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Summary

A monumental, sweeping journey from the ancient roots of neurology to the most astonishing recent research.

This is the story of our quest to understand the most mysterious object in the universe. Today we tend to picture the brain 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 brain's 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 we came to our present state of knowledge. Our latest theories allow us to create artificial memories in the brain of a mouse, and to build AI programmes capable of extraordinary cognitive feats. A complete understanding seems within our grasp.

But to make that final breakthrough, we may need a radical new approach. At every step of our quest, Cobb shows that it was new ideas that brought illumination. Where, he asks, might the next one come from? What will it be?

©2020 Matthew Cobb (P)2020 Hachette Audio UK

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Stunning overview and history of neuroscience

Whilst this is billed as a history it is really an overview of the study of the brain with a lot of history. When I studied the brain at university many ideas made no sense. It turns out you need a detailed and critical history to understand a lot of the ideas about the brain. Targeted at the general reader it provides a fascinating overview of the ideas used to try (and mostly fail) to understand the brain. Written in a clear and easy to understand style, it has changed my views on some important aspects of the science. Easily the best science book I have read in the last decade.

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A fascinating read

Maybe it's my inner science nerd coming through but I thoroughly enjoyed this historical romp through our developmental understanding of how we came to know what we know about the brain, what we used to think and what we're still hoping to crack in our understanding. There were a few parts that made me really laugh and I'll never think of Jennifer Aniston the same way again.

1 person found this helpful

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Prepare to become an expert

I've read many popularising science books and have gained great enjoyment from them all but none of them have made me feel I was now knowledgeable enough to consider myself and expert in the subject in the way that reading this one has. OK, that might be my brain playing tricks but I'm ready to start some research of my own on this topic and I'd never even thought about it much before. Anyway, I think you will be delighted by the clarity and comprehensiveness of what is laid out before you in this excellent book and though sometimes audible books can be difficult to maintain focus on as the narration proceeds this kept me concentrating in anticipation of the next nugget of information and detail.

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Excellent listen

Very clever history of the brain, the mind and consciousness. Great overview and leaves you want to research many areas further.

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great book

Very informative and in the same way not complicated. It's great that such a complicated subject could be described as a storytell.