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A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives Paperback – 4 Jan 2007
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'Consistently well-written and meticulously researched' -- Alain de Botton * The Sunday Times * 'In breezy demotic, Fine offers an entertaining tour of current thinking' * Telegraph * 'Fine sets out to demonstrate that the human brain is vainglorious and stubborn. She succeeds brilliantly.' * Mail on Sunday * 'This is one of the most interesting and amusing accounts of how we think we think - I think.' * Alexander McCall Smith * 'A fascinating, funny, disconcerting and lucid book ... by the end you'll realise that your brain can (and does) run rings around you.' * Helen Dunmore * 'Fine, a cognitive neuroscientist with a sharp sense of humour and an intelligent sense of reality, slaps an Asbo on the hundred billion grey cells that - literally - have shifty, ruthless, self-serving minds of their own.' * The Times * 'Clear, accessible writing makes her a science writer to watch' * Metro * 'Fine wears her learning lightly, blending facts with humorous observations. The result is a fascinating insight into how our minds work.' * Psychologies * 'A witty survey of psychology experiments demonstrating the depths of our suggestibility, the irrationality of our reasoning and the limits of free will.' * Focus *
About the Author
Cordelia Fine is a Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of much-acclaimed Delusions of Gender (Icon, 2010) and Testosterone Rex (Icon, 2017).See all Product description
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The book starts off a little too 'chatty' but as well as more jokey considerations such as the problems many of us have trying to tell our brains to switch off when our bodies want to go to sleep, there is some serious cause for thought here- such as the research about how our own mood has been proven to affect which moods we perceive on other people's faces, and then particularly in the chapter "The Bigoted Brain" that gives examples of how subtly influenced and 'primed' we may be by images we see of the opposite sex, or people of other skin colours to our own. It is a thought-provoking book, you should read it and feel a little bit ashamed for having a brain at all...
The book is extremely readable, thanks to a very balanced writing style and also by the way in which the more dry scientific information is all relegated into the Notes And References section at the back of the book- meaning that you can read the main text without being troubled by too many obscure names of scientists or processes, or you can read every reference to get a more information-heavy read-through.
This book was strongly recommended to me by a friend, who obviously thought I needed to read it, and I'm very glad I have now read it. I in turn recommended it to a friend who is a consultant psychiatrist, and in fact he'd already read it and thought it was very good too. So it works for a top brain-doctor and for a complete layman like me. Exceptional.
Cordelia Fine has collected together research conducted by psychologists which illuminates how our brains function. But this is done in fairly broad brushstrokes. Anyone wanting a textbook on neurophysiology should look elsewhere. This could still have resulted in a very inaccessible book but this is not the case here. Her writing style is beautifully clear and lucid and I enjoyed her self-deprecating humour.
There are odd moments when you find yourself immersed in the details of some experiment but it is not long before you are drawn back into the warmth of some anecdote concerning her relationship with her husband. Indeed the frequent windows which are opened onto her marriage give this book a humanity which is most appealing.
A book which left me feeling charmed and educated in equal measures.
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