The best books on the human brain

Richard Passingham Author Of Cognitive Neuroscience: A Very Short Introduction
By Richard Passingham

The Books I Picked & Why

The Brain: The Story of You

By David Eagleman

The Brain: The Story of You

Why this book?

David Eagleman is a Professor of Neuroscience at Stanford University. He writes in an accessible way and speculates about questions within neuroscience. The book is a best-seller and deservedly so, because you feel what it is like to be a scientist studying the most complicated thing in the world, our own brain.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

By Norman Doidge

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

Why this book?

We used to think that you were saddled with the brain we inherited. But what the brain sciences have now shown is that the brain can change as the result of our experiences. For example, London taxi drivers have to learn ‘The Knowledge’ (the streets of London), and as a result, there are changes in the size of the hippocampus, a structure that is critical for finding your way. And merely learning to juggle for a few hours changes the speed with which the fibres from your motor cortex conduct.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

By Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Why this book?

The point of the brain is to decide on action. Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize for his work on decision-making. This book is his popular book sharing his insights. He suggests that we make some decisions rapidly on the basis of intuition, but we take longer over other decisions, deliberating concerning the various alternatives.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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?

Sadly, our brain doesn’t always function correctly. This leads to neurological and psychiatric diseases. Oliver Sachs was a neurologist, and in this fascinating book, he describes some of the bizarre consequences. One is ‘agnosia’, a failure to recognize things; hence the title comes from a chapter in which Sachs describes a patient who mistook his wife for a hat. This book is compulsive reading.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

By V. S. Ramachandran, Sandra Blakeslee

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

Why this book?

Ramachandran is famous for studying some of the disorders that can be produced for the brain. One such is phantom limb pain. Some people who have had an arm amputated continue to feel that arm, and even to have pain in it. Ramachandran devised an ingenious experiment to try to abolish that feeling. This and other clever ideas are described in this book. Readers will quickly appreciate that science is like the humanities in requiring creativity.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists