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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neuroscience classic
I read this book in medical school. Although I would agree that it is probably to basic science oriented for a medical school neuroscience course, it was enjoyable, thorough, and inspirational. There are few books in my life that took as complex a topic as how the brain works and made it comprehensible. It is not a crib sheet for passing medical school exams. It is...
Published on January 12, 2000 by Kenneth J. Garcia

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80 of 100 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars keep looking
As a neuroscience graduate student, I was extremely excited to read this book and to keep it as a reference but unfortunately, it did not meet my expectations for either task. Given Kandel's outstanding contributions to our understanding of learning, I hoped his book would have similar standards. Most notable of several flaws is that the individual chapters, each being...
Published on December 11, 1999 by brian j piper


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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neuroscience classic, January 12, 2000
By 
Kenneth J. Garcia "Jazz Is ..." (Baltimore, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Principles of Neural Science (Hardcover)
I read this book in medical school. Although I would agree that it is probably to basic science oriented for a medical school neuroscience course, it was enjoyable, thorough, and inspirational. There are few books in my life that took as complex a topic as how the brain works and made it comprehensible. It is not a crib sheet for passing medical school exams. It is the first book I would recommend for anyone seriously interested in an understanding of the brain, sensory processes, etc... For anyone for whom a fundamental grounding in neuroscience is important this is the book.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An improvement over previous editions., November 25, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Principles of Neural Science (Hardcover)
While this book (in this and previous incarnations) has been hailed as the "bible" of neuroscience, there are some flaws the potential reader should be made aware of. The first batch of chapters dealing with the machinery of the cell are repetitive in terms of their respective contents. Some judicious editing would have been nice in this section. Although the writing style improves in subsequent chapters, those dealing with the molecular biology of the neuron could be a little clearer. Levitan and Kaczmarek's "The Neuron" could be used to either introduce or supplement these chapters. The illustrations throughout are a major improvement over the last edition's over-use of black and white stick figures. While it is a very good teaching text for the money, check your university bookstore or library for other neuroscience texts which might give a clearer functional overview. In the long gap between this edition and the last a number of good graduate level texts have arisen to fill the need.
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162 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introductory & Intermediate Neurosciences, June 10, 2004
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This review is from: Principles of Neural Science (Hardcover)
I used this in medical school, then graduate school, finding the length and quality improve with succeeding editions of the volume. Very well known chapter editors create a 'Scientific American-like' view of the Basic Neurosciences. This book is grossly inadequate if you want to pass medical and graduate school exams. It's like a "candy-coated" atlas of neuroscience. There are not many rigorous equations to learn in the book. For that you will need From Neuron to Brain or even a higher book such as Theoretical Neuroscience. The strength of this book is the beautiful color illustrations. Its weakness is that it does not cover "hard-core" electrophysiology. Ohm's Law and the cable theory of the squid giant axon are covered, but where is Heisenberg-James' Theory of the quantum vesicle exocytosis, 'HJ' Theory of the Mind, and Boolean algebra. No mention of these ideas. You would have to go to Sir John Eccles' The Self & Control of its Brain, as well as Henry Stapps Mind, Brain, & Quantum Mechanics for further expansion on such theories. Also, where is Bayes Theorem and a discussion of probabilistic Populations of Neurons. Entropy is not discussed. A useful reference is Information Theory & the Brain by Baddeley for this. Ballistic, and Biofeedback are not discussed. Refer to Roger Carpenters' Movements of the Eyes & Neurophysiology 4th ed. Magnetic Stimulation and fMRI are alluded to but not incorporated as valid tools in the study of the Nervous System. Alan Kingstone with UBC, Vancouver, Canada has written a good reference on this. I have not really used this book since graduate school. This text is a very good overview of Neuroscience ranging from cell biology of neurons, ion channel physiology, to Movement Control, to Cognition & Memory. Phenomena like LTP & LTD have their own individual chapters. I still own this book and will keep it as a nice reference even though I do not refer much to it in my daily work.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential text, August 15, 2000
By 
Ruth (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Principles of Neural Science (Hardcover)
This text (or perhaps an earlier edition) was a lifeline for me for many years as a undergraduate and postgraduate student of psychology (with semester units in neurophysiology and neuroanatomy). It was completely perfect in that it covers the fundamentals of neuroscience in slightly more detail than one needs (unlike most textbooks which always seem to do everything in slightly less detail). Just like you always feel that you have to be clutching a calculator when you're studying physics, so you need this for any kind of neural science studying. It has clear, lavish pictures and everything is thorough and easy to understand.
And, oh boy, what a Book! You really feel that you've got something for your money. It's hefty, it's intellectual, and it looks damned good on the bookshelves. The paper is glossy, everything's set out well, and you feel good every time you refer to it.
When I was a student, my general principle was to BUY NO TEXTBOOKS, and this one was very expensive for me at the time, but it was worth it. Probably the most valuable book I had in all my 8 years of formal studying. It contained everything I needed in terms of information on this topic, and on the rare occasions when I had to go further into something, there were very useful references at the end of every chapter.
I strongly recommend it. You'll use it for years, and when it's time to move on, it'll be easy to sell.
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53 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For a required textbook not bad, as reference not organized!, June 2, 2000
This review is from: Principles of Neural Science (Hardcover)
The University of Pittsburgh Neuroscience department uses this book as one of it's main textbooks. It is an interesting book, and one that I've used for years. This edition is in keeping with the other editions of the book, meaning, it is just as disorganized by chapters and topics as it always was. Even though many of the individual chapters are well-written and interesting, I get the feeling the whole thing was thrown together as fast as they could get it out. Many times when I am looking up information, I can't even go to a specific chapter and be sure I'll find it there...I have to use the index in the back of the book. That is okay, but it is time-consuming and I think that students and educators would be better served if the book were more carefully organized. It should be remembered that writing a book for Neuroscience is difficult at best, because the information changes at least every three months...so by the time a textbook gets to print, some of what they have said is already out of date. Karen Sadler, Science Education, University of Pittsburgh, klsst23@pitt.edu
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80 of 100 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars keep looking, December 11, 1999
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This review is from: Principles of Neural Science (Hardcover)
As a neuroscience graduate student, I was extremely excited to read this book and to keep it as a reference but unfortunately, it did not meet my expectations for either task. Given Kandel's outstanding contributions to our understanding of learning, I hoped his book would have similar standards. Most notable of several flaws is that the individual chapters, each being individually authored, were poorly edited and did not provide an integrated picture of the field. Further, some graphs were mislabeled, and in several chapters, this text engaged in the annoying practice of introducing and using new terminology early on and then defining this jargon at the end of the chapter. The material on vision was thorough but audition and the vestibulochlear systems were very skimpy. If you are interested in learning anything about motor systems, I'd recommend you pass this book up for Michael Zigmond's Fundamentals of Neuroscience.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unless you are into behavioral neuroscience keep looking, November 6, 2007
This review is from: Principles of Neural Science (Hardcover)
Kandel is an outstanding Nobel laureate. Unfortunately, his capabilities as a writer don't match his capabilities as a researcher.

Now, I am a medical student, and used this book for neurophysiology. The book is big and blabby, in that concepts aren't very clear and they sure aren't summarized. There is a lot of material pertaining to experiments on animals (mainly rats, cats, and monkeys) which are then generalized to humans, following the classical behavioral and developmental neuroscience models.

If you need or expect to deepen your understanding of molecular and cognitive neuroscience by using this book, run away. Furthermore, when it comes to the specific topics, the sensory system and apparatuses are done very well, but this is not the case for the motor system (very very very confused!), let alone the so called "superior functions" (cognitive functions are described poorly, with a pour-pourri of "maybe this" and "maybe that"). It's also a good starter for CNS ion channels, but as I said it's just a starter.

If you are a medical student, read the sensory system and do the rest elsewhere. If you are a cognitive or molecular neuroscientist, just run. If you are a behavioral neuroscientist, this might be a good intro to the topic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the new version (5th), May 8, 2009
By 
S. Lim (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed this book because it was written by luminaries of the field, such as Kandel, Jessell, and Schwartz.
(If you do not recognize those names, just know that they are famous neuroscientists)

As an introductory textbook, it might be a little bit overwhelming, but it is very useful if you just want to read about something a little bit more specific, such as audition (which was, incidentally, written by AJ Hudspeth- another luminary in the field of neuroscience).

My complaints with the book are as follows:
1. Outdated- it has been nearly 10 years since it was last published; needless to say, a lot of new facts have been discovered. I would wait for the new version, which is due in 2010.
2. Not very well organized.
3. It seems to be a little bit geared towards medical students.

Overall, every neuroscientist should probably have a copy on his shelf and it might be worth it for med students as well.
However, most undergrads will probably find it too dense and interested laypersons will not find it useful.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complete overview of the field, June 7, 2005
By 
M. Davis (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Principles of Neural Science (Hardcover)
I am an undergraduate neuroscience major. I chose Principles Of Neural Science on my own, because I wanted a higher-level text than the course required. The textbook provides a good overview of the many different aspects of neuroscience, from synaptic transmission to perception to development. It is easy-to-read, not dense like some textbooks. I find it especially helpful to read a chapter of the text before attempting to dive into a research article. My only criticism is that it refers to material from other chapters as though it should already be learned, as though the book is meant to be read in order and not used as a reference. With 63 chapters, I am not sure this is appropriate. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this text.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of neurobiology, November 26, 2000
By 
Howard Schneider (Thornhill, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Principles of Neural Science (Hardcover)
This book provides a comprehensive overview of neurobiology. While it originated as 65 lectures given by faculty at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, it is very readable, and may be suitable for the motivated general reader.
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Principles of Neural Science
Principles of Neural Science by Thomas Jessell (Hardcover - January 5, 2000)
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