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Summary

In a book of unprecedented scope Iain McGilchrist presents a fascinating exploration of the differences between the brain’s left and right hemispheres and how those differences have affected society, history and culture. 

McGilchrist draws on a vast body of recent research in neuroscience and psychology to reveal that the difference is profound: the left hemisphere is detail oriented, while the right has greater breadth, flexibility and generosity. 

McGilchrist then takes the listener on a journey through the history of Western culture, illustrating the tension between these two worlds as revealed in the thought and belief of thinkers and artists from Aeschylus to Magritte.

©2010 Iain McGilchrist (P)2019 Tantor

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Revolutionary Re-enchantment

If, like me, you despair of reductionism, over-simplification, the disenchantment and commodification of animals and the living world which allows the ruthless exploitation of the planet, this book explains why it is happening. We are half losing our minds, or at least the hemisphere that silently sees reality as a whole. Welcome instead to the machine! McGilchrist is something of a polymath, a neuropsychiatrist with expertise spanning neuroscience, philosophy, phenomenology, biology, art history, music and literature. This is therefore a highly intellectual and intelligent book, charting the modern cultural takeover of “left hemisphere” atomistic conceptual thinking, and the suppression of “right hemisphere” holistic perception. The verbose Emissary, has subverted the ineffable vision of the Master. We mistake our map for the territory. As an aside, this is one of the best explications of the Phenomenology of Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and others I know. Clearly narrated (though some pronunciations seemed a little odd at times), this is a book of huge importance for western culture at this time, and the future of our planet.

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A must read for anyone wanting to understand being

A highly enjoyable book that lays bear the conflicts of doing science on a brain when the brain is the one doing the science, and many other fascinating mysteries of being, in a clear and eloquent way. Exceptional

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Excellent, with many ah-ha! Moments

An amazing book that will stay with me for my life. Note on the narration (and possibly the complexity of the information) I had to listen on 0.8 speed as I found it too fast, not least the pauses between headings seemed to quickly blend into the content...

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A fascinating book, but poor narration

The narration is monotone, making the complex material impenetrable. But the printed book, this audiobook is unusable.

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Great book on the evolution of our brain

Very deep and insightful. I painted the house in lockdown with it on audiobooks as I didn't believe I could read it slowly over days and keep the concentration on the subject as a whole. Odd part a little dull, otherwise exceptional book introducing why the brain does what, where it does it, and why. Very comprehensive.

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  • Nikos
  • 08-04-20

Highly informative

It's a highly informative book. Even though I don't 100% agree with everything said, I feel it helped me make a shift in the way I look at things