Brain Books!

Given the popularity of Norman Doidge’s book, The Brain’s Way of Healing and the current interest in neuroplasticity, it is plain that neuroscience is a hot topic just now. Here are a few additional non-intimidating titles that will inspire and fascinate.

TaleDuelingNeurosurgeonsThe Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, by Sam Kean

Popular science at its best. Historically, brain research consisted of waiting for a traumatic event, and then observing the patient’s strange shifts in personality, focus, and interests. Kean’s book is chock full of fascinating anecdotes which he uses to illustrate the development of modern neurology. It’s an entertaining, compelling, and educational read.

My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte TaylorStrokeOfInsight

This is the astonishing journey of a brain scientist who suffers a stroke. Because of her neurological training, she is able to identify and articulate the different brain functions affected as the trauma progresses. What’s more, her observations will make you think about issues ranging from spiritual insight, to childhood perceptions. Fascinating.

AutisticBrainThe Autistic Brain, by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek

Reporting from the forefront of autism science, the irrepressible Temple Grandin weaves together her own experiences with new discoveries from neuroimaging and genetic science. She advocates for a strength based approach to treatment, focusing on what kids on the spectrum can do, rather than on their weaknesses. This is a human and enlightening narrative about a condition the author knows from the inside.

A Leg to Stand On, by Oliver SacksLegToStandOn

What list of popular brain books would be complete without something by the late Oliver Sacks? In this extraordinary book, Sacks relates his own experience with the mysteries of neurology. After a hiking accident, Sack’s recuperation is complicated when he finds that his injured leg no longer feels like it is part of his body. A remarkable narrative told with signature Sacksian humour, curiosity, humanity, and wonder.

ConcussionConcussion, by Jeanne Marie Laskas

When an immigrant doctor performed an autopsy on “Iron Mike,” a hall of fame football player, he didn’t expect to become the target of the powerful and moneyed National Football League. But his research revealed that Mike’s mental deterioration and death were the result of repeated blows to the head from years of playing football – research the NFL did everything in its power to discredit and suppress. Recently made into a film starring Will Smith.

The Future of the Mind, by Michio KakuFutureOfMind

Smart pills that enhance cognition; uploading a brain to a computer; recording memories; the ability to control computers with our minds – these are some of the ideas Kaku floats in this tour of what our neurological future might hold. Written by a theoretical physicist, this book provides a captivating look at the amazing research currently being done in the field of neuroscience.


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