100 books like Livewired

By David Eagleman,

Here are 100 books that Livewired fans have personally recommended if you like Livewired. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Dean-David Schillinger MD Author Of Telltale Hearts: A Public Health Doctor, His Patients, and the Power of Story

From my list on books by or about doctors that focus on our shared humanity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a primary care doctor who is fascinated by my patient’s stories and what they reveal about their lives, their illnesses, and their pathways to recovery. I have always been a lover of literature related to the human condition and “the big questions,” having majored in Russian Language and Literature as an undergraduate. All the books I have chosen were written by physicians who were accomplished not only in the sciences but in the arts. I hope you enjoy this hybridization of disciplines as much as I have!

Dean-David's book list on books by or about doctors that focus on our shared humanity

Dean-David Schillinger MD Why did Dean-David love this book?

I was simply stunned by this book. Dr. Sacks, a neurologist, drew me into the inner mysteries of the brain by describing the amazing lives and characters of some his most bizarrely afflicted patients. I was delighted to see how some of them overcame or coped with their afflictions, and I finished the book with an indescribable feeling of the magical alchemy of science and story to reveal our deepest truths.

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat And Other Clinical Tales as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celebrating Fifty Years of Picador Books

If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self - himself - he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.

In this extraordinary book, Dr. Oliver Sacks recounts the stories of patients struggling to adapt to often bizarre worlds of neurological disorder. Here are people who can no longer recognize everyday objects or those they love; who are stricken with violent tics or shout involuntary obscenities, and yet are gifted with…


Book cover of The Happy Brain: The Science of Where Happiness Comes From, and Why

Ginny Smith Author Of Overloaded: How Every Aspect of Your Life Is Influenced by Your Brain Chemicals

From my list on the amazing human brain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been curious, but it wasn’t until university that I discovered my fascination with brain science. Here was a real challenge. An incredibly complex system, full of mysteries and unknowns, that needed breaking down, and understanding at the most fundamental level. And not only that, but it was something that affected us all, every day. I was hooked. Since graduating, I have worked as a science communicator, sharing my love of the brain with anyone who will listen- via podcasts, books, blogs, and on stage. I also founded Braintastic Science! which provides spectacular shows, workshops, and resources to help young people understand and get the best out of their amazing brains.

Ginny's book list on the amazing human brain

Ginny Smith Why did Ginny love this book?

In this book, Burnett takes the readers on his own journey of discovery, trying to find out what it is that makes us happy. Along the way, he explores topics from love to work to relationships and discovers that happiness isn’t as simple as it might seem. Written in Burnett’s signature witty style, with personal anecdotes and laugh-out-loud moments, this book is easy to read, but packed with neuroscience. It will leave you thinking differently about what it really is we need in order to be happy.

By Dean Burnett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Happy Brain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you want to be happy?

If so - read on. This book has all the answers.*

In The Happy Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett delves deep into the inner workings of our minds to explore some fundamental questions about happiness. For starters: what does it actually mean to be happy? Where does it come from? And is there a secret to making it last forever?

In his research into these questions - and many more besides - Burnett unravels our complex internal lives to reveal the often surprising truth behind what makes us tick. From whether happiness really begins at…


Book cover of Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things

Karen C. Murdarasi Author Of Why Everything You Know about Robin Hood Is Wrong: Featuring a pirate monk, a French maid, and a surprising number of morris dancers

From my list on challenging your preconceptions.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer and historian, I’m all about rabbit holes. When something I’ve never heard about before catches my interest, I have to find out more—and sometimes I end up writing whole books on the subject! I have a head full of bizarre little nuggets of information, and I love reading books, like the ones here, that tell me something new and change my way of thinking. 

Karen's book list on challenging your preconceptions

Karen C. Murdarasi Why did Karen love this book?

Quirkology has a whole chapter on jokes, and the search for the funniest one. I listened to this as an audiobook and did a lot of chortling while I was out walking. (Fortunately there weren’t too many people around.) 

But there’s also plenty of serious and handy stuff, about whether you can tell when you are being lied to, what makes some people “luckier” than others, and what to talk about during speed dating. (Men should talk about travel, not films, if they want to make a connection with the opposite sex.) 

There’s also a section on nominative determinism (your name defining your destiny), and the irony was not lost on author and researcher, Dr. Wiseman. 

By Richard Wiseman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Quirkology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For over twenty years, psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman has examined the quirky science of everyday life. In Quirkology, he navigates the backwaters of human behavior, discovering the tell-tale signs that give away a liar, the secret science behind speed-dating and personal ads, and what a persons sense of humor reveals about the innermost workings of their mind- all along paying tribute to others who have carried out similarly weird and wonderful work. Wisemans research has involved secretly observing people as they go about their daily business, conducting unusual experiments in art exhibitions and music concerts, and even staging fake sances…


Book cover of SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable

Ginny Smith Author Of Overloaded: How Every Aspect of Your Life Is Influenced by Your Brain Chemicals

From my list on the amazing human brain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been curious, but it wasn’t until university that I discovered my fascination with brain science. Here was a real challenge. An incredibly complex system, full of mysteries and unknowns, that needed breaking down, and understanding at the most fundamental level. And not only that, but it was something that affected us all, every day. I was hooked. Since graduating, I have worked as a science communicator, sharing my love of the brain with anyone who will listen- via podcasts, books, blogs, and on stage. I also founded Braintastic Science! which provides spectacular shows, workshops, and resources to help young people understand and get the best out of their amazing brains.

Ginny's book list on the amazing human brain

Ginny Smith Why did Ginny love this book?

Humans are inherently superstitious. Even those of us who think of ourselves as scientists will ‘touch wood’ after saying something, or avoid walking under ladders. But why? In this book, Hood argues that these behaviors, and more complex beliefs like religion, develop as a byproduct of something our brains do that is vital for human survival—finding patterns. This is one of the first pop-sci books on psychology I read, and I clearly remember seeing Hood deliver a talk about it while I was at University. It helped stoke my curiosity about the topic, and how our incredible brains can drive such complex and nuanced behaviours. It is still one of my favourites over 10 years later. 

By Bruce Hood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked SuperSense as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why is it that Tony Blair always wore the same pair of shoes when answering Prime Minister's Questions? That John McEnroe notoriously refused to step on the white lines of a tennis court between points? And that President-elect Barack Obama played a game of basketball the morning of his victory in the Iowa primary, and continued the tradition the day of every following primary?

Superstitious habits are common. Do you ever cross your fingers, knock on wood, avoid walking under ladders, or step around black cats? Sentimental value often supersedes material worth. If someone offered to replace your childhood teddy…


Book cover of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

M. Leona Godin Author Of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness

From my list on blindness and the brain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thanks to a degenerative retinal eye disease, I’ve lived on pretty much every notch of the sight-blindness continuum. While going blind super slowly I’ve engaged with the science of seeing and not-seeing as an  academic and artist for about 25 years. I like to say that there are as many ways of being blind as there are of being sighted, there are just fewer of us. Besides teaching literature and humanities courses at NYU, I’ve lectured on art, accessibility, technology, and disability at universities and institutions around the country. I love sharing stories about the brain on blindness, and hope you find my recommendations as fascinating as I do.

M.'s book list on blindness and the brain

M. Leona Godin Why did M. love this book?

This seventeenth-century offering is where the famous Molyneux Man first appears in the form of a question: If a man born blind and capable of distinguishing a cube from a sphere by touch, was suddenly made to see, would he be able to distinguish the two objects by sight alone? The answer was a resounding “no!” Just as we must learn to read, we must learn to see, gradually building up connections between our sense of touch and our sense of sight. This was a revelation to me when I encountered it as a person going blind and learning to not-see. If humans are not exactly born blank slates, we are certainly unfinished ones, whose environments and education supply us with knowledge and brain power to perceive the world.

By John Locke, Kenneth P. Winkler (editor),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked An Essay Concerning Human Understanding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Includes generous selections from the Essay, topically arranged passages from the replies to Stillingfleet, a chronology, a bibliography, a glossary, and an index based on the entries that Locke himself devised.


Book cover of The Mind's Eye

M. Leona Godin Author Of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness

From my list on blindness and the brain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thanks to a degenerative retinal eye disease, I’ve lived on pretty much every notch of the sight-blindness continuum. While going blind super slowly I’ve engaged with the science of seeing and not-seeing as an  academic and artist for about 25 years. I like to say that there are as many ways of being blind as there are of being sighted, there are just fewer of us. Besides teaching literature and humanities courses at NYU, I’ve lectured on art, accessibility, technology, and disability at universities and institutions around the country. I love sharing stories about the brain on blindness, and hope you find my recommendations as fascinating as I do.

M.'s book list on blindness and the brain

M. Leona Godin Why did M. love this book?

For me, thinking about blindness and the brain all started with an essay by Oliver Sacks called “To See and Not See” (An Anthropologist on Mars). In The Mind’s Eye Sacks picks up some of the threads of that earlier essay and goes deep into how seeing is not just a matter of having functioning eyes. From the pianist who could  suddenly no longer read music to blind people (like myself) who still consider themselves very visual, these neurological tales are intellectually intriguing and emotionally compelling. Sacks even includes his own journal of vision loss as one of the case studies. But whether he is the patient or the doctor, his distinct voice and personal connection to his subject matter has had a huge influence on my own writing.

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mind's Eye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How does the brain perceive and interpret information from the eye? And what happens when the process is disrupted?

In The Mind's Eye, Oliver Sacks tells the stories of people who are able to navigate the world and communicate with others despite losing what many of us consider indispensable senses and abilities: the capacity to recognize faces, the sense of three-dimensional space, the ability to read, the sense of sight. For all of these people, the challenge is to adapt to a radically new way of being in the world - and The Mind's Eye is testament to the myriad…


Book cover of See What I'm Saying: The Extraordinary Powers of Our Five Senses

M. Leona Godin Author Of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness

From my list on blindness and the brain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thanks to a degenerative retinal eye disease, I’ve lived on pretty much every notch of the sight-blindness continuum. While going blind super slowly I’ve engaged with the science of seeing and not-seeing as an  academic and artist for about 25 years. I like to say that there are as many ways of being blind as there are of being sighted, there are just fewer of us. Besides teaching literature and humanities courses at NYU, I’ve lectured on art, accessibility, technology, and disability at universities and institutions around the country. I love sharing stories about the brain on blindness, and hope you find my recommendations as fascinating as I do.

M.'s book list on blindness and the brain

M. Leona Godin Why did M. love this book?

Perceptual psychologist Lawrence Rosenblum’s book changed the way I thought about my brain on blindness and gave me hope about its ability to adapt. I was astonished by blind painters and mountain bikers, but more importantly, I learned that what often strike us as superpowers, are actually the result of practice and the cross-modal plasticity of the brain. The sighted brains that change after only five days of blindfold and intensive braille training, the experiments that demonstrate how humans can follow a scent trail, and the ways blind people (and sighted people) use echolocation to learn about their micro and macro environments (even if they are not always conscious of it), are just some of Rosenblum’s many examples that are as fun as they are fascinating.

By Lawrence D. Rosenblum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked See What I'm Saying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this revealing romp through the mysteries of human perception, University of California psychologist Lawrence D. Rosenblum explores the astonishing abilities of the five senses-skills of which most of us are unaware. Drawing on groundbreaking insights into the brain's plasticity and integrative powers, Rosenblum examines how our brains use the subtlest information to perceive the world. A blind person, for example, can "see" through bat-like echolocation, wine connoisseurs can actually taste the vintage of an obscure wine, and pheromones can signal a lover's compatibility. Bringing us into the world of a blind detective, a sound engineer, a former supermodel, and…


Book cover of A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveler

M. Leona Godin Author Of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness

From my list on blindness and the brain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thanks to a degenerative retinal eye disease, I’ve lived on pretty much every notch of the sight-blindness continuum. While going blind super slowly I’ve engaged with the science of seeing and not-seeing as an  academic and artist for about 25 years. I like to say that there are as many ways of being blind as there are of being sighted, there are just fewer of us. Besides teaching literature and humanities courses at NYU, I’ve lectured on art, accessibility, technology, and disability at universities and institutions around the country. I love sharing stories about the brain on blindness, and hope you find my recommendations as fascinating as I do.

M.'s book list on blindness and the brain

M. Leona Godin Why did M. love this book?

If the word “echolocation” pricked up your ears in my previous recommendation, I think you’ll love this book which is both a biography and a deep dive into how one blind person used the senses he had to become the first person to go around the world. James Holman (1786-1857) lost his sight at the age of 25 while he was an officer in the British Royal Navy. His career was cut short and he refashioned himself as an author and adventurer known as the “blind traveler.” Roberts explains how Holman used his gentleman’s walking stick not only to detect obstacles and level changes in his immediate environment, but also used the sound of the metal tip bouncing off objects to guide him through far-flung regions of the world.

By Jason Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Sense of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

He was known simply as the Blind Traveler -- a solitary, sightless adventurer who, astonishingly, fought the slave trade in Af-rica, survived a frozen captivity in Siberia, hunted rogue elephants in Ceylon, and helped chart the Australian outback. James Holman (1786-1857) became "one of the greatest wonders of the world he so sagaciously explored," triumphing not only over blindness but crippling pain, poverty, and the interference of well-meaning authorities (his greatest feat, a circumnavigation of the globe, had to be launched in secret). Once a celebrity, a bestselling author, and an inspiration to Charles Darwin and Sir Richard Francis Burton,…


Book cover of Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe is Just Right for Life

H Chris Ransford Author Of In Search of Ultimate Reality: Inside the Cosmologist's Abyss

From my list on weird thrilling science universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I felt profoundly dissatisfied by the pat and cardboard cutout explanations that some teachers offered for life and the universe: there had to be more! I decided to go into science. The explanatory power of science is 'next level,' to use a contemporary phrase, and unless and until we explore it, we'll miss the beauty and sheer wonder of the universe. Neither should we overly specialize: science is not compartmentalized, but vastly different fields of science feed into and reinforce one another. Popular science has an essential role to play: irrespective of how arcane hard science may appear to be, its story can always be told in everyday words.

H Chris' book list on weird thrilling science universe

H Chris Ransford Why did H Chris love this book?

This book is the first pop science book I would ever recommend to anyone, and certainly to anyone who could only ever read one science book in their lives. It tackles the issue of why our universe is so extremely fine-tuned for life but ends up being much more than that, as the search for answers leads the author to a thrilling exploration of many deep questions at the forefront of physics and of life itself.  

Mind-blowing. 

By Paul Davies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cosmic Jackpot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cosmic Jackpot is Paul Davies’s eagerly awaited return to cosmology, the successor to his critically acclaimed bestseller The Mind of God. Here he tackles all the "big questions," including the biggest of them all: Why does the universe seem so well adapted for life?

In his characteristically clear and elegant style, Davies shows how recent scientific discoveries point to a perplexing fact: many different aspects of the cosmos, from the properties of the humble carbon atom to the speed of light, seem tailor-made to produce life. A radical new theory says it’s because our universe is just one of an…


Book cover of Strange Matters: Undiscovered Ideas at the Frontiers of Space and Time

H Chris Ransford Author Of In Search of Ultimate Reality: Inside the Cosmologist's Abyss

From my list on weird thrilling science universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I felt profoundly dissatisfied by the pat and cardboard cutout explanations that some teachers offered for life and the universe: there had to be more! I decided to go into science. The explanatory power of science is 'next level,' to use a contemporary phrase, and unless and until we explore it, we'll miss the beauty and sheer wonder of the universe. Neither should we overly specialize: science is not compartmentalized, but vastly different fields of science feed into and reinforce one another. Popular science has an essential role to play: irrespective of how arcane hard science may appear to be, its story can always be told in everyday words.

H Chris' book list on weird thrilling science universe

H Chris Ransford Why did H Chris love this book?

This often startling book provides a tour d'horizon of unsettled questions in modern physical science and, most importantly, of the intriguing directions the answers could take. It should inspire many in the rising generations of students to take the baton from their elders and seek a career in science at the edges of human understanding. A book I so wish had already been around when I began studying physics.

Tom Siegfried is a distinguished science journalist. 

By Tom Siegfried,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strange Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Scientists studying the universe find strange things in two places?out in space and in their heads. This is the story of how the most imaginative physicists of our time perceive strange features of the universe in advance of the actual discoveries.

It is almost a given that physics and cosmology present us with some of the grandest mysteries of all. What weightier questions to ponder than, "How does the universe work?" or "What is the universe made of?" There are any number of bizarre phenomena that could provide clues or even answers to these queries. The strangeness ranges from unusual…


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