The best books that make neuroscience interesting for non-scientists

Kevin Davis Author Of The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America's Courtrooms
By Kevin Davis

The Books I Picked & Why

Neurocomic

By Hana Ros, Matteo Farinella

Neurocomic

Why this book?

I came across this “comic” book while researching my own book, The Brain Defense, and was immediately seduced by the terrific graphics and simple storytelling that takes readers on a journey through the brain via dreamy neuro landscapes including forests and caves populated by various creatures, beasts, and a giant squid. I enjoyed reading this and marveling over the images with my young son.


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The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat And Other Clinical Tales

By Oliver Sacks

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat And Other Clinical Tales

Why this book?

This is a classic that never gets old. The late Oliver Sacks shares stories from his clinical practice about patients who have experienced inexplicable brain disorders that caused memory loss, failure to recognize friends and family, create involuntary body movements or cause some to shout obscenities. Written with clarity and compassion.


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Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience

By Sally Satel, Scott O. Lilienfeld

Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience

Why this book?

This was a much-needed cautionary examination of the increasing hype about neuroscience. Following a period in which neuroscience suddenly became a pop culture phenomenon, Brainwashed aims to tamp things down. The book takes issue with how mainstream media trumpeted studies that supposedly show how the brain “lights up” when we kiss, listen to music or engage in other activities. Satel and Lilienfied explain what brain scans and neuroscientific reports really reveal and don’t reveal.


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The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime

By Adrian Raine

The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime

Why this book?

Adriane Raine has been studying the brains of convicted murderers for decades and his fascinating and accessible book uses neuroscience to help explain, though not excuse, their behavior due to anomalies and injuries to their brains. Raine makes a strong case that various impairments to the brain can inhibit the ability to put the brakes on impulsive, antisocial, and harmful behavior.


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Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

By David Eagleman

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

Why this book?

Is the brain a separate, independent entity from who we are? Do our brains control us, or do we control our brains? Or is it something in between? In an often lyrical, easy-to-understand narrative, neuroscientist David Eagleman argues that it’s the unconscious that influences most of what we do, even before we’re aware that we’ve decided to do something.


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