Brain Bugs Book Summary - Brain Bugs Book explained in key points

Brain Bugs summary

Dean Buonomano

How The Brain´s Flaws Shape Our Lives

Brief summary

Brain Bugs by Dean Buonomano is a fascinating exploration of the quirks and limitations of the human brain. It examines how our cognitive biases, emotions, and beliefs can distort our perceptions of reality, and offers insights into how we can better understand ourselves and others.

Table of Contents

    Brain Bugs
    Summary of 10 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 10

    The structure of our nervous system is somewhat comparable to a computer.

    Despite the many obvious differences, we often liken the human brain to a computer.


    Much like a computer, the brain is an information-processing organ.

    A computer consists of physical components (hardware) and the programs that run on those components (software), and the same is true of the human nervous system.

    It's composed of hardware – the organs, such as the brain, spine and nerves – and it's programmed to direct our behavior and our thoughts, just like software.

    Not only are there similarities between the computer and the brain, but the neurons and synapses of the human brain constitute a large network – much like the World Wide Web.

    Neurons are information-storing cells, and a group of them is comparable to a web page, in that the individual cells are linked to one another via synapses.

    Furthermore, just as a web page which contains no links to other pages will be very difficult to find, neurons which have no – or just a few – connections to other neurons will be hard to find, too.

    In one study, for example, subjects were presented with images of famous politicians and actors. While the subjects looked at the images, a researcher observed the patterns of neurons activating in their brains.

    What did they find?

    Every image corresponded consistently with its own specific pattern of neurons. In other words, just like web pages, our neurons and the groups they form are focused on specific content.

    Moreover, the human brain contains approximately 90 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses, and each neuron is linked to many other neurons. The World Wide Web is similar: it comprises 20 billion web pages, with one trillion links.

    However, as you'll learn in the following blinks, there are many major differences between the computer and the human brain.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Brain Bugs?

    Key ideas in Brain Bugs

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Brain Bugs about?

    Brain Bugs explores the inner workings of the human brain – both its incredible capabilities and its major flaws. Drawing on a wealth of examples and current research, the author illustrates how the brain’s many blind spots and weaknesses lead us to make foolish decisions, recall false memories, and fear the wrong things. He also offers a number of suggestions for managing our brain bugs.

    Brain Bugs Review

    Brain Bugs (2011) delves into the fascinating world of cognitive biases and the quirks of our brains, offering valuable insights for anyone curious about human behavior. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • It sheds light on hidden biases that affect our decision-making, helping us become more aware of our own mental blind spots.
    • The book explores a wide range of engaging examples from everyday life, making complex concepts accessible and relatable.
    • By challenging our assumptions and presenting thought-provoking ideas, it keeps readers on their toes, ensuring that the subject matter is never dry or boring.

    Best quote from Brain Bugs

    Complaining that you have a bad memory for names or numbers is a bit like whining about your smartphone functioning poorly underwater.

    —Dean Buonomano
    example alt text

    Who should read Brain Bugs?

    • Anyone with a general interest in neuroscience
    • Anyone who wants to know more about how the brain works
    • Anyone who has heard of “brain bugs” and wants an explanation

    About the Author

    Dean Buonomano is a neuroscientist and professor of psychology and neurobiology at the University of California. Widely recognized as an expert on the brain’s sense of time, Buonomano has received plenty of media attention, and has been interviewed for many scientific journals and newspapers, such as Die Zeit, Newsweek and Scientific American.

    Categories with Brain Bugs

    Book summaries like Brain Bugs

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    30 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Brain Bugs FAQs 

    What is the main message of Brain Bugs?

    The main message of Brain Bugs is that our brains have various quirks and biases that affect our perception, decision-making, and behavior.

    How long does it take to read Brain Bugs?

    The reading time for Brain Bugs varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Brain Bugs a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Brain Bugs is a fascinating read that sheds light on the inner workings of our minds. It's definitely worth reading for anyone curious about human psychology.

    Who is the author of Brain Bugs?

    The author of Brain Bugs is Dean Buonomano.