100 books like Smellosophy

By A. S. Barwich,

Here are 100 books that Smellosophy fans have personally recommended if you like Smellosophy. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Sensational Past: How the Enlightenment Changed the Way We Use Our Senses

Ai Hisano Author Of Visualizing Taste: How Business Changed the Look of What You Eat

From my list on a new understanding of your sensory experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of the senses. When I first traveled to the United States, I was fascinated and overwhelmed by the smell and sound of the streets entirely different from my hometown in Japan. Since then, every time I go abroad, I enjoy various sensory experiences in each country. The first thing I always notice is the smell of the airport which is different from country to country. We all have the senses, but we sense things differently—and these differences are cultural. I wondered if they are also historical. That was the beginning of my inquiry into how our sensory experience has been constructed and changed over time.

Ai's book list on a new understanding of your sensory experience

Ai Hisano Why did Ai love this book?

The Enlightenment is often associated with intellectual changes. But the book sheds a new light on this “Age of Reason” by showing how emotions and feelings played a crucial role in this intellectually and sensorially dynamic period. Purnell tells this change by providing many interesting, and funny, episodes. My favorite, among others, is the seventeenth-century vogue for perfumes made of the excretions of the civet cat or the musk deer, and it was only in the mid-eighteenth century that floral scents became popular. This shift had to do with people’s ideas about health, cleanliness, and naturalness that changed over time. You will learn how and why people in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries thought about the senses, how they experience their sensory world, and how our sensory experience came about over the course of a few hundred years.

By Carolyn Purnell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Blindfolding children from birth. Playing a piano made of live cats. Using tobacco to cure drowning. Wearing "flea"-coloured clothes. These actions seem odd to us but in the eighteenth century they made sense.

As Carolyn Purnell persuasively shows, while our bodies may not change dramatically, the way we think about the senses and put them to use has been rather different over the ages. Journeying through the past three hundred years, Purnell explores how people used their senses in ways that might shock now. Using culinary history, fashion, medicine, music and many other aspects of Enlightenment life, she demonstrates that,…


Book cover of The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933

Ai Hisano Author Of Visualizing Taste: How Business Changed the Look of What You Eat

From my list on a new understanding of your sensory experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of the senses. When I first traveled to the United States, I was fascinated and overwhelmed by the smell and sound of the streets entirely different from my hometown in Japan. Since then, every time I go abroad, I enjoy various sensory experiences in each country. The first thing I always notice is the smell of the airport which is different from country to country. We all have the senses, but we sense things differently—and these differences are cultural. I wondered if they are also historical. That was the beginning of my inquiry into how our sensory experience has been constructed and changed over time.

Ai's book list on a new understanding of your sensory experience

Ai Hisano Why did Ai love this book?

What is noise? Is it about loud music? Train sounds? Well, what makes certain sounds noise depends on the context. In the late-nineteenth-century United States, for example, the sound of the locomotive, which may sound like noise to many people, was heard as a symbol of modernity and technological advancement. Thompson’s book explores such change in the nature of sound and the culture of listening with the rise of new technology in the United States during the first few decades of the twentieth century, from the street and the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society Building to Radio City in New York.

By Emily Thompson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this history of aural culture in early-twentieth-century America, Emily Thompson charts dramatic transformations in what people heard and how they listened. What they heard was a new kind of sound that was the product of modern technology. They listened as newly critical consumers of aural commodities. By examining the technologies that produced this sound, as well as the culture that enthusiastically consumed it, Thompson recovers a lost dimension of the Machine Age and deepens our understanding of the experience of change that characterized the era.Reverberation equations, sound meters, microphones, and acoustical tiles were deployed in places as varied as…


Book cover of Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music

Ai Hisano Author Of Visualizing Taste: How Business Changed the Look of What You Eat

From my list on a new understanding of your sensory experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of the senses. When I first traveled to the United States, I was fascinated and overwhelmed by the smell and sound of the streets entirely different from my hometown in Japan. Since then, every time I go abroad, I enjoy various sensory experiences in each country. The first thing I always notice is the smell of the airport which is different from country to country. We all have the senses, but we sense things differently—and these differences are cultural. I wondered if they are also historical. That was the beginning of my inquiry into how our sensory experience has been constructed and changed over time.

Ai's book list on a new understanding of your sensory experience

Ai Hisano Why did Ai love this book?

Why do certain tunes become popular and others fail? What is music that sells? In Selling Sounds, Suisman explains how the music industry has shaped the culture of listening to music and how they capitalized on it, creating an entirely new music culture in the early-twentieth-century United States. This emergence of the music industry and culture involved not just the creation of novel sounds by a genius musician, but rather commercial, technological, and cultural changes, which are still with us today. 

By David Suisman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Tin Pan Alley to grand opera, player-pianos to phonograph records, David Suisman's "Selling Sounds" explores the rise of music as big business and the creation of a radically new musical culture. Around the turn of the twentieth century, music entrepreneurs laid the foundation for today's vast industry, with new products, technologies, and commercial strategies to incorporate music into the daily rhythm of modern life. Popular songs filled the air with a new kind of musical pleasure, phonographs brought opera into the parlor, and celebrity performers like Enrico Caruso captivated the imagination of consumers from coast to coast. "Selling Sounds"…


Book cover of Smell Detectives: An Olfactory History of Nineteenth-Century Urban America

Ai Hisano Author Of Visualizing Taste: How Business Changed the Look of What You Eat

From my list on a new understanding of your sensory experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of the senses. When I first traveled to the United States, I was fascinated and overwhelmed by the smell and sound of the streets entirely different from my hometown in Japan. Since then, every time I go abroad, I enjoy various sensory experiences in each country. The first thing I always notice is the smell of the airport which is different from country to country. We all have the senses, but we sense things differently—and these differences are cultural. I wondered if they are also historical. That was the beginning of my inquiry into how our sensory experience has been constructed and changed over time.

Ai's book list on a new understanding of your sensory experience

Ai Hisano Why did Ai love this book?

Kiechle’s Smell Detective shows how smell, the mute sense, has been in fact quite “talkative.” By going back to the nineteenth-century United States, the book discusses how cities back then smelled and how people living there reacted to it. Olfaction is actually a critical source of knowledge. Smell can tell you a lot about your surrounding environment and other people. It also gives historians clues to understand how people lived in the past. Moreover, smell, like other senses, is not a simply subjective, biological phenomenon. Sensations we experience change over time—imagine smell and sounds on the street today and hundred years ago. It is also cultural and political, too. How people understand certain sensations is a historical product—a certain “bad” small was racialized and associated with a lower class, for example. This book is an excellent way to “sniff” out the history of the senses.

By Melanie A. Kiechle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What did nineteenth-century cities smell like? And how did odors matter in the formation of a modern environmental consciousness? Smell Detectives follows the nineteenth-century Americans who used their noses to make sense of the sanitary challenges caused by rapid urban and industrial growth. Melanie Kiechle examines nuisance complaints, medical writings, domestic advice, and myriad discussions of what constituted fresh air, and argues that nineteenth-century city dwellers, anxious about the air they breathed, attempted to create healthier cities by detecting and then mitigating the most menacing odors.

Medical theories in the nineteenth century assumed that foul odors caused disease and that…


Book cover of Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience

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

From my list on neuroscience for non-scientists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Kevin Davis is the author of three non-fiction books about the criminal justice system, The Wrong Man, Defending the Damned and The Brain Defense. Davis has also authored eight nonfiction children’s books. He’s an award-winning journalist and magazine writer based in Chicago.

Kevin's book list on neuroscience for non-scientists

Kevin Davis Why did Kevin love 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.

By Sally Satel, Scott O. Lilienfeld,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What can't neuroscience tell us about ourselves? Since fMRI,functional magnetic resonance imaging,was introduced in the early 1990s, brain scans have been used to help politicians understand and manipulate voters, determine guilt in court cases, and make sense of everything from musical aptitude to romantic love. But although brain scans and other neurotechnologies have provided ground-breaking insights into the workings of the human brain, the increasingly fashionable idea that they are the most important means of answering the enduring mysteries of psychology is misguided,and potentially dangerous.In Brainwashed , psychiatrist and AEI scholar Sally Satel and psychologist Scott O. Lilienfeld reveal how…


Book cover of The Emperor Of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession and the Last Mystery of the Senses

Theresa Levitt Author Of Elixir: A Parisian Perfume House and the Quest for the Secret of Life

From my list on perfume and scent.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of science who just completed a book on the role of perfume in the quest for the secret of life and vitality. While writing it, I became fascinated with the challenge of translating scent into language. While our nose can recognize a virtually infinite number of odors, there are only a few basic categories of description (“floral,” “woody,” “citrus,” etc.). To fully describe them often requires a poet’s touch – invoking a tapestry of memories, associations, and feelings to create the experience in the reader’s mind. These are some of the best books I’ve encountered for talking about the complex world of scent, and the importance of perfume in human history.

Theresa's book list on perfume and scent

Theresa Levitt Why did Theresa love this book?

At the center of this rollicking account is the larger-than-life figure of Luca Turin, a perfume aficionado and renegade biophysicist with an uncannily sensitive nose.

Burr followed him as he traded blows with the scientific establishment over his unorthodox theory of how smell works. What emerges is a profound appreciation of just how little understood this sense still is, and how varied and potent the smells of the world are to someone as attentive to them as Turin.

By Chandler Burr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief and James Gleick's Genius, The Emperor of Scent tells the story of Luca Turin, an utterly unusual, stubborn scientist, his otherworldly gift for perfume, his brilliant, quixotic theory of how we smell, and his struggle to set before the world the secret of the most enigmatic of our senses.


Book cover of The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience

Sally Adee Author Of We Are Electric: Inside the 200-Year Hunt for Our Body's Bioelectric Code, and What the Future Holds

From my list on the history and future of bioelectricity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science and technology journalist who has reported on neurotech and bioelectricity for over 15 years, for publications including New Scientist, IEEE Spectrum and Quartz. After a formative experience in a DARPA brain-stimulation experiment, I began to dig into the history and science of bioelectricity, trying to understand both the science at the level of membrane biophysics, and the history and psychology of how biology lost custody of electricity. My resulting book is an effort to create a repository of the real, rigorous studies that have advanced our understanding of this fascinating science at an accelerating rate in the past 20 to 40 years - and what the new science means about the future.

Sally's book list on the history and future of bioelectricity

Sally Adee Why did Sally love this book?

One of the most common category errors in neuroscience is the conflation of brains with computers.

Matthew Cobb, who is both a scientist and a historian of science provides a breathtaking and sweeping history of our understanding of the brain - and how it always seems to be epitomised by humanity’s most impressive engineering achievements.

So in the 19th century, the nervous system was described as a telegraph; in the 20th and 21st century, it became a computer.

Cobb shows how these evolving metaphors helped advance neuroscience, but also how overindexing on that computer metaphor is beginning to seriously limit our ability to grasp what the brain really is.

By Matthew Cobb,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Idea of the Brain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the 2020 Baillie Gifford Prize

A New Statesman Book of the Year

This is the story of our quest to understand the most mysterious object in the universe: the human brain.

Today we tend to picture it as a computer. Earlier scientists thought about it in their own technological terms: as a telephone switchboard, or a clock, or all manner of fantastic mechanical or hydraulic devices. Could the right metaphor unlock the its deepest secrets once and for all?

Galloping through centuries of wild speculation and ingenious, sometimes macabre anatomical investigations, scientist and historian Matthew Cobb reveals how…


Book cover of Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are

Kerrie Holley Author Of AI-First Healthcare: AI Applications in the Business and Clinical Management of Health

From my list on artificial intelligence in health care.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with technology when I wrote my first computer program at age 14 when there was no public Internet, no personal computers, no iPhone, no cloud. I have made technical contributions to every era of computing from mainframes, to PCs, Internet, Cloud, and now AI. I was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering. AI currently surpasses my wildest imagination on the art of what’s possible. I'm still passionately working in technology at Google focused on how to live healthier lives. I believe we can make AI the telescope of the future, to helping everyone live long and healthy lives.

Kerrie's book list on artificial intelligence in health care

Kerrie Holley Why did Kerrie love this book?

The opening paragraph of this book is pure poetry in motion, putting me in a trance and craving to read the entire book. 

You wouldn’t know this is a book about neuroscience when reading the opening lines in Chapter 1. Connectome is a thought-provoking exploration of the brain's neural connections and their potential to transform our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. 

Given that artificial intelligence is inspired by neuroscience it’s a great book to understand how the brain works.

By Sebastian Seung,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Connectome, by Sebastian Seung is 'One of the most eagerly awaited scientific books of the year ... intellectually exhilarating, beautifully written, exquisitely precise yet still managing to be inspirational' Irish Times

What really makes us who we are? In this groundbreaking book, pioneering neuroscientist Sebastian Seung shows that our identity does not lie in our genes, but in the connections between our brain cells - our own particular wiring, or 'connectomes'.

Everything about us - emotions, thoughts, memories - is encoded in these tangled patterns of neural connections, and now Seung and a dedicated team are mapping them in order…


Book cover of The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery

Marc Dingman Author Of Bizarre: The Most Peculiar Cases of Human Behavior and What They Tell Us about How the Brain Works

From my list on learning about your brain.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with the brain began when I was an undergraduate, and since has grown into an insatiable curiosity about all things neuroscience. Today my main job is teaching courses in the health sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, but I spend much of my free time trying to find ways to make neuroscience understandable to those who share my enthusiasm for learning about it. I mostly do this through my books and a series of short neuroscience videos on my YouTube channel: Neuroscientifically Challenged.

Marc's book list on learning about your brain

Marc Dingman Why did Marc love this book?

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons is a fun, engaging, and well-written introduction to your brain and some of the most interesting characters in the history of neuroscience.

Sam Kean is an excellent science writer—the type who draws you in so much with his storytelling that you forget you’re actually learning something. By the end of this book, you’ll know more about how the brain works, but perhaps better yet you’ll have enjoyed an array of colorful historical tales that explain how our knowledge of the brain has advanced over the years.

By Sam Kean,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For centuries, scientists had only one way to study the brain: wait for misfortune to strike - strokes, seizures, infections, lobotomies, horrendous accidents, phantom limbs, Siamese twins - and see how the victims changed afterwards. In many cases their survival was miraculous, and observers marvelled at the transformations that took place when different parts of the brain were destroyed. Parents suddenly couldn't recognise their children. Pillars of the community became pathological liars and paedophiles. Some people couldn't speak but could still sing. Others couldn't read but could write.
The stories of these people laid the foundations of modern neuroscience and,…


Book cover of Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life

Beth Kurland, Ph.D. Author Of You Don't Have to Change to Change Everything: Six Ways to Shift Your Vantage Point, Stop Striving for Happy, and Find True Well-Being

From my list on helping you change the way you see the world for well-being and transformation.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a youth, I longed to understand life and its meaning and purpose, and I sought books that opened me up to a world that transcended the more rational, tangible aspects of my life. I also became fascinated with psychology in high school and knew that would be my life’s path. In college and beyond, I was drawn to meditation and mind-body practices that became transformative in my life. This journey continues to this day, calling me to bridge the scientific and psychological with the more contemplative and spiritual traditions to find and help others find healing and wholeness. 

Beth's book list on helping you change the way you see the world for well-being and transformation

Beth Kurland, Ph.D. Why did Beth love this book?

I found this book so compelling that I not only read it but found myself putting it into practice right away in my own life and with my patients. Jill Bolte Taylor’s story is quite remarkable in the way she describes witnessing her own massive stroke, its effect on her brain and body, and her eight-year journey of healing herself back to health and wellness.  

What was most fascinating to me was her observation and description of the four quadrants of our brains and how each one has its own personality (the rational, logical self; the reactive, self-protective, emotional self; the playful, free-spirited and present-focused self; and the spiritual, expansive whole self that experiences oneness with all things).

The book has abundant opportunities to experience the workings and "personalities" that reside in your brain and psyche and learn how to help each part work together in harmony to live your…

By Jill Bolte Taylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover how to tap into the present moment, shift out of anxiety and gain a sense of deep inner peace by understanding the brain's two hemispheres.

At age 37, Harvard neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor suffered a massive left-hemisphere stroke that took away her ability to speak, walk, read, write or remember any of her life - and gave her an unprecedented, profound experience of dwelling in the right hemisphere and the sense of oneness and peace to be found there. Her recovery led to her writing the New York Times bestseller My Stroke of Insight, being named one of Time…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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