The best 17 Brain books

The human brain, the most complex organ in our bodies, holds endless mysteries waiting to be unraveled. From neuroscience to psychology, our book list delves into the fascinating world of the brain.
Discover how our brains shape our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and explore cutting-edge research in this captivating field. Whether you're a curious reader or a student of the mind, these books offer a thought-provoking journey into the depths of our cognitive powerhouse.

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1
Brain Books: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Andrew Bujalski

Flowers for Algernon

Daniel Keyes, Andrew Bujalski

What's Flowers for Algernon about?

Flowers for Algernon is a thought-provoking novel by Daniel Keyes that delves into the complexities of human intelligence and the impact of societal expectations. Through the eyes of Charlie Gordon, a mentally disabled man who undergoes a groundbreaking experiment to increase his intelligence, the book explores themes of identity, empathy, and the ethical implications of scientific advancement. It is a poignant and unforgettable story that challenges our perceptions of what it means to be truly intelligent.

Who should read Flowers for Algernon?

  • Curious individuals seeking to explore the complexities of human intelligence and consciousness
  • Those interested in thought-provoking narratives that challenge perceptions and societal norms
  • Readers who enjoy emotionally impactful stories that provoke introspection and empathy

2
Brain Books: The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer

The Believing Brain

Michael Shermer

What's The Believing Brain about?

'The Believing Brain' by Michael Shermer delves into the neuroscience and psychology behind belief formation. Shermer explores how our brains are hardwired to seek patterns and create beliefs, often based on emotions and subjective experiences rather than evidence. Through in-depth research and engaging storytelling, the book challenges our assumptions and encourages critical thinking about the nature of belief.

Who should read The Believing Brain?

  • Readers who are curious about the psychology behind belief formation
  • Individuals interested in critical thinking and skepticism
  • Those who want to better understand their own cognitive biases

3
Brain Books: Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

Brain on Fire

Susannah Cahalan

What's Brain on Fire about?

Brain on Fire is a gripping memoir by Susannah Cahalan that chronicles her sudden descent into madness and the harrowing journey to reclaim her life. Cahalan recounts her terrifying experience of being misdiagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that caused her to lose control of her mind and body. This compelling book sheds light on the complexities of the human brain and the resilience of the human spirit.

Who should read Brain on Fire?

  • Those interested in medical mysteries and rare neurological conditions
  • Individuals looking for insights into the resilience and strength of the human mind
  • Readers who enjoy personal narratives and stories of overcoming adversity

What's An Anthropologist on Mars about?

An Anthropologist on Mars (1995) is a collection of seven fascinating case studies by renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks. Through these stories, Sacks explores the lives of individuals with neurological conditions, offering profound insights into the complexities of the human brain and the resilience of the human spirit.

Who should read An Anthropologist on Mars?

  • Readers who are curious about the human brain and neurology
  • Individuals interested in understanding the experiences of people with neurological conditions
  • Those who enjoy thought-provoking stories and insights into the complexities of human perception

5
Brain Books: The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

What's The Psychopath Test about?

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson explores the concept of psychopathy and the industry that surrounds it. Through interviews and research, Ronson delves into the world of mental health professionals, criminal justice systems, and the media, uncovering the controversial and complex nature of diagnosing and understanding psychopathic behavior. With wit and empathy, he challenges our assumptions and raises thought-provoking questions about what it means to be “normal”.

Who should read The Psychopath Test?

  • Individuals curious about the inner workings of the human mind and personality disorders
  • People interested in exploring the concept of psychopathy and its impact on society
  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking non-fiction that challenges conventional wisdom

6
Brain Books: How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker

How the Mind Works

Steven Pinker

What's How the Mind Works about?

How the Mind Works (1997) by Steven Pinker delves into the fascinating world of cognitive science to explore the inner workings of our minds. From emotions and language to memory and decision-making, Pinker offers insights and explanations on the complex mechanisms that shape our thoughts and behaviors. This thought-provoking book challenges our understanding of the human mind and provides a compelling account of its evolution and functioning.

Who should read How the Mind Works?

  • Readers who are curious about the inner workings of the human mind
  • Individuals interested in psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science
  • People who enjoy thought-provoking explorations of human behavior and consciousness

7
Brain Books: In Search of Memory by Eric R. Kandel

In Search of Memory

Eric R. Kandel

What's In Search of Memory about?

In Search of Memory is a compelling memoir by Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric R. Kandel. Through personal reflections and scientific discoveries, Kandel explores the complexities of memory and recounts his journey to understand the biological basis of this fundamental aspect of our lives. This book offers a fascinating blend of personal narrative and groundbreaking research, providing deep insights into the inner workings of the human mind.

Who should read In Search of Memory?

  • Individuals interested in understanding the complex workings of memory and the brain
  • People seeking insights into the connections between science and personal experience
  • Readers curious about the potential implications of memory research for treating neurological disorders

8
Brain Books: Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan

Dragons of Eden

Carl Sagan

What's Dragons of Eden about?

Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan takes readers on a journey through the evolution of human intelligence. Combining scientific knowledge with captivating storytelling, Sagan explores the origins of our brain, the role of genetics and the impact of culture on our development. This thought-provoking book offers a new perspective on what it means to be human.

Who should read Dragons of Eden?

  • Readers who are curious about the history and future of human intelligence
  • People interested in the intersection of science and philosophy
  • Those who enjoy exploring complex ideas through engaging and accessible writing

9
Brain Books: The Other Brain by R. Douglas Fields

The Other Brain

R. Douglas Fields

What's The Other Brain about?

The Other Brain by R. Douglas Fields delves into the world of glial cells and their profound impact on brain function. With captivating storytelling and cutting-edge research, the book challenges the traditional view that neurons are the sole drivers of brain activity. It explores how glial cells play essential roles in learning, memory, and disease, offering a fascinating glimpse into the complex inner workings of the brain.

Who should read The Other Brain?

  • Anyone interested in understanding the role of glial cells in brain function
  • Neuroscience enthusiasts and students looking to expand their knowledge
  • Individuals with a scientific background who want to explore a different perspective on brain research

10
Brain Books: The Emotional Brain by Joseph Ledoux

The Emotional Brain

Joseph Ledoux

What's The Emotional Brain about?

The Emotional Brain by Joseph Ledoux delves into the complex inner workings of our brains and how they give rise to our emotions. Ledoux explores the latest findings in neuroscience to offer insights into why we feel the way we do, and sheds light on the link between our emotions and our behavior. It's a fascinating and thought-provoking read for anyone interested in understanding the workings of the mind.

Who should read The Emotional Brain?

  • Anyone interested in understanding the neuroscience behind emotions
  • Psychology students or professionals seeking to deepen their knowledge of the emotional brain
  • Readers looking to gain insights into their own emotions and how they influence behavior

11
Brain Books: The Tell-Tale Brain by V. S. Ramachandran

The Tell-Tale Brain

V. S. Ramachandran

What's The Tell-Tale Brain about?

'The Tell-Tale Brain' by V. S. Ramachandran delves into the mysteries of the human brain and explores how it shapes our perceptions, behaviors, and experiences. Through fascinating case studies and scientific insights, the book uncovers the secrets of our brain and offers a deeper understanding of what makes us who we are.

Who should read The Tell-Tale Brain?

  • Individuals curious about the inner workings of the human brain
  • Students and professionals in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, or cognitive science
  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking explorations of the mind and its mysteries

12
Brain Books: Consciousness and the Brain by Stanislas Dehaene

Consciousness and the Brain

Stanislas Dehaene

What's Consciousness and the Brain about?

Consciousness and the Brain by Stanislas Dehaene explores the fascinating relationship between our conscious experiences and the inner workings of the brain. Drawing on research in neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, the book delves into topics such as attention, perception, and self-awareness, offering profound insights into what it means to be conscious.

Who should read Consciousness and the Brain?

  • Individuals with an interest in neuroscience and the human mind
  • People who want to understand the relationship between consciousness and the brain
  • Those who are curious about the latest scientific research on the nature of awareness

13
Brain Books: Connectome by Sebastian Seung

Connectome

Sebastian Seung

What's Connectome about?

Connectome by Sebastian Seung explores the fascinating world of neuroscience and the concept of the connectome, which is a map of all the neural connections in the brain. Through engaging storytelling and scientific research, the book delves into the idea that our individuality and memories are encoded in these intricate networks, offering profound insights into the mysteries of the human mind.

Who should read Connectome?

  • Individuals with a keen interest in brain science and neurology
  • People who are curious about the intricacies of human identity and individuality
  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking explorations of the human mind and its complexities

14
Brain Books: Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas R. Hofstadter

Gödel, Escher, Bach

Douglas R. Hofstadter

What's Gödel, Escher, Bach about?

Gödel, Escher, Bach is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Douglas Hofstadter that explores the interconnectedness of mathematics, art, and music. Through an engaging blend of analogies, puzzles, and thought experiments, Hofstadter delves into the works of mathematician Kurt Gödel, artist M.C. Escher, and composer Johann Sebastian Bach to unravel the mysteries of human cognition and the nature of self-reference.

Who should read Gödel, Escher, Bach?

  • Readers who are curious about the nature of human consciousness and creativity
  • Individuals interested in exploring the intersection of art, music, mathematics, and technology
  • People who enjoy thought-provoking, intellectually stimulating, and mind-expanding literature

15
Brain Books: Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina

Brain Rules for Baby

John Medina

What's Brain Rules for Baby about?

Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina offers practical advice for parents based on the latest scientific research. The book covers topics such as how to raise a smart and happy child, the importance of early attachment, and how to navigate the challenges of modern parenting. With engaging storytelling and clear explanations, it provides valuable insights into child development and offers evidence-based strategies for raising a healthy and thriving child.

Who should read Brain Rules for Baby?

  • Expectant parents looking to understand the science behind early childhood development
  • Parents of young children who want practical tips for raising happy and intelligent kids
  • Anyone interested in the intersection of neuroscience and parenting

16
Brain Books: An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

An Unquiet Mind

Kay Redfield Jamison

What's An Unquiet Mind about?

An Unquiet Mind (1995) is a memoir by Kay Redfield Jamison that offers a personal account of living with bipolar disorder. Jamison, a clinical psychologist, provides a raw and honest portrayal of her own experiences with mania and depression, while also delving into the broader challenges and stigma surrounding mental illness.

Who should read An Unquiet Mind?

  • Individuals who want a deep understanding of bipolar disorder and mental illness
  • Anyone looking for personal insights and experiences with managing mental health challenges
  • People who are interested in the intersection of creativity and mental illness

What's The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind about?

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes explores the fascinating theory that human consciousness as we know it today did not exist in the same way thousands of years ago. Jaynes proposes that early humans operated under a bicameral mind, where one part of the brain "spoke" to the other, leading to a different form of consciousness. This thought-provoking book delves into the evolution of the human mind and challenges our understanding of what it means to be conscious.

Who should read The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind?

  • Individuals interested in the evolution of human consciousness and the mind
  • Psychology enthusiasts looking for a new perspective on how the brain works
  • Readers curious about the intersection of science, philosophy, and anthropology

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