Top critical review
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Overly simplistic and unsubstantiated
on 26 June 2012
I hoped that this book would be a compelling introduction to a subject I know little about. Unfortunately, it is not.
A total lack of citations* leaves the reader unsure what is true (as in verifiable) and what is just plain made up by the author. (Her PhD, I am pained to note, is not in neuroscience, as one might expect given its appearance on the front cover.)
The work is structured thus: 1) a simplistic overview of the four subject neuro-chemicals, 2) discussion of how these shape our brains in unplanned based upon our own eclectic collection of experiences, 3) self-help techniques based on (2). While (3) is clearly a collection of the author's own ideas, without being able to verify (2), I cannot take it seriously. (And indeed the little reading I've done since has made me question whether (1) is a useful simplification or just plain misleading.)
The work is also not proof read, with misplaced commas, capitals, and "to" instead of "too" throughout.
These shortcomings are unfortunate because I think that there is real good in this book. Some of the discussions about how we build circuits in our brains, and why we make the choices we do, seem very insightful. But, again, I cannot tell whether there is good reason to believe that these claims or true, or whether they just seem so. It doesn't matter how true something seems; unless it's verifiable, it does not belong in any text claiming to be scientific.
I have resolved to read much more on this subject but, I'm afraid, not from this author.
*The author gives some excuse about the work being 'synthesised' from many sources. All scientific work is so synthesised! You must still make clear which ideas are your own and which are backed by evidence.