy clearly. The functional and evolutionary discussion is not completely up to date, but the series is still remarkable for its clarity while looking at actual human tissue.
- Introduction to the Central Nervous System
- Introduction to the Spinal Cord
- Development of Spinal Nerves
- Overview of the Brainstem
- Hypothalamus and Limbic System
- Note: Ignore this video’s references to the mythical “limbic system” and discussions of its supposed evolutionary origin. The value of this video is in learning the anatomical designations.
- Subcortical Fiber Tracts
- Visual Pathways
- Basal Ganglia
- The Cerebellum