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The Idiot Brain

A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head Is Really Up To

About the Book

The brain may be the seat of consciousness and the engine of all human experience, but it’s also messy, fallible and disorganized. It’s undeniably impressive, but it’s far from perfect, and these imperfections influence everything that humans say, do and experience. In The Idiot Brain, Dean Burnett celebrates the downright laughable things our minds do to us, as well as exposing the fact that people are often way off in their thinking about how the brain works. For example, did you know that

  • your memory is egotistical?
  • stress can actually increase your performance at a task?
  • conspiracy theories and superstitions stem from your brain’s insistence that the world isn’t random?
  • the brain’s limitations mean you really can miss something that’s right under your nose?
  • the way the brain’s processing works means that time really does fly if you’re having fun?
  • alcohol can sometimes improve your memory?

Dean Burnett’s unpredictable and entertaining first book explores the unexpected side of everyday life, highlighting where conventional thinking is wrong and how our brains trip us up at every turn. This is lucid, funny and smart: in short, the best kind of popular science.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“Entertaining . . . offers illuminating discussions of the way the memory works, of fear and panic attacks, of our susceptibility to being conned or depressed, and of the marvels of the human senses.” —Wall Street Journal

“We love a good brain book, and Idiot Brain by Dean Burnett might just be our new favorite.” —Bookish

“Packs an incredible amount of information into an accessible package with this breezy, charming collection of pop neuroscience musings on ‘how the human brain does its own thing despite everything the modern world can throw at it.’” —Publishers Weekly

“Witty and informative . . . [Burnett] piques readers’ interest with some whacky or puzzling behavior and thoughtfully explains the underlying neuroscience.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Expertly researched and entertainingly written, this book is for anyone who has wondered why their brain appears to be sabotaging their life, and what on earth it is really up to.” —Guardian

“This is a wonderful introduction to neuroscience, and deserves to be widely read.” —Independent (UK)

“Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist, is also a massively popular science blogger for The Guardian newspaper. In this funny and fascinating book he takes up-to-date research in neuroscience and adds a good dash of humour to examine how and why our brains sabotage our behaviour.” —Cosmos Magazine

“Compelling and wise and rational. You know you can trust him . . . a great read.” —Jon Ronson, author of The Psycopath Test and So You've Been Publicly Shamed

“If you’ve ever wanted to sit down with a neuroscientist, have a few drinks, ask a zillion questions, and laugh until you snorted, read this book.” —David McRaney, bestselling author of You Are Not So Smart

“An entertaining romp through the science of our mental processes. Full of fascinating insight into the brain and the origins of our crazy behaviour.” —Gaia Vince, author of Adventures in the Anthropocene

“A fun book about the workings of the brain--it is possible.” —De Volskrant

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443450065
  • ISBN 10: 1443450065
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers
  • On Sale: 05/17/2016
  • Pages: 336
  • List Price: 32.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: MEDICAL / Neuroscience
  • BISAC2: MEDICAL / General
  • BISAC3: SCIENCE / General

The Idiot Brain by Dean Burnett

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