Neuroscience isn’t really my thing, so when my teenage daughter came asking for suggestions of a good popular book on the subject I took to Twitter. Several people kindly made suggestions, while others asked to be notified of the outcome of my quest. It seems to be a popular subject.
Here, in no particular order are the titles that were offered.
Steve Black, a friend from my college days, offered Vilayanur Ramachandran’s The Emerging Mind (which are his 2003 Reith Lectures and are available from the BBC website) and his earlier Phantoms in the Brain (1999).
I myself had been thinking of David Eagleman’s Incognito (2012), which science writer Amy Harmon told me she is presently reading. Eagleman chimed in on Twitter* to confirm the sagacity of this choice.
Many thanks to all who made recommendations. If you have read any of these titles (or others not listed), please let me know what you thought. My daughter will be much obliged.
Update 1 (15 Sept; 08:52): After posting this, several other suggestions have come in through the comments (see below) and on Twitter.
Ron Reid felt Christof Koch’s The Quest for Consciousness (2004) to be worthy of consideration even if it is a bit more academic. He also recommended various titles by Oliver Sacks, including The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, Awakenings and Uncle Tungsten; Nicole Slavin would add Musicophilia to that list of Sacks favourites.
Update 2 (15 Sept; 21:17): The recommendations have kept on coming, so here is another slew.
Aidan Horner thought Charles Ferneyhough’s Pieces of Light: the new science of memory (2013) was great. It was shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize 2013 and the 2013 Best Book of Ideas Prize — and recommended by Frank Norman in the comments below.
Divija Rao mentioned (but did not assess) Rhythms of the Brain (2011) by Gyorgy Buszáki. However, Amazon reviewers called it ‘scholarly’ and ‘dense but readable’. Science writer David Dobbs declared it to be ‘an amazing book’. But it may be a bit pricey for the casual reader.
Thanks again to all who took the trouble to share their favourites. Now, which one shall I get for my daughter…?
*I would have embedded some of the tweets I got but can’t seem to get Twitter to play with WordPress tonight.