100 books like The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons

By Sam Kean,

Here are 100 books that The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons fans have personally recommended if you like The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons. 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 Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep

Lynne Malcolm Author Of All In The Mind: Fascinating, inspiring and transformative stories from the forefront of brain science

From my list on psychology of the human experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a science journalist and broadcaster with a degree in Psychology and a deep passion and fascination for people, their behavior, and the workings of the human mind.  For nine years, I produced and presented the popular Australian ABC radio program and podcast, All in the Mind, in which I explored a range of topics, including neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, cognitive science, mental health, and human behavior. I’ve received numerous media awards and contributed to media award judging panels. All in the Mind - fascinating, inspiring, and transformative stories from the forefront of brain science is my first book. I continue to write and communicate about the topics I am inspired by. 

Lynne's book list on psychology of the human experience

Lynne Malcolm Why did Lynne love this book?

I love this book because I am a very prolific dreamer. Dreams intrigue me, and I am fascinated by all aspects of what happens in the brain when we sleep. I found myself completely engaged in the compassionate stories based on the author’s (neurologist and sleep physician) case studies of his patients.

This book helped me to explore what happens to our brains at night. I discovered that even if they're fully asleep, some people go sleepwalking or even sleep driving! And some people act out their dreams to a terrifying extent. I loved reading about the neuroscience of nightmares, dreaming, and nighttime hallucinations—and what they can tell us about the workings of our brain.

By Guy Leschziner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A renowned neurologist shares the true stories of people unable to get a good night’s rest in The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep, a fascinating exploration of the symptoms and syndromes behind sleep disorders.

For Dr. Guy Leschziner’s patients, there is no rest for the weary in mind and body. Insomnia, narcolepsy, night terrors, apnea, and sleepwalking are just a sampling of conditions afflicting sufferers who cannot sleep—and their experiences in trying are the stuff of nightmares. Demoniac hallucinations frighten people into paralysis. Restless legs rock both the sleepless and their sleeping partners with unpredictable…


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 Brain: The Story of You

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?

If you’re looking for an easy-to-understand and entertaining introduction to the basics of how your brain works, The Brain is a great choice.

The author, David Eagleman, is an accomplished neuroscientist who has both a deep understanding of brain function and a talent for explaining those functions in a clear and engaging style.

The book also explores how neuroscience might influence some profound philosophical questions about free will, consciousness, and more—so you’ll get a dose of deep thinking along with some fundamental neuroscience knowledge.

By David Eagleman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'This is the story of how your life shapes your brain, and how your brain shapes your life.'

Join renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman on a whistle-stop tour of the inner cosmos. It's a journey that will take you into the world of extreme sports, criminal justice, genocide, brain surgery, robotics and the search for immortality. On the way, amidst the infinitely dense tangle of brain cells and their trillions of connections, something emerges that you might not have expected to see: you.


Book cover of Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World's Strangest Brains

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?

Helen Thomson’s Unthinkable follows her around the world as she travels to meet individuals with some of the strangest neurological conditions imaginable.

Thomson is a respected journalist, and her writing talent really shines in describing these cases and how they are tied back to abnormalities in brain function. Unthinkable will teach you some neuroscience, but most of all it’s just a really fun read.

By Helen Thomson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Wonderfully clear, fluent and eye-opening' THE TIMES

'A stirring scientific journey, a celebration of human diversity and a call to rethink the "unthinkable"' NATURE

'An utterly fascinating romp around the nether regions of the human mind' BIG ISSUE

IMAGINE . . . getting lost in a one-room flat; seeing auras; never forgetting a moment; a permanent orchestra in your head; turning into a tiger; life as an out-of-body experience; feeling other people's pain; being convinced you are dead; becoming a different person overnight.

Our brains are far stranger than we think. We take it for granted that we can remember,…


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 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…


Book cover of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

Victoria Dunckley Author Of Reset Your Child's Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen

From my list on effects of screen time on kids on neuroscience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an integrative child psychiatrist with a special focus on how screen-time detunes the nervous system, causing issues with sleep, mood, focus, and behavior. In fact, technology use is the most underestimated influence of our time; it causes problems whose connections aren’t always obvious, leads to misdiagnosis and overmedication, and wastes resources. I am passionate about helping children and families methodically reverse these changes using screen fast protocols that provide dramatic improvements in functioning and well-being. I speak regularly to parents’ groups, schools, and health providers, and my work has been featured on such outlets as NPR, CNN, NBC Nightly News, Psychology Today, and Good Morning America.

Victoria's book list on effects of screen time on kids on neuroscience

Victoria Dunckley Why did Victoria love this book?

Discussing the negative impacts of screen time (and its close cousin, sedentariness) can feel overwhelming. In contrast, discovering ways to make the brain stronger is empowering. In this startling book, Dr. Ratey explores exercise’s dramatic impact on the brain and shows how it can not only improve cognitive functioning but actually make the brain bigger and more connected. While as a psychiatrist I have long-prescribed exercise to improve depression, anxiety, and sleep, after reading Spark I had a newfound respect and awe for not just the power of exercise but for the plasticity of the brain itself. This book gives new hope to those who have or work with kids with neuropsychiatric conditions or who are struggling, stuck, or otherwise disadvantaged.

By John J. Ratey, Eric Hagerman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Exercise is not only good for the body: it can transform your mind too. This new scientific revolution will teach you how to boost brain cells, protect yourself against mental illness and dementia, and ensure success in exams and the workplace.

We all know that exercise is good for the body. But did you know that it can transform your mind? This new scientific revolution will teach you how to boost brain cells, protect yourself against mental illness and dementia, and ensure success in exams and the workplace.

Follow the SPARK! training regimen and build your brain to its peak…


Book cover of Rhythms of the Brain

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?

Of the dozens of books on neuroscience that I have in my library, I consider this one the most comprehensive and authoritative. I quote passages from it extensively in my own bookIts scope and richness qualify it as a primary text for neuroscience students. Buzsáki has enabled me to understand some of the most intricate structures and functions of the human brain.

By Gyorgy Buzsaki,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Studies of mechanisms in the brain that allow complicated things to happen in a coordinated fashion have produced some of the most spectacular discoveries in neuroscience. This book provides eloquent support for the idea that spontaneous neuron activity, far from being mere noise, is actually the source of our cognitive abilities. It takes a fresh look at the coevolution of structure and function in the mammalian brain, illustrating how self-emerged oscillatory
timing is the brain's fundamental organizer of neuronal information. The small-world-like connectivity of the cerebral cortex allows for global computation on multiple spatial and temporal scales. The perpetual interactions…


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 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,…


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