Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale
Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale__right
Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale__after

Some wear to exterior, but overall good condition copy with tight binding. Although it is not common, some of our good condition books may contain some highlighting or writing. Ships direct from Amazon and eligible for Prime Shipping!
See more
Sold by Powwow Products and fulfilled by Amazon.
[{"displayPrice":"$14.69","priceAmount":14.69,"currencySymbol":"$","integerValue":"14","decimalSeparator":".","fractionalValue":"69","symbolPosition":"left","hasSpace":false,"showFractionalPartIfEmpty":true,"offerListingId":"H9yMSv%2B%2F5nmMgVg4PyP7oJxLFX07XgjCt%2FeE6tHY7R5Fea5br4AnFvTq2v6KnWX8uEmLoFT%2FEYgybxyPedyztwKE2w5i06Xk3J3iEtPb78AhKIzcUaW0YPJkqRvWSsxCbiUuyWwudhd3pfc8pSygsg%3D%3D","locale":"en-US","buyingOptionType":"NEW"},{"displayPrice":"$8.58","priceAmount":8.58,"currencySymbol":"$","integerValue":"8","decimalSeparator":".","fractionalValue":"58","symbolPosition":"left","hasSpace":false,"showFractionalPartIfEmpty":true,"offerListingId":"YVqewYa0odFH%2F71xPx5WJrkrPf7lSCq2rDPFDHAs0mu%2F7ZZY3Fxu0cA5wwEHbPwyGFDLZKSz%2BWEmIycmEZzIhneCWjeoYDEl%2BTVvarCvAiJ2FFj6aYHVzOPgiuqyGQXs6i6oyGdAGn9CURyurpv7OHeuzlQ59D1jWvXrdA4oDn4rrXtOq6rHS4mvA2uvNAUx","locale":"en-US","buyingOptionType":"USED"}]
$$14.69 () Includes selected options. Includes initial monthly payment and selected options. Details
Price
Subtotal
$$14.69
Subtotal
Initial payment breakdown
Shipping cost, delivery date, and order total (including tax) shown at checkout.
ADD TO LIST
Available at a lower price from other sellers that may not offer free Prime shipping.
SELL ON AMAZON
Share this product with friends
Text Message
WhatsApp
Copy
press and hold to copy
Email
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Loading your book clubs
There was a problem loading your book clubs. Please try again.
Not in a club? Learn more
Join or create book clubs
Choose books together
Track your books
Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free. Explore Amazon Book Clubs
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Frequently bought together

+
+
Choose items to buy together.
Buy all three: $45.67
$14.69
$13.99
$16.99
Total price:
To see our price, add these items to your cart.
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Book details

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Description

Product Description

If the conscious mind--the part you consider to be you--is just the tip of the iceberg, what is the rest doing?
 
In this sparkling and provocative book, renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate its surprising mysteries. Why can your foot move halfway to the brake pedal before you become consciously aware of danger ahead? Is there a true Mel Gibson? How is your brain like a conflicted democracy engaged in civil war? What do Odysseus and the subprime mortgage meltdown have in common? Why are people whose names begin with J more like to marry other people whose names begin with J? And why is it so difficult to keep a secret?
 
Taking in brain damage, plane spotting, dating, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence, and visual illusions, Incognito is a thrilling subsurface exploration of the mind and all its contradictions.

Review

A Boston Globe Best Book of the Year

“Original and provocative. . . . A smart, captivating book that will give you a prefrontal workout.”
Nature 
 
“A popularizer of impressive gusto . . . [Eagleman] aims, grandly, to do for the study of the mind what Copernicus did for the study of the stars. . . . Incognito proposes a grand new account of the relationship between consciousness and the brain. It is full of dazzling ideas, as it is chockablock with facts and instances.”
The New York Observer
 
“Eagleman engagingly sums up recent discoveries about the unconscious processes that dominate our mental life. . . . [He] is the kind of guy who really does make being a neuroscientist look like fun.”
The New York Times
 
“Although Incognito is fast-paced, mind-bending stuff, it’s a book for regular folks. Eagleman does a brilliant job refining heavy science into a compelling read. He is a gifted writer.”
Houston Chronicle 

“Eagleman has a talent for testing the untestable, for taking seemingly sophomoric notions and using them to nail down the slippery stuff of consciousness.”
The New Yorker  
 
Incognito does the right thing by diving straight into the deep end and trying to swim. Eagleman, by imagining the future so vividly, puts into relief just how challenging neuroscience is, and will be.”
The Boston Globe
 
“Appealing and persuasive.”
The Wall Street Journal
 
“Your mind is an elaborate trick, and mastermind David Eagleman explains how the trick works with great lucidity and amazement. Your mind will thank you.”
Wired
 
“A fun read by a smart person for smart people. . . . It will attract a new generation to ponder their inner workings.”
New Scientist

“Fascinating. . . . Eagleman has the ability to turn hard science and jargon into interesting and relatable prose, illuminating the mind’s processes with clever analogies and metaphors.”
Salt Lake City Weekly
 
“Touches on some of the more intriguing cul-de-sacs of human behavior.”
Santa Cruz Sentinel
 
“Startling. . . . It’s a book that will leave you looking at yourself—and the world—differently.”
Austin American-Statesman
 
“Sparkling and provocative. . . . A thrilling subsurface exploration of the mind and all its contradictions.”
The Courier-Journal
 
“After you read Eagleman’s breezy treatment of the brain, you will marvel at how much is illusory that we think is real, and how we sometimes function on autopilot without consciously knowing what is happening. . . . This is a fascinating book.”
The Advocate
 
“A pleasure to read. . . . If a reader is looking for a fun but illuminating read, Incognito is a good choice. With its nice balance between hard science and entertaining anecdotes, it is a good alternative to the usual brainless summer blockbusters.”
Deseret News
 
Incognito is fun to read, full of neat factoids and clever experiments. . . . Eagleman says he’s looking to do for neuroscience what Carl Sagan did for astrophysics, and he’s already on his way.”
Texas Monthly
 
“Eagleman presents difficult neuroscience concepts in an energetic, casual voice with plenty of analogies and examples to ensure that what could easily be an overwhelming catalog of facts remains engaging and accessible. . . . The ideas in Eagleman’s book are well-articulated and entertaining, elucidated with the intelligent, casual tone of an enthusiastic university lecturer.”
—TheMillions.com
 
“Written in clear, precise language, the book is sure to appeal to readers with an interest in psychology and the human mind, but it will also please people who just want to know, with a little more clarity, what is going on inside their own skulls.”
—Booklist

 
“A stunning exploration of the we behind the I. Eagleman reveals, with his typical grace and eloquence, all the neural magic tricks behind the cognitive illusion we call reality.”
—Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide

“A fascinating, dynamic, faceted look under the hood of the conscious mind. . . . Equal parts entertaining and illuminating, the case studies, examples and insights in Incognito are more than mere talking points to impressed at the next dinner party, poised instead to radically shift your understanding of the world, other people, and your own mind.”
—Brain Pickings 

“Eagleman engagingly sums up recent discoveries about the unconscious processes that dominate our mental life.”
—The New York Times Book Review  
 
“Fascinating. . . . Eagleman has the ability to turn hard science and jargon into interesting and relatable prose, illuminating the mind’s processes with clever analogies and metaphors.”
Salt  Lake City Weekly
 
“A great beach read.“
Philadelphia City Paper

Incognito feels like learning the secrets of a magician. In clear prose, Eagleman condenses complex concepts and reinforces his points through analogies, pop culture, current events, optical illusions, anecdotes, and fun facts.”
—Frontier Psychiatrist 
 
“One of those books that could change everything.”
—Sam Snyder, blog
 
“Buy this book. The pithy observations, breezy language and wow-inducing anecdotes provide temporary pleasure, but the book’s real strength is in its staying power.“
Science News 
 
“A whirlwind, high-definition look at the neural underpinnings of our everyday thinking and perception . . . fascinating.”
—Brettworks.com

“Eagleman embodies what is fascinating, fun, and hopeful about modern neuroscience.”
—Brainstorm.com  
 
“After you read Eagleman’s breezy treatment of the brain, you will marvel at how much is illusory that we think is real, and how we sometimes function out autopilot without consciously knowing what is happening. . . . This is a fascinating book.”
—The Advocate 
 
“Funny, gripping and often shocking . . . Eagleman writes great sentences of the sort that you might be inclined to read to those in your general vicinity.”
—bookotron.com 

Incognito reads like a series of fascinating vignettes, offering plenty of pauses for self-reflection. Eagleman’s anecdotes are funny and easily tie to the concepts he explains. Moreover, his enthusiasm for the subject is obvious and contagious.”
—Spectrum Culture 

Incognito is popular science at its best . . . beautifully synthesized.” — Boston Globe Best of 2011

About the Author

DAVID EAGLEMAN is a neuroscientist, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a New York Times bestselling author. His books have been translated into 27 languages. Eagleman heads the Laboratory for Perception and Action at Baylor College of Medicine, and is the founding Director of the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law. He is the author and presenter of the PBS series The Brain.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

There’s Someone In My Head, But It’s Not Me
 
Take a close look at yourself in the mirror. Beneath your dashing good looks churns a hidden universe of networked machinery. The machinery includes a sophisticated scaffolding of interlocking bones, a netting of sinewy muscles, a good deal of specialized fluid, and a collaboration of internal organs chugging away in darkness to keep you alive. A sheet of high-tech self-healing sensory material that we call skin seamlessly covers your machinery in a pleasing package.
 
And then there’s your brain. Three pounds of the most complex material we’ve discovered in the universe. This is the mission control center that drives the whole operation, gathering dispatches through small portals in the armored bunker of the skull.
 
Your brain is built of cells called neurons and glia—hundreds of billions of them. Each one of these cells is as complicated as a city. And each one contains the entire human genome and traffics billions of molecules in intricate economies. Each cell sends electrical pulses to other cells, up to hundreds of times per second. If you represented each of these trillions and trillions of pulses in your brain by a single photon of light, the combined output would be blinding.
 
The cells are connected to one another in a network of such staggering complexity that it bankrupts human language and necessitates new strains of mathematics. A typical neuron makes about ten thousand connections to neighboring neurons. Given the billions of neurons, this means there are as many connections in a single cubic centimeter of brain tissue as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
 
The three-pound organ in your skull—with its pink consistency of Jell-o—is an alien kind of computational material. It is composed of miniaturized, self-configuring parts, and it vastly outstrips anything we’ve dreamt of building. So if you ever feel lazy or dull, take heart: you’re the busiest, brightest thing on the planet.
 
Ours is an incredible story. As far as anyone can tell, we’re the only system on the planet so complex that we’ve thrown ourselves headlong into the game of deciphering our own programming language. Imagine that your desktop computer began to control its own peripheral devices, removed its own cover, and pointed its webcam at its own circuitry. That’s us.
 
And what we’ve discovered by peering into the skull ranks among the most significant intellectual developments of our species: the recognition that the innumerable facets of our behavior, thoughts, and experience are inseparably yoked to a vast, wet, chemicalelectrical network called the nervous system. The machinery is utterly alien to us, and yet, somehow, it is us.
 
THE TREMENDOUS MAGIC
 
In 1949, Arthur Alberts traveled from his home in Yonkers, New York, to villages between the Gold Coast and Timbuktu in West Africa. He brought his wife, a camera, a jeep, and—because of his love of music—a jeep-powered tape recorder. Wanting to open the ears of the western world, he recorded some of the most important music ever to come out of Africa. But Alberts ran into social troubles while using the tape recorder. One West African native heard his voice played back and accused Alberts of “stealing his tongue.” Alberts only narrowly averted being pummeled by taking out a mirror and convincing the man that his tongue was still intact.
 
It’s not difficult to see why the natives found the tape recorder so counterintuitive. A vocalization seems ephemeral and ineffable: it is like opening a bag of feathers which scatter on the breeze and can never be retrieved. Voices are weightless and odorless, something you cannot hold in your hand.
 
So it comes as a surprise that a voice is physical. If you build a little machine sensitive enough to detect tiny compressions of the molecules in the air, you can capture these density changes and reproduce them later. We call these machines microphones, and every one of the billions of radios on the planet is proudly serving up bags of feathers once thought irretrievable. When Alberts played the music back from the tape recorder, one West African tribesman depicted the feat as “tremendous magic.”
 
And so it goes with thoughts. What exactly is a thought? It doesn’t seem to weigh anything. It feels ephemeral and ineffable. You wouldn’t think that a thought has a shape or smell or any sort of physical instantiation. Thoughts seem to be a kind of tremendous magic.
 
But just like voices, thoughts are underpinned by physical stuff. We know this because alterations to the brain change the kinds of thoughts we can think. In a state of deep sleep, there are no thoughts. When the brain transitions into dream sleep, there are unbidden, bizarre thoughts. During the day we enjoy our normal, wellaccepted thoughts, which people enthusiastically modulate by spiking the chemical cocktails of the brain with alcohol, narcotics, cigarettes, coffee, or physical exercise. The state of the physical material determines the state of the thoughts.
 
And the physical material is absolutely necessary for normal thinking to tick along. If you were to injure your pinkie in an accident you’d be distressed, but your conscious experience would be no different. By contrast, if you were to damage an equivalently sized piece of brain tissue, this might change your capacity to understand music, name animals, see colors, judge risk, make decisions, read signals from your body, or understand the concept of a mirror—thereby unmasking the strange, veiled workings of the machinery beneath. Our hopes, dreams, aspirations, fears, comic instincts, great ideas, fetishes, senses of humor, and desires all emerge from this strange organ—and when the brain changes, so do we. So although it’s easy to intuit that thoughts don’t have a physical basis, that they are something like feathers on the wind, they in fact depend directly on the integrity of the enigmatic, three-pound mission control center.
 
The first thing we learn from studying our own circuitry is a simple lesson: most of what we do and think and feel is not under our conscious control. The vast jungles of neurons operate their own programs. The conscious you—the I that flickers to life when you wake up in the morning—is the smallest bit of what’s transpiring in your brain. Although we are dependent on the functioning of the brain for our inner lives, it runs its own show. Most of its operations are above the security clearance of the conscious mind. The I simply has no right of entry.
 
Your consciousness is like a tiny stowaway on a transatlantic steamship, taking credit for the journey without acknowledging the massive engineering underfoot. This book is about that amazing fact: how we know it, what it means, and what it explains about people, markets, secrets, strippers, retirement accounts, criminals, artists, Ulysses, drunkards, stroke victims, gamblers, athletes, bloodhounds, racists, lovers, and every decision you’ve ever taken to be yours.
 
* * *
In a recent experiment, men were asked to rank how attractive they found photographs of different women’s faces. The photos were eight by ten inches, and showed women facing the camera or turned in three-quarter profile. Unbeknownst to the men, in half the photos the eyes of the women were dilated, and in the other half they were not. The men were consistently more attracted to the women with dilated eyes. Remarkably, the men had no insight into their decision making. None of them said, “I noticed her pupils were two millimeters larger in this photo than in this other one.” Instead, they simply felt more drawn toward some women than others, for reasons they couldn’t quite put a finger on.
 
So who was doing the choosing? In the largely inaccessible workings of the brain, something knew that a woman’s dilated eyes correlates with sexual excitement and readiness. Their brains knew this, but the men in the study didn’t—at least not explicitly. The men may also not have known that their notions of beauty and feelings of attraction are deeply hardwired, steered in the right direction by programs carved by millions of years of natural selection. When the men were choosing the most attractive women, they didn’t know that the choice was not theirs, really, but instead the choice of successful programs that had been burned deep into the brain’s circuitry over the course of hundreds of thousands of generations.
 
Brains are in the business of gathering information and steering behavior appropriately. It doesn’t matter whether consciousness is involved in the decision making. And most of the time, it’s not. Whether we’re talking about dilated eyes, jealousy, attraction, the love of fatty foods, or the great idea you had last week, consciousness is the smallest player in the operations of the brain. Our brains run mostly on autopilot, and the conscious mind has little access to the giant and mysterious factory that runs below it.
 
You see evidence of this when your foot gets halfway to the brake before you consciously realize that a red Toyota is backing out of a driveway on the road ahead of you. You see it when you notice your name spoken in a conversation across the room that you thought you weren’t listening to, when you find someone attractive without knowing why, or when your nervous system gives you a “hunch” about which choice you should make.
 
The brain is a complex system, but that doesn’t mean it’s incomprehensible. Our neural circuits were carved by natural selection to solve problems that our ancestors faced during our species’ evolutionary history. Your brain has been molded by evolutionary pressures just as your spleen and eyes have been. And so has your consciousness. Consciousness developed because it was advantageous, but advantageous only in limited amounts.
 
Consider the activity that characterizes a nation at any moment. Factories churn, telecommunication lines buzz with activity, businesses ship products. People eat constantly. Sewer lines direct waste. All across the great stretches of land, police chase criminals. Handshakes secure deals. Lovers rendezvous. Secretaries field calls, teachers profess, athletes compete, doctors operate, bus drivers navigate. You may wish to know what’s happening at any moment in your great nation, but you can’t possibly take in all the information at once. Nor would it be useful, even if you could. You want a summary. So you pick up a newspaper—not a dense paper like the New York Times but lighter fare such as USA Today. You won’t be surprised that none of the details of the activity are listed in the paper; after all, you want to know the bottom line. You want to know that Congress just signed a new tax law that affects your family, but the detailed origin of the idea—involving lawyers and corporations and filibusters— isn’t especially important to that new bottom line. And you certainly wouldn’t want to know all the details of the food supply of the nation—how the cows are eating and how many are being eaten—you only want to be alerted if there’s a spike of mad cow disease. You don’t care how the garbage is produced and packed away; you only care if it’s going to end up in your backyard. You don’t care about the wiring and infrastructure of the factories; you only care if the workers are going on strike. That’s what you get from reading the newspaper.
 
Your conscious mind is that newspaper. Your brain buzzes with activity around the clock, and, just like the nation, almost everything transpires locally: small groups are constantly making decisions and sending out messages to other groups. Out of these local interactions emerge larger coalitions. By the time you read a mental headline, the important action has already transpired, the deals are done. You have surprisingly little access to what happened behind the scenes. Entire political movements gain ground-up support and become unstoppable before you ever catch wind of them as a feeling or an intuition or a thought that strikes you. You’re the last one to hear the information.
 
However, you’re an odd kind of newspaper reader, reading the headline and taking credit for the idea as though you thought of it first. You gleefully say, “I just thought of something!”, when in fact your brain performed an enormous amount of work before your moment of genius struck. When an idea is served up from behind the scenes, your neural circuitry has been working on it for hours or days or years, consolidating information and trying out new combinations. But you take credit without further wonderment at the vast, hidden machinery behind the scenes.
 
And who can blame you for thinking you deserve the credit? The brain works its machinations in secret, conjuring ideas like tremendous magic. It does not allow its colossal operating system to be probed by conscious cognition. The brain runs its show incognito. So who, exactly, deserves the acclaim for a great idea? In 1862, the Scottish mathematician James Clerk Maxwell developed a set of fundamental equations that unified electricity and magnetism. On his deathbed, he coughed up a strange sort of confession, declaring that “something within him” discovered the famous equations, not he. He admitted he had no idea how ideas actually came to him—they simply came to him. William Blake related a similar experience, reporting of his long narrative poem Milton: “I have written this poem from immediate dictation twelve or sometimes twenty lines at a time without premeditation and even against my will.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe claimed to have written his novella The Sorrows of Young Werther with practically no conscious input, as though he were holding a pen that moved on its own.
 
And consider the British poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He began using opium in 1796, originally for relief from the pain of tooth - aches and facial neuralgia—but soon he was irreversibly hooked, swigging as much as two quarts of laudanum each week. His poem “Kubla Khan,” with its exotic and dreamy imagery, was written on an opium high that he described as “a kind of a reverie.” For him, the opium became a way to tap into his subconscious neural circuits. We credit the beautiful words of “Kubla Khan” to Coleridge because they came from his brain and no else’s, right? But he couldn’t get hold of those words while sober, so who exactly does the credit for the poem belong to? As Carl Jung put it, “In each of us there is another whom we do not know.” As Pink Floyd put it, “There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me.”

Product information

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.
UP NEXT
CANCEL
00:00
-00:00
Shop
Text Message
Email
Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp
Pinterest
Share
More videos
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Customers who bought this item also bought

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
1,584 global ratings

Reviews with images

Top reviews from the United States

Zachary M. Fresco
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
"I" loved it. But, some of my mental subroutines were hurt.
Reviewed in the United States on March 14, 2019
"I" really like this book. It''s clearly written with lots of good examples and about something really important, what we are. Some of my mental subroutines took offense at being thought of as zombies. They insist that they''re fully conscious and that their thoughts... See more
"I" really like this book. It''s clearly written with lots of good examples and about something really important, what we are.
Some of my mental subroutines took offense at being thought of as zombies. They insist that they''re fully conscious and that their thoughts are just as real as mine, regardless of what they decide to pass on up the chain of command. Many of them even claim that their consciousness is more visceral, more detailed, more real than mine. But they''re crazy and I usually just ignore them.
38 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
DJS
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Author in conflict with his own views
Reviewed in the United States on April 13, 2020
If you read even a modest amount of neuroscience and psychology most of the author’s examples and interpretations won’t surprise you. The author does weave them into a convincing argument against cognitive free will. As he moves into the second part of the book and... See more
If you read even a modest amount of neuroscience and psychology most of the author’s examples and interpretations won’t surprise you. The author does weave them into a convincing argument against cognitive free will. As he moves into the second part of the book and criminal sentencing reforms he suggests we transition to his particular area of interest the “prefrontal workout” which is an interesting use of technology to allow the criminal to exercise his mind to achieve a socially acceptable outcome. This would appear to be an exercise of free will the author has just convinced the reader is not scientifically sound. I’m sure if pressed on this contradiction the author would invoke the ‘team of rivals’ concept and programming of the subconscious mind. However, it is striking how much we lack free will in the first half of the book and how much we should rely on criminals to freely choose a path to socially acceptable norms (his method). The method may some day be honed well enough to reliably ameliorate recidivism but should invoke a healthy free will debate.
9 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Richard Dorsey
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Know thy self
Reviewed in the United States on June 19, 2019
Eagleman shows you why you can''t know yourself because most of you is incognito. Consciousness is less than the tip of your iceberg. Knowing what you don''t know becomes more important after reading Incognito. Deep space and quantum mechanics have nothing on exploring the... See more
Eagleman shows you why you can''t know yourself because most of you is incognito. Consciousness is less than the tip of your iceberg. Knowing what you don''t know becomes more important after reading Incognito. Deep space and quantum mechanics have nothing on exploring the unconscious you. Look out Dennett, Eagleman''s insightful analogies will open reader''s inner eyes to thoughtful philosophical possibilities. Is there a defaUt mechanism that switches on off when our minds get too close to the unconscious zone? Must read. On the hunt for more Eagleman.
10 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
AliKatMac
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Depends on what you’re interested in
Reviewed in the United States on December 24, 2018
I am not a nonfiction reader so this book did not grab me like reading a good novel would. There were parts that dragged and parts that didn’t. And when it dragged it REALLY dragged. But the parts that did grab me were quite the opposite - fascinating and hard to put down.... See more
I am not a nonfiction reader so this book did not grab me like reading a good novel would. There were parts that dragged and parts that didn’t. And when it dragged it REALLY dragged. But the parts that did grab me were quite the opposite - fascinating and hard to put down. Much like our brains, this book cannot be reduced to a simple binary of boring/not boring. Rather, in reading this book you’re not only going to learn a lot about the brain, but a lot about what causes your brain to check out and what causes it to light up.
11 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Leon B
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
this is my Second All Time Favorite! Definitely on the top of my bookshelf and ...
Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2015
Next to The Alchemist, this is my Second All Time Favorite! Definitely on the top of my bookshelf and I must read it again before I leave this world. This book gives amazing insight into the mind, that we do not see, hear, read or talk about on a regular basis, or even at... See more
Next to The Alchemist, this is my Second All Time Favorite! Definitely on the top of my bookshelf and I must read it again before I leave this world. This book gives amazing insight into the mind, that we do not see, hear, read or talk about on a regular basis, or even at all. Simple yet complex with an amazing delivery.

I actually referred this book to a friend of mine who was having problems with her teenage daughter, and guess what, they''re best of friends now. That speaks volumes in my world! I''ve never seen a book do that, and my explanation of what''s in the book would have just watered down its value! Great work Mr. Eagleman!
30 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
David Stang
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Worth reading every year
Reviewed in the United States on February 20, 2013
I was that annoying kid in high school math who would raise his hand with an answer before the teacher had finished asking the question. My strategy was simple. During the question, if I was comfortable that I knew the answer, the hand would go up. I knew I had a few... See more
I was that annoying kid in high school math who would raise his hand with an answer before the teacher had finished asking the question. My strategy was simple. During the question, if I was comfortable that I knew the answer, the hand would go up. I knew I had a few seconds before I was called on, and the odds of being called on were low -- unless no one else raised their hand. A bit after I felt comfortable that I knew the answer, it would become available for me to open my mouth and say it. I was normally right, and usually would then be asked how I had reached that answer. This was always the hardest part, and I struggled internally to deduce how this could have happened. Such an explanation was usually right too.

In high school math, I knew something I did not quite understand until reading this book, and did not verbalize until writing this review: that we can know before we can say, that our reasoning can be at first non-conscious, and then, with effort, be piped up to our feeble consciousness, as if it had taken place there.

We give great credit to our consciousness, very little credit to our brains. It should be the other way around. As it turns out, our conscious experience is a small, dim fragment of our actual experience. When a perception finally reaches our consciousness, it has been washed clean of noise, twisted according to our expectations and prejudices, and packaged into something more familiar. Most everything that happens in that brain never reaches the surface of awareness.

If you think your brain is a second class citizen, and your consciousness is driving things, then read Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, by David Eagleman. Turns out that much of the action is below consciousness. You know this from your reactions to brake in a dangerous situation before you are fully aware of the danger, or to pull your hand from the stove before you become aware of the pain. The decision-making process of the unconscious brain is not always revealed to our consciousness. In one study, men rated some women as more attractive than others from photographs, but couldn''t explain why. Turns out, the pupils of the more attractive women had been artificially dilated with Photoshop. The unconscious brain knows that dilated pupils are an indicator of sexual arousal.

You must read Eagleman''s book. When you are finished, you will marvel even more at what the hundreds of billions of neurons in your head can do, understand yourself a bit better, and maybe even understand that your "self" is just a constructed reality.
70 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Asad A. Jaleel
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It''s not the best part of the book
Reviewed in the United States on January 13, 2016
There are some interesting ideas in this book. He introduces a paradigm where the brain is analogous to a democracy as many different inputs weigh in on decisions. Some of what he says about perception is new, but if you read about neuroscience somewhat often, a lot of it... See more
There are some interesting ideas in this book. He introduces a paradigm where the brain is analogous to a democracy as many different inputs weigh in on decisions. Some of what he says about perception is new, but if you read about neuroscience somewhat often, a lot of it will be review. He spends some time exploring criminal justice. It''s not the best part of the book. He''s right that most courts operate as if free will is a thing while most scientists see free will as an illusion. But his suggestions for reform are pretty unrealistic. Also, I''ve seen others make the same point better. If you get the Kindle version, you might be surprised by how short the book is because when your Kindle says 68%, you''ll be done with book (except for footnotes).
10 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Jerry Woolpy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
What we learn from studying our brain
Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2013
A review of Incognito: the secret lives of the brain (2011) by David Eagleman David Eagleman is a neuroscientist with expertise in genetics, evolution, animal behavior, philosophy, and criminal justice. He has a studied eye to the future and how his discipline... See more
A review of Incognito: the secret lives of the brain (2011) by David Eagleman

David Eagleman is a neuroscientist with expertise in genetics, evolution, animal behavior, philosophy, and criminal justice. He has a studied eye to the future and how his discipline may inform our sense of self, of justice, and free will. The book disposes of any notion of what we see and hear being an accurate representation of the physical world, the possibility of our objectivity, and blame as a fair basis for sentencing. As a consummate scientist he rejects reductionism in favor of the emergent qualities of the aggregate of simpler systems. Neurons, hormones, and transmitters, will never explain consciousness. Most of what we do is programmed by genes working neural systems that never arise to the level of consciousness. These systems have overlapping and competitive functions that get resolved by trial and error. Occasionally, especially at the learning stage, consciousness may have to intervene in the conflict of rival functions--as when we are learning to ride a bike or field a fly ball. But eventually these behaviors become totally removed from the thinking process. He does not over emphasis inheritance at the expense of the importance of the interaction of genes with experience and environment. Eagleman theorizes that consciousness arises as a function of the number of inborn options we have available to resolve behavioral problems--humans having the most options and so the most consciousness. I loved the book because of its breath and originality.

Jerry Woolpy
6 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report

Top reviews from other countries

Brian Clegg
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An unconscious delight
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 28, 2019
Popular science books often come in waves and at the moment we’re drowning in biologically inspired ‘ness’ books. We’ve got books on happiness, cooperativeness, pleasurableness (okay, I had to force that one), loneliness, competitiveness, and for all I know Loch Ness. When...See more
Popular science books often come in waves and at the moment we’re drowning in biologically inspired ‘ness’ books. We’ve got books on happiness, cooperativeness, pleasurableness (okay, I had to force that one), loneliness, competitiveness, and for all I know Loch Ness. When I see another one looming on the review shelf I tend to groan and reach for that DIY brain chemistry modifier, a pain killer. So when I saw Incognito looming there I was gritting my teeth for yet another dose of the same… but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It all starts with the UK cover, which has a lovely bit of op art in the squirly bit (not really obvious in the reduced version here), but the book was a dream to read. It explores how much of our actions are out of the control of our conscious mind and takes us through the wonders that are the various half-understood and often competing systems that handle the many aspects of thought and our interaction with our senses body as a whole. The first few chapters are packed with absolutely fascinating little examples (some of them practical things you can try yourself) that demonstrate just how much disconnection there is between our relatively puny consciousness and everything else the brain does. David Eagleman describes what’s going on in there as a bit like a parliament, rather than a dictatorship of the conscious mind. There is then a really thought provoking chapter on the crime and punishment. If, as Eagleman suggests seems likely, all actions can be linked to states of the brain rather than an individual’s choice, where does that leave our attitude to offenders? Eagleman argues we shouldn’t punish them, but some we can rehabilitate through specific mental processes, while others will have to be locked away for everyone’s protection because there is no way to change things. Of course, the book isn’t perfect. The introduction has some rather loose information in an attempt to make sweeping, involving statements. We are told that the visible universe is 15 billion light years across – probably a factor of 5 out. Eagleman suggests that Galileo’s near-contemporary Bruno was burned at the stake for rejecting an Earth-centered universe – which he wasn’t. (He was burned at the stake, but for heretical religious views, not his science.) And there’s a dramatic error in an attempt to show how our brains mishandle logic. Of themselves these aren’t huge errors, but it’s difficult not to think ‘If there are these mistakes in the bits I know about, what could be wrong in the stuff about brains that comes as a great surprise to me?’ My suspicion is that Eagleman knows his stuff, though – and he tells a great story. One good mark of the effectiveness of this book was that I couldn’t resist telling people about a couple of things I read here. One was that a percentage of women have a fourth colour receptor in their eyes, so would see colours and colour matches differently. Lovely factoid. The other you’ll have to spot when you read it. All in all this was a hugely enjoyable book, and despite sometimes seeming like a TV science show in its focus on style, it really delivers on information we’re all interested in about our favourite topic – ourselves. Recommended.
12 people found this helpful
Report
Tosky Toskana
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A little outdated but still a good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 11, 2017
I read ''incognito'' published in 2011,after reading ''the brain, the story of you'', which was published in 2015, so I guess the author may have redeemed himself in his later work. I found his arguments about our lack of free will disappointing especially when he cites cases...See more
I read ''incognito'' published in 2011,after reading ''the brain, the story of you'', which was published in 2015, so I guess the author may have redeemed himself in his later work. I found his arguments about our lack of free will disappointing especially when he cites cases of crimes committed in the presence of brain pathology to advance his argument. A verdict of not criminally responsible NCR or not guilty for reason of insanity NGRI can be given to the man who killed his wife and mother before shooting other strangers and then killing himself. The fact that he was found to have a brain tumour at autopsy ( which he clearly requested for in his suicide note to find the cause of his personality changes) completely exonerates him from blame. Automatism is another well recognised reason for an NCR or NGRI verdict and this does not mean that we don''t have free will in the absence of brain disease. The author delved into reductionist theories often championed by neuroscientists who are not actually clinicians and therefore do not have the privilege of knowing the patient''s psychological and social predisposing and perpetuating factors. Neuroscientists have suddenly left their field of biology to delve into psychology and sociology while dancing to the gallery in a bid to impress patients about their knowledge of the brain. The problem is that the brain doesn''t constitute the entire person just like your laptop computer does not explain the complexity of the internet and the World Wide Web. David Eagleman eventually concluded the book by accepting the limitations of neurobiology alone to explain the whole individual. The book is worth reading but a lot of his ideas have been overtaken by new developments in psychiatry and neurobiology.
26 people found this helpful
Report
bedtimereader
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
High quality popular science by a top rate brain expert.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 30, 2016
Amazing book. It reveals so much about how the brain works, and it changes your understanding of why people behave the way they do. If you want to become a more forgiving person, or you just want to understand more about what your brain does, then read this book. The style...See more
Amazing book. It reveals so much about how the brain works, and it changes your understanding of why people behave the way they do. If you want to become a more forgiving person, or you just want to understand more about what your brain does, then read this book. The style is easy and the content is not academic or scientific, so it is accessible to everyone.
17 people found this helpful
Report
Matahari
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I usually read fiction these days but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction (wow did I really say that!!)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 17, 2016
This is a really interesting and informative book about the latest research into the workings of the brain. It is slightly disconcerting to find that we are not as ''in charge'' of ourselves as we think we are but, on the other hand we don''t have to worry as much as we do, as...See more
This is a really interesting and informative book about the latest research into the workings of the brain. It is slightly disconcerting to find that we are not as ''in charge'' of ourselves as we think we are but, on the other hand we don''t have to worry as much as we do, as turning it over to the brain to sort out whilst we are consciously thinking of other things, is a definite plus. I think we will all have had the experience of waking up to find a decision we couldn''t make is now made, usually with a feeling of relief attached to it. (I keep hoping it will work with the EU referendum decision but it probably has too much information to sift through!) I was pleased to see affirmation that we can recognize people we have seen fairly briefly by movements or habits that the brain has stored and comes back in almost a ''deja vu'' way. I had this experience recently and if I had known there was independent corroboration of this fact, I could have called the police without worrying that they would think I was paranoid. I have found that I am able to recognize several traits that I am now likely to see as prejudice in myself and try to make more independent assessments of individual people rather than judgements. It is quite freeing. I knew this before but I let it slide at times and now I don''t.
8 people found this helpful
Report
Marc Draco
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wonderful and wonderful us
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 2, 2016
Trigger Warning: Eagleman goes into territory were few fear to tread and navigates it with calm, academic coolness. Not everyone reading his description of (in this example) abhorrent sexual behaviour is going to find it easy. But his views on crime and punishment are...See more
Trigger Warning: Eagleman goes into territory were few fear to tread and navigates it with calm, academic coolness. Not everyone reading his description of (in this example) abhorrent sexual behaviour is going to find it easy. But his views on crime and punishment are thought-provoking and grounded in good science. In 100 years we may look back on this period as being as brutal and thoughtless as even the Victorians appear to us.
11 people found this helpful
Report
See all reviews
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Customers who viewed this item also viewed

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Pages with related products.

  • foundation of biology
  • secret city

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale

Incognito: popular The Secret Lives of the new arrival Brain online sale