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In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind [Hardcover]

Eric R Kandel
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Jun 2006 0393058638 978-0393058635 First Edition
This "important and marvelous book" ("The New York Times") gives Eric Kandel's account of how his personal quest to understand memory intersected with the emergence of a new science. It relates the story of how four distinct disciplines - behaviourist psychology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience and molecular biology - converged into a powerful new science of mind. Kandel's multifaceted perspective was the foundation for his path-breaking research that will continue to dominate modern thought - not only in science but in culture at large.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co.; First Edition edition (30 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393058638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393058635
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16.4 x 3.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 885,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Review

"The weaving of science and memoir, in a clear and unadorned style, is especially effective..." The Economist "[A] scrupulously detailed yet magnificently panoramic autobiography." The New York Times"

About the Author

ERIC R. KANDEL is the University Professor at Columbia University and a senior investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Kandel received the Nobel Prize in 2000.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
An inspiring book, by one of the great pioneers in the subject of how neurons learn. Apart from giving us an easy to comprehend, authoritative and extremely interesting account of experiments relating to this subject, Kandel tells us a great deal about his fascinating and moving life story, and how this was responsible for the orientation of his experiments. In this way, the book gives us insights into the human face of science and, in doing so, provides a context to the scientific findings described, which makes them easier understand and evaluate. In particular, it helps to know that, when the author was making detailed investigations of a single neuron of a sea slug, what he was really interested in was what he had motivated him from the beginning, namely, trying to explain the ruthless human behaviour that he and his family saw at first-hand in pre-war Nazi Austria. From the beginning, much influenced by his family's contacts with pioneer Viennese Psychiatrists, he had been interested in global aspects of the Science of Mind, and it is to these grand issues that he returned in his later years, and with which the last chapters of his book are concerned. In these, he tells us how far he and his fellow researchers have got in pushing forward their understanding of this vast subject. Inevitably, the outcomes are more suggestive than definitive, but the progress of science depends on provoking thought. In all, a splendid read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure and an education. 2 July 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The combination of autobiography and science makes it unique. The author acts as an enthusiastic guide to a fascinating area of scientific research. Perhaps there are too many reminiscences about Kandel's colleagues but this adds to the humanity of the story. In no way does it resemble a textbook but this book taught me more about the biology of the brain than any other. I wish I had read it when I was considering university options.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very informative and even entertaining 1 Dec 2007
Format:Paperback
A fabulous book from a distinguished scientist who has spent his career in search of memory. Part memoir, part history of neuroscience, and part pop science account, this is definitely an informative and even an entertaining read. It is filled with colorful characters from the past and present of neuroscience, some famous, some primarily known within their particular field of research. One of these colorful characters was Alden Spencer, who was one of Kandel's colleagues, who had a sharp mind and died at a tragically young age. The book also contains some very interesting information about the brain basis of mental illness, including some interesting rodent studies. Also discusses a merging of biological and psychoanalytical thought, plus some recent ideas about consciousness. Overall, a very worthwhile and enjoyable read, for the scientist and general reader alike, delivered with the same thoughtfulness and attention to detail as in his co-authored textbook, Principles of Neural Science. Author of Adjust Your Brain: A Practical Theory for Maximizing Mental Health.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Science and autobiography 13 Sep 2006
Format:Hardcover
Kandel's book is a mixture of science and autobiography, beginning with the flight of his family from Nazi Vienna and concluding with his Nobel Prize and current scientific interests.
His writing is at its best when dealing with science. For a non-scientist, such as myself, his explanations are mercifully clear. The frequent diagrams also help. Although there were passages dealing with the mammalian brain that I found tough going these were few, and leavened by episodes of personal history and anecdote.
Ultimately my expectations created by the book title were not fully borne out. I will not be the only one to wonder whether the sea snail results, however fascinating, really do tell us much about what we commonly think of as memory. Overall I benefited greatly from the investment of time the book requires.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my Listmania for this subject 27 Feb 2009
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This one is well worth your time if you are interested in the science behind memory. Detailing his story intertwined with the narrative of progressive discovery, its a sit down with a cup of tea book that isn't afraid to dig into quite some depth, albeit in places and briefly. Reading this also introduces you to how a scientist might really be thinking when he meanders his way along the road to the discoveries that we get on a platter at the end of it.

What I find fascinating about the whole subject is that a book such as this hands the intelligent reader a mans life work on a platter and makes it easily understood. The work in reality fills a number of rather sizable text books at the least not to mention innumerable papers etc.

If you've got a shelf on the brain at home that you read through, add this to it :).
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5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating read 14 Mar 2014
By alex13
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
recommended reading for a MOOC course I was studying, this is both an interesting autobiography and a fascinating insight into some of the workings of the brain
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