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The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain: A 24 hour Journal of What's Happening in Your Brain as you Sleep, Dream, Wake Up, Eat, Work, Play, ... Make Important Decisions, Age and Change [Kindle Edition]

Judith Horstman , Scientific American
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Have you ever wondered what’s happening in your brain as you go through a typical day and night? This fascinating book presents an hour-by-hour round-the-clock journal of your brain’s activities. Drawing on the treasure trove of information from Scientific American and Scientific American Mind magazines as well as original material written specifically for this book, Judith Horstman weaves together a compelling description of your brain at work and at play.

The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain reveals what’s going on in there while you sleep and dream, how your brain makes memories and forms addictions and why we sometimes make bad decisions. The book also offers intriguing information about your emotional brain, and what’s happening when you’re feeling love, lust, fear and anxiety—and how sex, drugs and rock and roll tickle the same spots.

Based on the latest scientific information, the book explores your brain’s remarkable ability to change, how your brain can make new neurons even into old age and why multitasking may be bad for you.

Your brain is uniquely yours – but research is showing many of its day-to-day cycles are universal. This book gives you a look inside your brain and some insights into why you may feel and act as you do.

The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain is written in the entertaining, informative and easy-to-understand style that fans of Scientific American and Scientific American Mind magazine have come to expect.


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this thorough health and science overview, journalist Horstman (Overcoming Arthritis) reviews a full day of brainwork by accounting for the mental processes of everyday activities, arranged by hour, beginning with 5 a.m. and "coming to consciousness." Fascinatingly, Horstman shows how, as hormone and neurotransmitter levels change throughout the day, there may be an optimal time for everything. Moving through the workday, Horstman discusses stress, decision-making, hunger and fatigue, ADHD and more, before returning home to cover music, humor, sex, fear and sleep. Horstman's lively prose is packed with useful information: meditation increases attention while delaying aging; brain exercise and a strong social network decrease the odds of developing dementia; diet can quell morning crabbiness, increase afternoon focus, and promote sleep. Multitasking, as Horstman explains, is less like an efficient model of problem solving and more like channel-surfing; stress, she says, "may be the single worst thing your brain does to your heart." Information-packed and fully referenced, this Scientific American publication is perfect for anyone with interest in mind/body interaction, mental health or aging.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

In this thorough health and science overview, journalist Horstman (Overcoming Arthritis) reviews a full day of brainwork by accounting for the mental processes of everyday activities, arranged by hour, beginning with 5 a.m. and “coming to consciousness.” Fascinatingly, Horstman shows how, as hormone and neurotransmitter levels change throughout the day, there may be an optimal time for everything. Moving through the workday, Horstman discusses stress, decision-making, hunger and fatigue, ADHD and more, before returning home to cover music, humor, sex, fear and sleep. Horstman's lively prose is packed with useful information: meditation increases attention while delaying aging; brain exercise and a strong social network decrease the odds of developing dementia; diet can quell morning crabbiness, increase afternoon focus, and promote sleep. Multitasking, as Horstman explains, is less like an efficient model of problem solving and more like channel-surfing; stress, she says, “may be the single worst thing your brain does to your heart.” Information-packed and fully referenced, this Scientific American publication is perfect for anyone with interest in mind/body interaction, mental health or aging. (PublishersWeekly.com, August 24, 2009)

STARRED REVIEW
Drawing on neurology articles from Scientific American and Scientific American Mind, science journalist Horstman creates a seamless and fascinating look at our brain's functioning throughout the day, adeptly noting cycles and processes that may occur by mentioning them in a time context that makes sense. Beginning her exploration at 5 a.m., when the brain begins to return to consciousness, she bases the chapters on each hour in a 24-hour period and groups hours into sections related to typical activities, such as "Winding Down" from 9 p.m. to midnight. She examines how and when other bodily processes and functions, such as hunger, impact the ...


Product Details

  • File Size: 1179 KB
  • Print Length: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (August 13, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002MZUQ9Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #462,755 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Reason Behind the Rhyme August 29, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Thank you Judith Horstman for doing the impossible. You took these mysterious creatures called humans and explained what is really going on behind the scenes in the brain hour by hour, seemingly random emotion by random emotion. You showed in scientific terms that there is a reason behind the daily rhyme. My afternoon mocha cravings are based on my hormonal cycles. My tendency to forget what I needed at the grocery store is because of changes in my neurotransmitters after age 40. Best of all, you gave me the practical tools for making the most of my potential brain functioning by scheduling appropriately, relieving stress and focusing on the possible. This well-researched book moves beyond pop-science to applied research.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars diary for my mind and yours September 10, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
this book strikes a marvelous balance between medical research and popular curiosity, satisfying both the lay person and the professional. it can surely be equally at home on the bookshelf of a physician or a housewife. it's comprehensive, but VERY digestible. the organization is quite clever, and it's written in an extremely readable style - it just whizzes along, and I gleaned a great deal along the way: about brain chemistry, up-to-date research in neuro-transmission, the inner workings of brain functions in the most ordinary of activities. it offers a great way to UNDERSTAND! I highly recommend this.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The book is great, but... October 16, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
...I have the Kindle edition, and it needs some finessing. A few paragraghs appear incorrectly on the Kindle screen, and one page is extremely tiny type that will not enlarge with the Kindle; I mean so tiny there is no way I could read it, even with a magnifying glass! Now I'm wishing I'd ordered the actual book.

As for the book itself, it's interesting, engaging, informative, and a relaxing read. The subject matter is fascinating, and this book simplifies for the layperson. That's just what I was looking for: a book about the workings of the brain that I could understand and enjoy without first attending medical school.

I recommend this book, but I'd say get the book itself and buy something else for your Kindle.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brainy, sharp and crystal clear October 8, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Ask any reader of health journalism what their most common complaint would be and they would undoubtedly say: "The issue is too complex and the writer didn't make it any easier for me."

This book is marvelous because it successfully walks that tightrope between scientific reporting and crystal clarity. Horstman takes on a complicated subject and explains it both thoroughly and clearly.

If you've ever been confused by the difference between your hippocampus and amydgala (aren't we all?) this book answers those questions with intelligence, wit and panache. It spans the complicated physical and chemical makeup of our brains as well as the human emotions and actions they spur.

This is a wide-ranging book that both neuroscientists and regular folks can enjoy. As a fellow health reporter I stand in steadfast admiration at this achievement.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain November 23, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Judith Horstman's book Day in the Life of Your Brain is front and center in my collection of books on the "isness" of things - Why is things as they is? The author, an award winning journalist, understands the tentative nature of science, which is very important to us science folk. In addition, she writes with a charm that commonly brought a smile to my lips which is also important.
The very first chapter answered a question I had been pondering for almost 50 years. While in college, I was living with my gravely ill grandmother. I was both amazed and puzzled that I would perceive her distress while in a sound sleep, become instantly awake and functioning to assist her. It turns out our brain "has an app for that". It is called the RAS and is part of the more primitive area of our brain and originally evolved to detect the sound of a leopard's claws on the trunk of the tree where our ancestors fled for night safety. Mothers of newborns are familiar with this capability. I highly recommend this book to all who are even remotely interested in how their brain works. I also found it an easy yet substantive read. (A neat trick.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and Mesmerizing September 29, 2009
A Kid's Review
Format:Hardcover
As a therapist I have attended many, many lectures by world-class neuroscientists. Never has the operation of the brain been so clear.

Judith Horstman has written a totally readable and memorable book about what your brain is up to on a 24-hour basis. It is a real page turner as the reader learns all the crazy stuff that goes on in your brain at different hours of the day, much of it completely out of our awareness. As a therapist, this is an invaluable learning and teaching tool.

Robin MacDonald
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This is an interesting, easy to read book about various aspects of the brain. The idea of using the daily clock as a way to discuss the brain is effective. Where this book does not measure up is in two respects: overly chatty and inadequate graphics. When I read a Scientific American book, I am looking for an effective, readable presentation of facts, theories, and supporting studies and experiments. While the author is a very good writer, her style is a bit too breezy for the technical nature of the subject. Disstinguishing between fact, theory, and conjecture was difficult in a fair number of cases. The major failing in the book, however, was the paucity of illustrations and lack of their integration with the text. All of the illustrations were gathered in one chapter that came fairly late in the book (page 110 of 194 pages of text, "5 p.m. The Dimming of the Day"). Anatomical parts and systems of the brain were referenced in essentially every chapter; yet no simple diagrams of the brain were conveniently provided nearby to tie together the various terms. For example, in the first two pages of the chapter starting on page 14 ("5 a.m. Waking to the World"), the author discusses the following parts or systems of the brain: reticular activating system, thalmus, cerbral cortex, locus coeruleus, suprachiasmatic nucleus, and amygdala. I could not find any reference in those two pages to figures showing those parts or systems. If you go to the gathered illustrations much later in the book, you can, by carefully scanning several of the illustrations, find most but not all of those parts and systems. However, in the many other Scientific American books I have read, the illustrations and the text were much more closely integrated to promote understanding. This book is simply not up the the normal standards of a Scientific American book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars From Dawn to Dusk With Your Brain
`Day in the Life of Your Brain' is written in an hour by hour format by journalist Judith Horstman, an award-winning journalist who is known for her work in health and medicine. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Hannah
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and intriguing
A quite straightforward and interesting book that helps one understanding the inner workings of your brain throughout the 24 hour day. Very interesting and well written. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Sassan31
5.0 out of 5 stars scientific american always the best
This book is very informative in a easy read fashion as has always been anything I have read from scientific American magazine. Read more
Published 23 months ago by rvector1
5.0 out of 5 stars Get This Book!
What a well written book- factual and interesting! Just what we seniors need to understand this important subject! I suggest you get several as gifts for friends. Read more
Published on June 18, 2012 by Cristie
4.0 out of 5 stars Daily Function of Your Brain
The goal for this review is to provide any potential readers of the novel with a detailed synopsis about the organization and material in Judith Horstman's "The Scientific American... Read more
Published on October 14, 2010 by Nolan Ivie
5.0 out of 5 stars Brain Pater.....
A day in the life of my brain--what an amazing journal! I have the kindle version and, as needed, I can look up some of the terminology (mostly new brain parts or old parts I'm... Read more
Published on September 25, 2010 by Llyn'sPen
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice to know
I really enjoyed this book. It's not that hard to understand and is current with all of it's information. The ontology of thought has always been one of my major questions. Read more
Published on July 20, 2010 by Derrick
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future of Your Brain
Research on the human brain is yielding information at a logarithmic pace. Artificial retinas are helping some blind people see and cochlear implants helping some deaf people hear. Read more
Published on July 3, 2010 by Dr. Michael Brickey
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Read!
This book is a fascinating, entertaining read! You'll learn how emotion, memory and consciousness function; how you make decisions; the role the brain plays in addiction; how... Read more
Published on February 15, 2010 by Cindy Bailey
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book To Read For Emotional Intelligence and Leadership...
I conduct a three-day program on Emotional Intelligence for the Asian Region. I have been accredited by Hay Group to conduct the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI)... Read more
Published on December 29, 2009 by Uem Group Berhad, Jalil
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More About the Author



Judith Horstman is an award-winning journalist who writes about health and medicine. She has been a Washington correspondent, a journalism professor, a Fulbright scholar, and has written and edited in just about any medium including newspapers, newsletters, special health publications, radio, video, the Internet, annual reports and books.

Over the past four years she has written four popular neuroscience books in collaboration with Scientific American:
"The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain"(2009)
"The Scientific American Brave New Brain" (2010)
"The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex and the Brain"(2011)
"The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain (May 2012)

She and her aging brain live in California near her children and grandchildren, and travel as widely and often as possible. She is a frequent public speaker and a writing coach and is available for interviews, talks and workshops. Email her at info@judithhorstman.com

More about author and educator Judith Horstman:
Her journalism career spans 40 years, from a small-town newspaper, The Ithaca Journal, to USA Today and Gannett News Service in Washington, D.C. In 1986, she was awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT. From 1988 to 1994, she taught journalism at Keene (N.H.) State College, Oregon State University, Santa Clara (Calif.) University, and in Budapest, Hungary, where she was awarded back-to-back Fulbrights to set up the American Journalism Center and lecture at universities throughout Eastern Europe. While living in Hungary, she wrote the text to a book of photographs by Pulitzer-prize winning photographer Tamás Révész, "Open Air." (http://www.revesz.net/americanwest.html)

She has edited health articles and books for TIME Inc. Health, including "Dr Koop's Self Care Advisor," worked as an editor and writer for the Stanford University Medical Center News Office, and written for the Harvard Heath Letter and Johns Hopkins' White Papers. She was a consultant and editor for a website dedicated to ALS (amytrophic lateral sclerosis) that she helped establish; and contributed as an editor, consultant and writer to a website on lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE).

Ms. Horstman has practiced meditation and yoga for more than 40 years, and is known for her expertise in describing complementary therapies. For many years she was a contributing editor for Arthritis Today, the magazine of the Arthritis Foundation, for which she wrote the well-regarded book, "The Arthritis Foundation's Guide to Alternative Therapies." She has been a Tai Chi student of Dr. Paul Lam, who is the co-author of "Overcoming Arthritis," a 2002 book on complementary therapies and Tai Chi for arthritis. (http://www.taichiproductions.com/secureshop/product.php?ProductID=252)

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