Customer Reviews


11 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very in depth review of current reseach
I bought this book expecting it to be a light hearted look at how the brain works. Instead it was a very in depth review of the current state of research into brain function. It was fascinating but quite hard going for a non-specialist like myself. If you are prepared to put in the effort, this book is a very informative read.
Published on 7 Jan 2004

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative but quite academic in style
I read this book as a follow-up to Robert Winston's "The Human Mind" and it's interesting to draw a comparison.

I would suggest that if the prospective reader wants a "pop science" overview of how the Brain works, that they should start with Robert Winston's book. If, after that, you would like to know more, then John Ratey's book is a good follow-up...
Published on 5 July 2008 by jz


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very in depth review of current reseach, 7 Jan 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: A User's Guide To The Brain (Paperback)
I bought this book expecting it to be a light hearted look at how the brain works. Instead it was a very in depth review of the current state of research into brain function. It was fascinating but quite hard going for a non-specialist like myself. If you are prepared to put in the effort, this book is a very informative read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, but best taken in segments, 28 Nov 2005
This review is from: A User's Guide To The Brain (Paperback)
I bought this book quite some time ago and found it very informative, very deep and profoundly interesting.
However, I did feel it was quite heavy going at times and I found it gave me so much to digest that I couldn't read it straight through, I had to stop every now and then to think about what I had just read. It certainly extended the life of the book!
I wouldn't recommend this book as just light reading, but I would recommend it to anyone with some interest in the human mind and human behaviour.
The effort it takes to read it the whole of the way through is well worth it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very interesting, 11 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A User's Guide To The Brain (Paperback)
very interesting for someone who has done any proper science/ biology since A-level over 20 years ago. I would definitively need to read it again if I was hoping to remember all the chemical processes but the examples are very good and very informative. I am a teacher and find it useful to have a good understanding of the brain's mechanisms
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A users guide to the brain, 24 Feb 2011
This review is from: A User's Guide To The Brain (Paperback)
Following a very interesting lecture by a psychologist on how to help people deal with addictions and the role of the Brain in regard to this, I wanted to know more and have found this book really useful and clearly written. It is of great interest to my work.
Chloe
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It flows and ends on a high note ..., 1 Feb 2009
This review is from: A User's Guide To The Brain (Paperback)
This is a splendid book. Having read two brain books in a row that really engaged my attention, this third one did not let me down. As a general reader who had been prepared for neuroscience jargon by previous reading I did not feel that Ratey's book was too technical. It flowed easily through case studies, scientific explanations and accounts of neuroscientific research at an easy pace that was helped by having things split into short sections that tackled defined topics. Each chapter had something for the individual who wants to understand his own brain; for the parent or grandparent who wants to understand a child's development; or for the person who knows someone who has to cope with some kind of brain limitation. As a final treat, Chapter 9,The Four Theaters, explains a new perspective in defining mental disorders which should give us all hope. This should be read even if all the previous chapters are not. I agree with another reviewer that better diagrams would have helped but I am not a neuroscientist and I do not have to know and name each part of the brain so this didn't detract from the overall appeal of the book for me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro for the interested layman, 27 Feb 2009
By 
Richard Griffiths "SoulFireMage" (Bristol UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A User's Guide To The Brain (Paperback)
I recommend this in my Listmania "Teach yourself Neuroscience" :). After The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science I recommend this.

Basically Doidge fires off your enthusiasm with just about no technicality's. Ratey continues this but introduces some depth. You'll need some genuine interest and enthusiasm for the subject for sure. However he's writing for the interested layman. So there is some work to be done-not loads mind. I found that it's pretty easy to get into, and continue with. Only the chapter on the Four Theatres I felt I needed to really reread and concentrate hard on. The rest flowed easily.

You either come out of it ready to tackle Kandel's book In Search of Memory on my list, or something similar or you simply reread it and justifiably feel far better informed than you were before.

Either way if you've read little on the mind but want to get into the meat and potatoes of it, make this one of your first few stops.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative but quite academic in style, 5 July 2008
By 
jz (Wantage, Oxon, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A User's Guide To The Brain (Paperback)
I read this book as a follow-up to Robert Winston's "The Human Mind" and it's interesting to draw a comparison.

I would suggest that if the prospective reader wants a "pop science" overview of how the Brain works, that they should start with Robert Winston's book. If, after that, you would like to know more, then John Ratey's book is a good follow-up.

Don't be deceived by the friendly title and cover - from a layman's point of view this is in-depth and academic in its style.

Personally I found it pretty hard going as bedtime reading, but I persevered and it was **intellectually** worth the effort. And there's the thing: if you're left-brained you will get a lot from this book - but I suspect those with right-dominated brains will find the text rather unemotional and un-engaging for a topic which is so human.

The other thing that lets this book down is an absence of diagrams - if "a picture paints a thousand words" then the author will almost always go for the loquacious option. Eventualy I found a decent graphic of the brain on New Scientist's website, printed it out and glued it into the front cover. But really I shouldn't have had to do that.

So in summary, this is not a bad book but it needs to work out who its target market is, and brand itself accordingly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating journey, 1 Oct 2012
By 
S. Meadows (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A User's Guide To The Brain (Paperback)
As suggested by the title, this is all about how the brain works. What is fascinating about it in particular are the anecdotes showing what happens when things in the brain go wrong. It is well-known to be amongst the complicated creations in the universe. The author opens up with a look at how we develop, before talking about how we perceive things. As is the case throughout the book, much of what we know (which the author admits is still very limited) comes about from examining the "extremities" of human existence. If you were looking for a discussion on anything other human brains, this isn't the book for you. There is some discussion of our evolutionary roots, but this is minimal.

Moving on, Ratey controversially posits that `attention' and `consciousness' are simply different levels of the same basic phenomenon. This is based on attempts to distinguish the two and the failures of those attempts, with a particularly grey area in between them. He goes on to cover various functions of the brain such as movement, memory, emotion and language. All of this is told in a very straightforward manner, although Ratey doesn't shy away from the more neurological language which may put off some readers.

Throughout the book, Ratey is keen to stress that there is rarely one area of the brain that is responsible for one thing. Instead, the brain is built of multiple overlapping and interconnected networks which, when the neurons are stimulated in certain patterns, produce effects we can recognise and label.

At 380 pages, the book does seem a little longer than it needs to be and towards the end I was just wanting to get it over and done with, as Ratey started to cover ground already well-trodden earlier in the book. The last couple of chapters started ringing a few alarm bells. For example I'm not sure if most embryologists would concur with the statement, "The day an infant is conceived it begins to perceive the natural world, and also becomes aware of its own internal states..."

That aside, it's well worth a read, but don't expect to get through it in one afternoon.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible, clear, and incredibly useful, 30 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A User's Guide To The Brain (Paperback)
I bought this book and used it as research for a novel. If you're interested in how our brains work and what goes wrong with them, I can strongly recommend it. Ratey describes the issues with an American's eye for straightforward words and uncomplicated sentences, and you'll finish it understanding the problems much, much better. An excellent book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 24 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A User's Guide To The Brain (Paperback)
Finding it very useful
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A User's Guide To The Brain
A User's Guide To The Brain by Dr. John J. Ratey (Paperback - 5 Jun 2003)
11.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews