When writer's block threatened to interfere with Cass's career as a freelance journalist, he decided the solution would be to learn everything he could about how the brain works. He soon fancies himself an amateur scientist, embarking on a spree of experimentation, self-diagnosing himself with attention deficit disorder and scoring a prescription to Adderall, which helps at first but then starts messing up his mind. As Cass makes clear from the outset, the journalistic enterprise is fraught with emotional turbulence because it forces him to confront his family history, especially his stepfather's manic depression. Yet for all the outward appearances of candor—Cass, a former columnist for GQ and Slate, speaks freely of humiliating childhood experiences as well as of his adult jealousy of more successful writers like Malcolm Gladwell—it still feels like he's holding back. The science elements of the book are also insufficiently developed, especially when writers like Steven Johnson and Daniel Pink have already effectively staked out the genre of first-person guided tours of neuroscience. At times, Cass comes off as genuinely uncomfortable with what his research tells him about his brain and himself, leaving readers wishing he'd pushed harder to get a richer story. (Mar.)
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Dennis Cass has been a journalist for ten years, writing for Harper's, Spin, Mother Jones, and Slate.com. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and son.
Funny, informative and a bit touching. If you enjoy thinking about your own thinking, this book will please.Published 2 months ago by Randall W. Hess
Really wanted to love this book. What a great concept. But put it aside about 1/3 of the way through. Just not very interesting.Published on November 20, 2007 by Aspie Mom
I should have paid more attention to the Publishers Weekly review at the top and not the enthusiastic reader reviews. This is an entertaining book, to be sure. Read morePublished on May 12, 2007 by mikemac9