100 books like The New Mind Readers

By Russell A. Poldrack,

Here are 100 books that The New Mind Readers fans have personally recommended if you like The New Mind Readers. 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 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 Minority Report

Mark Bartholomew Author Of Intellectual Property and the Brain: How Neuroscience Will Reshape Legal Protection for Creations of the Mind

From my list on how neuroscience will change our lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a law professor who has been teaching and writing in the area of intellectual property for 20 years. As my career went along, I came to realize how important it is to not just mechanically apply the legal rules but to think about why they are there. Intellectual property law—a 7 trillion-dollar legal regime governing one-third of the U.S. economy—continually guesses as to how the minds of artists and audiences work. The more I read about neuroscientific advances, the more I realized that these guesses are often wrong and need to be updated for a new technological age.

Mark's book list on how neuroscience will change our lives

Mark Bartholomew Why did Mark love this book?

Sure, this book was written way back in 1956, but its dark tale of “mind reading” police is still just as captivating and relevant today. In Dick’s imagined future, three mutants are able to foresee crime before it occurs, allowing the cops to stop crime before it gets started. Like the mutants, today’s neural imaging machines are heralded as ways to see what people are thinking, revealing what they can’t or won’t voluntarily describe. The novel explores questions about expectations of privacy, the dangers of authoritarian regimes controlling invasive technologies, and the nature of free will—all issues that society will need to wrestle with as our understanding of the brain advances. 

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Imagine a future where crimes can be detected before they are committed, and criminals are convicted and sentenced for crimes before committing them. This is the scenario of Philip K. Dick's classic story, now filmed by Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Cruise.

In addition to MINORITY REPORT this exclusive collection includes nine other outstanding short stories by the twentieth century's outstanding SF master, three of which have been made into feature films.


Book cover of The Moral Conflict of Law and Neuroscience

Mark Bartholomew Author Of Intellectual Property and the Brain: How Neuroscience Will Reshape Legal Protection for Creations of the Mind

From my list on how neuroscience will change our lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a law professor who has been teaching and writing in the area of intellectual property for 20 years. As my career went along, I came to realize how important it is to not just mechanically apply the legal rules but to think about why they are there. Intellectual property law—a 7 trillion-dollar legal regime governing one-third of the U.S. economy—continually guesses as to how the minds of artists and audiences work. The more I read about neuroscientific advances, the more I realized that these guesses are often wrong and need to be updated for a new technological age.

Mark's book list on how neuroscience will change our lives

Mark Bartholomew Why did Mark love this book?

The lion’s share of commentary about the influence of neuroscience on our system of laws has focused on criminal law. What does it mean to punish people for actions that are really the product of biology rather than conscious choice? Alces grapples with what this means for criminal law and its concepts of moral responsibility and builds a thoughtful and compelling argument. But what I really liked was his equally sharp analysis of what this different conception of human agency means when it comes to tort and contract law—legal regimes that we are much more likely to confront in our daily lives.

By Peter A. Alces,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moral Conflict of Law and Neuroscience as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Law relies on a conception of human agency, the idea that humans are capable of making their own choices and are morally responsible for the consequences. But what if that is not the case? Over the past half century, the story of the law has been one of increased acuity concerning the human condition, especially the workings of the brain. The law already considers select cognitive realities in evaluating questions of agency and responsibility, such as age, sanity, and emotional distress. As new neuroscientific research comprehensively calls into question the very idea of free will, how should the law respond…


Book cover of The Neuroscience of You: How Every Brain Is Different and How to Understand Yours

Mark Bartholomew Author Of Intellectual Property and the Brain: How Neuroscience Will Reshape Legal Protection for Creations of the Mind

From my list on how neuroscience will change our lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a law professor who has been teaching and writing in the area of intellectual property for 20 years. As my career went along, I came to realize how important it is to not just mechanically apply the legal rules but to think about why they are there. Intellectual property law—a 7 trillion-dollar legal regime governing one-third of the U.S. economy—continually guesses as to how the minds of artists and audiences work. The more I read about neuroscientific advances, the more I realized that these guesses are often wrong and need to be updated for a new technological age.

Mark's book list on how neuroscience will change our lives

Mark Bartholomew Why did Mark love this book?

The other books on this list are mostly about generalized understandings of how our brains work. But there is also important research being done about how our brain chemistry is highly individualized, differing from one person to another. Ever wonder why your ability to focus, to manage stress, to engage in “big picture” thinking is different from someone else? Prat lays out the science of individual brain differences in lively, easy-to-understand prose. The book offers glimpses of a future where bespoke psychological treatments and participation in collaborative efforts can be calibrated to our own unique neurochemistries.

By Chantel Prat,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From University of Washington professor Chantel Prat comes The Neuroscience of You, a rollicking adventure into the human brain that reveals the surprising truth about neuroscience, shifting our focus from what’s average to an understanding of how every brain is different, exactly why our quirks are important, and what this means for each of us.

With style and wit, Chantel Prat takes us on a tour of the meaningful ways that our brains are dissimilar from one another. Using real-world examples, along with take-them-yourself tests and quizzes, she shows you how to identify the strengths and weakness of your own…


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

Richard Passingham Author Of Cognitive Neuroscience: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on the human brain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have worked on the brain in Oxford since 1970, and my job also required me to teach students, not just in lectures but also in tutorials. This taught me how to communicate clearly. In my own scientific work, I was amongst the first to use functional brain imaging to visualize the human brain at work. I have written seven books and edited an eighth. My particular specialisation is decision making and the brain areas (such as the prefrontal cortex) that support it. I have just published a monograph of nearly 500 pages on the prefrontal cortex, aimed at other scientists in the field. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society. 

Richard's book list on the human brain

Richard Passingham Why did Richard love 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.

By V.S. Ramachandran, Sandra Blakeslee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran is internationally renowned for uncovering answers to the deep and quirky questions of human nature that few scientists have dared to address. His bold insights about the brain are matched only by the stunning simplicity of his experiments -- using such low-tech tools as cotton swabs, glasses of water and dime-store mirrors. In Phantoms in the Brain, Dr. Ramachandran recounts how his work with patients who have bizarre neurological disorders has shed new light on the deep architecture of the brain, and what these findings tell us about who we are, how we construct our body image,…


Book cover of The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human

William Hirstein Author Of Responsible Brains: Neuroscience, Law, and Human Culpability

From my list on bridging the gap between mind and brain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like trying to solve problems about the mind: Is the mind just the brain? What is consciousness, and where is it in the brain? What happens in the brain during aesthetic experience? Why are we prone to self-deception? In approaching these questions, I don’t limit myself to one discipline or set of techniques. These mental phenomena, and the problems that surround them, do not hew to our disciplinary boundaries. In spite of this, someone needs to collect, analyze, and assess information relevant to the problems—which is in many different formats—and build theories designed to make sense of it. During that time, more data will become available, so back you go.

William's book list on bridging the gap between mind and brain

William Hirstein Why did William love this book?

V. S. Ramachandran is a gifted experimentalist and writer who does not hesitate to pursue deep and important questions about our minds. Rather than employing expensive imaging or large sample sizes, he is more likely to use a cardboard box, an old stereopticon, or a rubber hand in his experiments. 

His creativity in finding concrete ways to test seemingly vague but interesting claims about our minds has led to several breakthroughs, in our understanding of phantom limbs and our ability to treat phantom pain, and also in our study or synesthesia—cases in which people see numbers as having colors, for example.

As I can attest, he is able to transmit to his students the idea that pursuing scientific questions can thrilling, fulfilling, and so much fun that you can’t wait to get to work in the morning.

By V.S. Ramachandran,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Tell-Tale Brain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this landmark work, V. S. Ramachandran investigates strange, unforgettable cases-from patients who believe they are dead to sufferers of phantom limb syndrome. With a storyteller's eye for compelling case studies and a researcher's flair for new approaches to age-old questions, Ramachandran tackles the most exciting and controversial topics in brain science, including language, creativity, and consciousness.


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

Eric Schwitzgebel Author Of The Weirdness of the World

From my list on blow your mind about the weirdness of the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

What I love about philosophy (I’ve been a philosophy professor at the University of California, Riverside, since 1997) is not its ability to deliver the one correct answer to the nature of the world and how to live but rather its power to open our mind to new possibilities that we hadn’t previously considered; its power to blow apart our presuppositions, our culturally given “common sense” understandings, and our habitual patterns of thinking, casting us into doubt and wonder. The science writing, fiction, and personal essays I love best have that same power.

Eric's book list on blow your mind about the weirdness of the world

Eric Schwitzgebel Why did Eric love this book?

Every time I revisit Sacks, especially this book, I am blown away anew at people’s ability to create meaning and value in the face of severe cognitive disability.

A man’s capacity to categorize objects is so impaired that when he moves to leave the room, he mistakenly reaches for his wife’s head instead of his hat. How can he even get through the day? With the help of familiar routines, his loving spouse, and music.

A “lost mariner” can’t retain any new information longer than a few minutes and still thinks he’s living decades ago, but he finds meaning in the timeless ceremonies of his religion. A man repeatedly throws his own leg out of bed and is surprised to find himself on the floor again….

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

11 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 How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain

Jacki Skole Author Of Dogland: A Journey to the Heart of America's Dog Problem

From my list on dogs and their people.

Why am I passionate about this?

Do you ever wonder what your dog’s life was like before he became part of your family? Or what your dog is thinking when she stares at you? I’m a journalist, and when I get curious about something, I start asking questions, and I read. A lot. When I started researching the book that would become Dogland, I began collecting dog books of all kinds: novels, memoirs, nonfiction. Now I review dog books for EcoLit Books, an online journal featuring works with animal welfare and environmental themes. The books listed below—a mix of fiction and nonfiction—are some of my favorites. 

Jacki's book list on dogs and their people

Jacki Skole Why did Jacki love this book?

I am forever wondering what goes on in the deep recesses of my dogs’ brains. (Except if it’s 5:00 p.m. and my Labrador-mix locks eyes on me. Then, I know it’s dinner time.) It’s this desire to peer into my dogs’ heads that attracted me to Gregory Berns’ pioneering research. In 2011, Berns came up with the radical notion that dogs could be trained to enter an MRI machine and remain still long enough to have their brains scanned and thus, studied. Many doubted him, but Berns and his Terrier-mix Callie proved them wrong. This is their incredible story.

By Gregory Berns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Dogs Love Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal bestseller.

The powerful bond between humans and dogs is one that's uniquely cherished. Loyal, obedient, and affectionate, they are truly "man's best friend." But do dogs love us the way we love them? Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns had spent decades using MRI imaging technology to study how the human brain works, but a different question still nagged at him: What is my dog thinking?

After his family adopted Callie, a shy, skinny terrier mix, Berns decided that there was only one way to answer that question-use an MRI machine to scan the dog's brain. His…


Book cover of Who Switched Off My Brain?: Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions

Roxane Lapa Author Of How I Overcame Panic Disorder Without Drugs

From my list on overcoming anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve experienced crippling anxiety personally, to the point of nervous breakdown. I’ve researched this topic extensively and have been panic-free for over a decade due to the knowledge and coping skills accrued.

Roxane's book list on overcoming anxiety

Roxane Lapa Why did Roxane love this book?

Caroline Leaf is a brain scientist who has specialized in the science of thoughts for decades. She is also a Christian. In this book, she explains scientifically (though in layman's terms) how our thoughts affect our bodies, and even our genes (epigenetics). She shows how to utilize this knowledge to better our mental and physical health. I really believe this is an important book that should be read by almost everyone at some point in their lives. I see that she has a new book called 101 Ways to Be Less Stressed: Simple Self-Care Strategies to Boost Your Mind, Mood, and Mental Health which may be even more pertinent to the subject, though I haven’t yet read it.

By Caroline Leaf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Switched Off My Brain? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We're living in an epidemic of toxic emotions.

Research shows that as much as 87% to 95% of mental and physical illnesses are a direct result of toxic thinking-proof that our thoughts affect us physically and emotionally.

In this best-selling book, Dr. Caroline Leaf clearly communicates 13 ways to detox your thought life and live a life of physical, mental, and emotional wholeness.


Book cover of Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind

Jim Brown Author Of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

From my list on brain, mind, and consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my entire professional life quietly patrolling the frontiers of understanding human consciousness. I was an early adopter in the burgeoning field of biofeedback, then neurofeedback and neuroscience, plus theory and practices of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, plus steeping myself in systems theory as a context for all these other fields of focus. I hold a MS in psychology from San Francisco State University and a PhD from Saybrook Institute. I live in Mount Shasta CA with Molly, my life partner for over 60 years. We have two sons and two grandchildren.

Jim's book list on brain, mind, and consciousness

Jim Brown Why did Jim love this book?

In this uniquely structured book, Dan Siegel covers the major elements of interpersonal neurobiology, which is one of the most exciting theoretical constructs currently available. Siegel and I are definitely on the same page in applying complex dynamical systems theory to the understanding of mind/body integration, consciousness, and the essential role of interpersonal relationships in healthy human development.

By Daniel J. Siegel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many fields have explored the nature of mental life from psychology to psychiatry, literature to linguistics. Yet no common "framework" where each of these important perspectives can be honored and integrated with one another has been created in which a person seeking their collective wisdom can find answers to some basic questions, such as, What is the purpose of life? Why are we here? How do we know things, how are we conscious of ourselves? What is the mind? What makes a mind healthy or unwell? And, perhaps most importantly: What is the connection among the mind, the brain, and…


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