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A User's Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain Paperback – January 8, 2002
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Neuroscientists have, in a sense, simply taken over the elite, almost clerical office once held by analysts. The language used to describe the brain is, if anything, more opaque than any of the old psychoanalytic terminology, which was itself so obscure that only trained professionals could wade through the literature. Most people never even bother to learn such terminology, deeming that, like the language of the computer scientists of the early 1970s, it is better left to the nerds.Determined to help us overcome our sense of helplessness in matters cranial, Ratey has shown that we can understand ourselves better and can learn quite a bit from the nerds. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a report on a revolution taking place in neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology and kindred disciplines. The old paradigms are crumbling under the onslaught of a new understanding of how the brain really works. Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John J. Ratey's "guide" (it's more than that) is an admirable exercise in bringing us up to date on what is happening in brain science--what we suspect, what we know, and how this knowledge is affecting clinical practice.
In a sense Ratey's book is a report on a new paradigm. It is biology-based and relies first and foremost on the physiology of the brain and body as they have developed over time. Gone are the artificial constructs of Freudian psychology and the very limited black-box psychology of behaviorism. The new psychology is based on opening that black box and looking inside. Of course what we find there is enormously complex, and we are, to use Ratey's expression (p. 124), "still on the first step of a very long staircase." Yet, because of the growing power of neuroscience to study and access the living brain in ways that were impossible just a few years ago, we are entering an exciting time, full of hope and wonder.
As Dr. Ratey explains in "Acknowledgments," this book began as a cooperative research effort by many people toward writing a "primer on the brain for mental health professionals." Then it was suggested by Pantheon editor Linda Healey that a smaller version "that would try to instruct the public at large" be written. A professional science writer, Mark Fischetti, was hired and schooled.Read more ›
January 1, 2001 marked the end of 'The Decade of the Brain' -- ten years of brain-based research focusing upon neuroscience, neuroanatomy, neurophenomenology, psychopharmacology, psychiatry and neural functioning. While this massive undertaking has been somewhat overshadowed by even more massive investigations of the human genome, it is likely that advances from brain research will have a greater impact on your life and your health. Dr. John Ratey, a Harvard Medical School professor and author or co-author of other well received previous books on neuropsychiatric conditions (eg, 'Driven to Distraction'), explains why and how, and in language that you can read even if you didn't study biology in college. Yet he never speaks down to the reader -- I am a professional medical educator myself, and I am sufficiently impressed by the breadth and depth of this book that I will recommend it to my students and colleagues. Growing knowledge about the brain is transforming our understanding of ourselves and our world, and Dr. Ratey is able to convey this information to the reader through lively descriptions and stories and through enlightening clinical vignettes.
The book is organized in a manner that is straightforward and incremental.Read more ›
These characters, their stories and Ratey's style of writing are what make the book work. Let's face it: for such a dynamic organ, most of the books written about the brain tend to be better at curing insomnia than at providing useable information. "I have decided," writes Ratey in the introduction, "that I will have to replace much of the technical language about the brain with a language more akin to what the brain itself uses." Ratey should be commended for his ability to translate. The book is still full of technical information, presented in analogies and metaphores that are easily understood. Personal stories provide a very human feel.
Ratey divides the brain into four theatres: Perception, Attention/Consciousness, Function, and Identity/Behavior. Each of these are explained and illustrated, with attention given to each areas specialty. Most interesting is his pairing of Attention and Consciousness. According to Ratey, these two are intertwined and may actually be the same thing. This is remarkable because we don't know that much about consciousness, yet understanding it is essential to understanding ourselves. "After all," Ratey says, "without consciousness little else that the brain could do would matter."
As a person with ADHD, I found this link between consciousness and attention very interesting. As I learned more about my brain, I realized that I was learning much more about myself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is an interesting read to anyone wanting to learn more about how their brain works without being overwhelmed by terminology. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Caroline North
What an excellent book. A "normal" person can understand this book. Although, I will have to read it more than once!Published 3 months ago by Mike B
A need to read book that helps why we do what we do and how to change things we don't like about ourselves!!!!!Published 11 months ago by Christine Letizia
Fantastic introductory book to fundamental concepts of neuroscience, filled with anecdotes and offers a concise understanding of the topic. Organization is excellent, as well.Published 13 months ago by K. J. Reed
Excellent read. Not a self help book. But anyone who has a deep interest in neuroscience would enjoy reading and mulling over the concepts that Dr Ratey talks about. Read morePublished 15 months ago by deepmoon
It is a very difficult read even for someone who had a career in medicine I would not buy again and what I have read I do not agree with...information is way too old...Published 16 months ago by magic
Very interesting and informative for those who are interested in brain functions and how they affect your daily routine.Published 17 months ago by Patricia M. Aaker