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Adebola Egunjobi (Peterborough, United Kingdom)
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The Mind's Past
The Mind's Past
by Michael S. Gazzaniga
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The conscious mind is the last to know!, 23 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The Mind's Past (Paperback)
This is a very interesting little book. Although the subject is the complex field of neuroscience, I read it in just one day - Michael Gazzaniga's style is so accessible.

Gazzaniga appears to court controversy with his approach. He starts by suggesting the demise of psychology even as he shows that it has birthed other exciting fields of study. But the main thesis of the book makes the boldest claims - about the purpose of the human brain (to aid sexual reproduction); the origins of the human brain (it has obviously evolved, but at birth each individual's brain is pretty much pre-built - there is no major rewiring during infancy etc. Thus the suggestion that reading to babies helps the development of their brains is not scientific); memory is not accurate (and thus autobiographies are works of fiction!); our brain (and body) has usually made its decision regarding an impulse before our conscious mind becomes aware of the impulse; the narrator in our head (specifically, in our left-brain) is continuously interpreting our life's experiences to us even when the experiences cannot possibly make any sense; etc etc.

It is a great book to whet one's appetite for the curiousities of the human mind. It does not go into great depth, being a small book, and it will probably leave you wanting to find out more. This may be 'pop' neuroscience, but Gazzaniga is an authority in the field who definitely knows what he is talking about.


Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race and Family Life
Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race and Family Life
by Annette Lareau
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars This book can improve the way you raise your child, 13 Feb. 2011
An eye-opening study into why and how some children learn to grow up successful in life while some others unfortunately do not. The findings of this social study can help parents of all types improve the positive exposure and upbringing of their children. It is also particularly helpful to teachers who may want to know why some children do better in school than others. Such teachers can work with school children and their parents to make small but significant improvements to the childrens' learning abilities.

For example, after the school holidays, children from middle class homes are more likely to return to school with improved reading skills than children from poorer homes - why is this and what can be done to help the poorer children keep up?

Another example: what role does structured play take in helping children to grow into assertive adults? What about unstructured play? Is one any better than the other?

After reading this book I bought copies for my brothers and their wives!


An Unquiet Mind
An Unquiet Mind
by Kay R. Jamison
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read for anyone who wants to fully understand bipolar disorder, 13 Feb. 2011
This review is from: An Unquiet Mind (Paperback)
This has to be one of the most compelling memoirs I have ever read! It is not so much the story of a person, as a detailed case study of an illness. Using her own life experiences, Kay Jamison discusses every aspect of manic-depressive illness (bipolar disorder).

Professor Jamison, who also co-wrote the classic medical textbook on bipolar disorder, has in this simple book made a thorough understanding of the illness accessible to everyone. She has written in a tone and style that is enjoyable and easy to follow.

I would not only recommend this book to everyone who has a professional or personal relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder; I would also recommend it to anyone who wants to empathise better with sufferers of any mental illness.

In her own words, Professor Jamison has been very fortunate to have love sustain, renew and protect her through "the darker seasons and grimmer weather". Many of the sufferers in our lives have not been so fortunate.


Touched With Fire: Manic-depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament
Touched With Fire: Manic-depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament
by Kay R. Jamison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.66

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling case, 13 Feb. 2011
Professor Jamison has put together a compelling case for the link between Manic-Depressive Illness and creativity in authors, artists and composers. Based on the words of the persons themselves, their biographers and their doctors. She also shows that it is a genetic illness.

My favourite part: the chapter on Lord Byron is very compelling, as is the following chapter on various other creative personalities.

Critic: Professor Jamison did not discuss the interplay between genetics and environmental factors. E.g. to what extent is the illness influenced by upbringing (e.g. the home environment) - if your grandfather committed suicide & your father committed suicide, how likely are you to do the same even if it is not a genetic pre-disposition? Interestingly however, Lord Byron never saw his daughter Ada beyond her first birthday - yet she grew up (with a sane mother) with some of her father's tendencies (although she was not diagnosed with the illness nor hospitalised).


Pulse
Pulse
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £9.20

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Album from Toni Braxton, 9 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Pulse (Audio CD)
The BBC Review (on Amazon.co.uk) is unfair to this album. I bought the album despite the review because I had heard 'Yesterday' on the radio and was captivated by it. The song doesn't disappoint, and neither does the rest of the album.

A splendid collection of sultry ballads in Toni's inimicable style, lightly sprinkled with some old fashioned dance tracks. I cried when I first heard 'Woman' because it reminded my painfully of how my last relationship had gone wrong. 'If I Have to Wait' was another personal reminder. No one does songs like 'Hero' and 'Pulse' the way Toni Braxton does. And I think 'Why Won't You Love Me' is a great song for the ladies.

I don't like every song - one or two of the dance tracks are a little weak. But I'm finding myself setting the entire album to shuffle mode on my ipod and playing it all day long. These songs are great easy-listening for me in any order. This is an album that deserves great success, if the recording company would just market it a little more.

Thanks, Toni, for doing it again!


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