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Unthinkable

An Extraordinary Journey Through the World's Strangest Brains
Narrated by: Helen Thomson
Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

A prize-winning journalist with a background in neuroscience, Helen Thomson spent years tracking down people who live with the world's most extraordinary neurological disorders - like a man who tried to break his back because his legs no longer felt like his own, and another who believed that he was dead for nine years. Not content to simply read about these cases on paper, Thomson reached out to 10 people with these afflictions, and they agreed to tell her their stories.

Leaving behind the scans and the clinical histories, Unthinkable ties the first-ever interviews with the people who have these rare conditions together with cutting-edge science. Through these incredible tales, Thomson casts a light on the chaos that the human mind can create. She shows us how these strange conditions hold the keys to unlocking the biggest mysteries of the human brain, and provide a deeper understanding of the human condition itself.

Combining careful observation with bold science and vibrant storytelling, Unthinkable takes us on a deep dive into the weirdest corners of our brain, and helps us to see our own creativity, our emotions, and our consciousness more clearly.

©2018 Helen Thomson (P)2018 John Murray Press

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  • Ursula McPherson-Vitkus
  • 08-09-18

Fascinating for anyone with a brain!

This book changed the way that I conceptualize myself and my interactions with others around me. I recommend to all--not just those in the sciences!

1 person found this helpful

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  • David White
  • 18-07-18

Inspired by Sacks, yet totally it's own thing!

Helen Thomson humbly credits those who came before her in the Neuroscience world, while making a name for herself! This book was performed well and its story is great! Finally, this book really makes you appreciate the lived aspects of the illnesses/conditions described!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jessica Davis
  • 18-11-19

Beginning to reveal the mind

Started out a little slow, but quickly picked up. It was a fascinating study of the human mind. Although she points out the philosophical notion that we can never fully understand the mind because we are using it to understand. However, I know from listening to this book I feel a greater appreciation for what that mushy mass in our heads provides us and the people that have challenges with it.

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  • david
  • 30-08-19

interesting narrative about the brain

many conditions are fascinating but presentation is not as good as biographies of people with one. a bit biography a bit neuroscience lecture. voice is fast and a bit easier to listen if you slow her to 90-95% speed. the accent and speed are a problem early in the book but by the end perhaps I got used to the Queen's English. truly interesting conditions though.

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  • Paul
  • 18-07-19

Instant fan!

This one book ought to catapult Helen into the highest echelon of science writing. It’s fantastic. A Dawkins, Sagan, Sacks or Zimmer. She is delightfully British so if you get the audio version, be prepared for the wonderful pronunciations and colloquialisms.

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  • Ruthi
  • 01-07-19

Very interesting

I really enjoyed this book a lot! I’ve been having medical issues the past 3 years now and as such, I’ve really appreciated books like these a lot more than I ever did before. Nonfiction can be difficult for me to finish- via text nearly impossible but still hard via audiobook. This one was easy to engage with & the writer does a great job narrating her work without ever getting dry or monotone. Typically medical science nonfiction is best when read by the author but sometimes it’s too dry of a job- definitely not the case here & I really appreciated her cadence. 5/5, tho not in depth on the cases if you’ve a passing interest in brain disorders that are unusual, you’re probably aware these disorders exist & will find simply the interviews themselves fascinating.

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  • ericka
  • 11-04-19

Enjoyed

I enjoyed this one. I mostly listen on my commutes home from work. Some of the cases I had read or learned about in other books or classes previously, but some were new to me and I still enjoy hearing about those ones I already know. Its read by the author and what I like most is her ability to explain conditions that sound inexplicable at first, in way that makes you think ,' oh, now I totally see how that could happen to someone.' If you love psychology and learning about cognition this book is for you.

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  • Leanne Beers
  • 01-03-19

Completely Fascinating!

My daughter got this book for me, after reading only the description, thinking it might be something I would like. Turns out, yep...loved it. Every chapter seemed to be more interesting than the previous. I was riveted. If I would have read this book 25 years ago I would have totally studied psychology.

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  • A Customer
  • 14-09-18

Terrible Narration Ruined This Audible Book

This is an interesting, well-written book, but I had problems understanding the narrator, who write this book. Authors should trust professionals to narrate their books, especially if about science or medicine. If I had to do it over, I would’ve gotten the Kindle version.

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  • Bam
  • 10-08-19

Terrible narration

I couldn't get past the narrator's (the author's) super-fast, almost lispy, slurred speech. I tried slowing it down to .90 to make it less jarring, and it helped some, but not enough. I quit listening leas than 5 minutes in. Terrible.