Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain
A brain-boosting collection of short essays in the tradition of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.
Have you ever wondered why you have a brain? Let renowned neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett demystify that big gray blob between your ears.
In seven short essays (plus a bite-sized story about how brains evolved), this slim, entertaining, and accessible collection reveals mind-expanding lessons from the front lines of neuroscience research. You’ll learn where brains came from, how they’re structured (and why it matters), and how yours works in tandem with other brains to create everything you experience. Along the way, you’ll also learn to dismiss popular myths such as the idea of a “lizard brain” and the alleged battle between thoughts and emotions, or even between nature and nurture, to determine your behavior.
Sure to intrigue casual readers and scientific veterans alike, Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain is full of surprises, humor, and important implications for human nature.
Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain was written with generous support from a Guggenheim Fellowship and a book grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Excerpt from Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain
“Why did a brain like yours evolve? The obvious answer is to think. It’s common to assume that brains evolved in some kind of upward progression — say, from lower animals to higher animals, with the most sophisticated, thinking brain of all, the human brain, at the top. After all, thinking is the human superpower, right?
“Well, the obvious answer turns out to be wrong. In fact, the idea that our brains evolved for thinking has been the source of many profound misconceptions about human nature. Once you give up that cherished belief, you will have taken the first step toward understanding how your brain actually works and what its most important job is — and, ultimately, what kind of creature you really are.”
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Additional Resources for Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain
See the extended endnotes for the book.