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

4.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470376232
ISBN-10: 0470376236
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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.
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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: 2040 KB
  • Print Length: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (August 13, 2009)
  • Publication Date: August 13, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002MZUQ9Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,011 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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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