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Incognito

The Secret Lives of the Brain
Narrated by: David Eagleman
Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (344 ratings)
Regular price: £17.99
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Summary

Why can your foot move halfway to the brake pedal before you're consciously aware of danger? Why do you notice when your name is mentioned in a conversation that you didn't think you were listening to? Why are people whose name begins with J more likely to marry other people whose name begins with J? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret? Renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate these surprising mysteries. Taking in brain damage, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synaesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence and visual illusions.

©2012 David Eagleman (P)2012 Canongate Books

Critic reviews

“Eagleman has a talent for testing the untestable, for taking seemingly sophomoric notions and using them to nail down the slippery stuff of consciousness.” ( The New Yorker)
“A fun read by a smart person for smart people…it will attract a new generation to ponder their inner workings.” ( New Scientist)
“Your mind is an elaborate trick, and mastermind David Eagleman explains how the trick works with great lucidity and amazement. Your mind will thank you.” (Kevin Kelly, Wired Magazine)

What members say

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Not for experts

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I really enjoyed the book but I have never studied neuroscience or psychology to any degree. I suspect it would be familiar ground for someone with an extensive interest in the area but it's quite good for someone with a more casual interest.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marc
  • Shoreham, United Kingdom
  • 24-12-12

fascinating

fascinating insight into the human mind/spirit. I can not recommend this enough: it's intriguing, thrilling and informative... brilliant.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dr
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 09-04-13

Engaging but not ground breaking

Eagleman reads his own text in an appealing way and takes the listener through much of the same territory that can be listened to in Bruce Hood's 'The Self Illusion' or Timothy D. Wilson's 'Strangers to Ourselves' -- e.g. what experiments on split brain patients reveal about confabulation, blindsight (being able to use the mid-brain to see even when you can no longer consciously process what you see), the accident that sent an iron rod through the prefrontal cortex of Phineas Gage and changed his personality. Eagleman's particular interest is in the consequences which a more brain-savvy and up-to-date account of human identity has for the idea of legal responsibility. Bruce Hood gives you a bit more science, without being difficult to listen to (for even more science you could try David Linden's excellent 'The Accidental Mind'). Timothy Wilson is interesting because his account of processes below the level of consciousness (what he calls the adaptive unconscious) engages explicitly with the psychoanalytic tradition. Eagleman is a good starting point: a thought provoking and accessible text that will probably lead you to want to listen to more such books.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Colin
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 11-09-12

Interesting, but not enough depth.

I would like to say that this is an amazing book but for me it lacked in examples and detail. It took me three chapters to get into the book as most of the beginning David waffled on trying to explain in layman's terms the difference in the conscious and unconscious brain. This simplifying was a little OTT throughout the book and a little insulting/annoying. However there are some interesting facts and the book is well narrated by the author himself, and I am tempted to listen to it again to pick up an lost details I may have missed!



All in all the book does make you think and is a good first read it you're interested in psychology/science. If you enjoy this and would like to discover more then I would recommend Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland (which is on Audible.co.uk!).

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Incognito

I found this book fascinating throughout. If you have ever wondered why you do things impulsively or how you manage to perform an act with very little conscious thought, this book will enthral you. I have been an Audible member for several years and this book has soared to the top of my ratings. A must for any library.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs
  • Swindon, United Kingdom
  • 14-11-12

fascinating

Couldn't stop listening to this! I really enjoyed learning about the effects of the brain... and entertaining!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating

Where does Incognito rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best. I was a bit arrogant when choosing this book - doubted it would say anything I didn't already know. But actually - it's very interesting, and I learned quite a bit. I'm an engineer, and this book has actually changed the way I approach problem solving - which is to say that instead of 'racking my brains' I now understand to to give the brain space / time it needs to do the work for 'me'.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Er, y'what? Silly question for this kind of book.

Have you listened to any of David Eagleman’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, so no.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Come on.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wow!

Fascinating. Well narrated,very professional and easy to listen and follow. I will listen to this book again and would recommend.

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Incredible book

Opened my mind in a big way. Incredibly thought-provoking and very deep book which proposes and proves that we consciously control only a tiny part of our bodies, actions, thoughts and desires. Our brains and bodies are highly complex systems to which “we” have no access. And there are multiple “we”s living and fighting in our head. Highly recommend!

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Pseudo breathless speaker takes a lot away

The speaker kills my interest, also a lot of stuff I already had read about. Unless the speaker doesn't put you off, there's surely some interesting nuggets here.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-05-18

Rollercoaster ride of our inner cosmos

Eagleman does an incredible job of sharing the astonishing details of our brains and how it all seamlessly comes together behind the veil.

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  • serrosko
  • 02-02-18

great book !

great book ! changed my point of view to humans ;) as a fashion designer i found everything clear & understandable.

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  • Mariana Valdez
  • 01-06-17

Absolutely loved it!

I'm obsessed with David Eagleman! He's brilliant and entertaining. This book changed my perspective on the brain and on life in general. Must read!

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  • Neuron
  • 31-05-13

The best introduction to understanding your brain

Do you think that you are in charge of your actions? What should we do with criminals who clearly committed a crime because of say a tumor in the brain? How can we use the brains ability to change to our advantage?

From start to finish this book was highly interesting, highly entertaining, and highly relavant for anyone who want to understand the brain better. Though I am soon getting my PhD in neuroscience and has taught medical students for several years, this book gave me new insights and many examples that I now use when teaching students. Though it gives you more than just the basics, the reader does not need much in terms of background knowledge. Eagleman does a great job of explaining difficult concepts.

I rarely give top ratings to books, but this book deserved it. Buy!

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  • Luke
  • 17-07-12

My first audiobook. I am truly impressed .

If you could sum up Incognito in three words, what would they be?

Thought provoking; insightful

Have you listened to any of the narrator’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The purpose of this review was not so much to critique the book but to give praise to the narrator. I had never listened to an audiobook before so I approached my first encounter with skepticism. Much to my delight I was gobsmacked at the high quality of the narration. The narrator spoke in a dynamic and appropriate manner, emphasising critical sentence points and the like. The overall experience has been a pleasurable one and I would recommend audiobooks to all.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful