Head Case and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.99
  • Save: $1.94 (13%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Head Case: How I Almost L... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by Gifts In Motion
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A copy that has been read, but remains in excellent condition.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Head Case: How I Almost Lost My Mind Trying to Understand My Brain Paperback – March 11, 2008


See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, March 11, 2008
$13.05
$1.98 $0.01
Best%20Books%20of%202014
$13.05 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

Head Case: How I Almost Lost My Mind Trying to Understand My Brain + Jesus Sound Explosion
Price for both: $29.43

Buy the selected items together

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 61%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (March 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006059473X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060594732
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,712,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

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.


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

All the great elements of prose are herewith: tension, drama, release, comedy.
Susan Hamerski
It's nice to leave your brain behind and get inside someone else's for a short time.
AaronPaul
I give the book five stars because I enjoyed reading it despite a bad head cold.
Max Rottersman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey A. Johnson on May 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
[Full disclosure preamble: I used to work as a magazine editor, and Dennis Cass wrote for me. Some of what he wrote won awards. He's a pro. And a good guy to boot.] What's great about this book is that it messes with your expectations. You start out thinking it's a science book, and then you find yourself in memoir territory. But not icky, treacly, nobody-knows-the-trouble-I've-seen memoir; this one has a deep undercurrent of humor, despite the fact that some pretty unpleasant things go on. The science book doesn't go away--it gets augmented with the memoir. And then another section of the orchestra fires up, and it becomes a great book about writing, too. In an age when books are so often group-concocted like junior-high science projects and "branded" like candy bars or khaki pants, Head Case is a throwback to a time when you read a book because you wanted to connect with another mind.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Max Rottersman on March 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When Cass says science isn't his thing, he's not speaking from false modesty. Fortunately, he keeps the science talk to a minimum (or leaves it to the likes of Malcom Gladwell). I give the book five stars because I enjoyed reading it despite a bad head cold. If you have anyone in your family with an addiction or mental illness this book will answer the question, "what would you find if you tried to understand that person through the latest in neuroscience?" Cass doesn't find any real answers, of course, but his journey is written with honesty and courage. That courage, to explore his fears, and expose the number of drinks and pills he has taken, makes him seem a mere mortal compared to Gladwell. But he should know it takes all kinds of authors to cover our collective head cases.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Susan Hamerski on May 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you want a victim-pitty-me memoir...don't read this book. But if you want to learn about what you should have been paying attention to in under-grad biology...read this book. If you'd like to laugh...hard and long from the warmth of self or near-self recognition...read this book. If you want to be glad to get inside someone else's very-smart head and heart, and find yourself the better for it, read this book. Then share it with someone you care about. Both of you will be the better for it. All the great elements of prose are herewith: tension, drama, release, comedy. It will remain on my shelf, with another copy bought and left with fly-leaf endorsements on the bookshelf of my favorite coffee house.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Schultz VINE VOICE on July 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a very loosely organized mix of intimate biographical detail and presumed reports from the field of brain function research. Unfortunately, the resultant pottage is rather seriously undercooked, so the reader just gets lumps of ingredients that fail to flavor or inform each other.

Cass talks a lot about his stepfather's eccentricities, drug problems, and probable bouts of manic-depression. The imbalance all this parental dysfunction brought to Cass' youth served as one of the primary spurs for Cass' adult investigation into the workings of the mind/brain and for this book. However, Cass just doesn't do a good enough job relating the two. After describing a particularly egregious lapse on the part of his stepfather, Cass proceeds to speculate somewhere down the line about whether such social insensitivity might have been caused by a defect in his Dad's amygdala. That's a pretty big bounce on the trampoline.

The reader is sent into further unfueled take-offs by Cass' own experiments in mental states. For example, he tries to test his tolerance for stress by keeping his arm immersed in ice water. Then he brings a picture of TV commentator Bill Maher to one of his interviews with a brain researcher to try to find out why Maher's face so frightens and frustrates him. Much of this book is just such childish brain chatter.

I did keep reading, mostly out of a sort of voyeuristic interest in what Cass' stepfather would do next. However, I really didn't learn much about the brain here, outside of the one more precise chapter that describes how the amygdala can register and "wire" fear even when we are not conscious of having been frightened. This chapter provides a possible explanation for the waves of panic experienced by people with anxiety disorders.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Sandham on May 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Head Case" is very unique...sort of a combination of a memoir and a book about neuroscience (or at least the quest to understand neuroscience). Mr. Cass has a wonderful sense of humor...I laughed out loud on several occasions...it was a much funnier book than I thought it would be. In particular, I found his musings about Bill Maher very sharp and comical...I've had the same thoughts and feelings about Mr. Maher myself. I also really liked his depiction of his mentally ill stepfather and the time they spent as a family living in New York. I thought it was very apt portrayal of living with someone who has major psychiatric problems. While the book is a little bit scattered, I think that that actually adds to it's charm...it's not a predictable read. Anyone who has any interest in the brain or mental illness or who appreciates quirky, intelligent humor will like this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again