- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (January 26, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062228854
- ISBN-13: 978-0062228857
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 54 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience Reprint Edition
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“The idea that one skull can house two minds, each with a measure of autonomy, has also given way to the idea that we all have “multiple minds” operating as a “confederation,” according to Gazzaniga. How this system creates a seemingly unified mind . . . remains a compelling question.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Tales will be cataloged as scientific autobiography. . . . But it is as much a book about gratitude—for the chance to study a subject as endlessly fascinating as the brain, for the author’s brilliant colleagues and . . . for the patients who taught him . . . so much.” (Wall Street Journal)
“[A] compelling autobiography . . . Gazzaniga was at the heart of a pivotal research programme and struck up friendships with neuroscience and psychology luminaries. . . . his natural appetite to tell juicy-behind-the-scenes stories is more than welcome.” (Nature)
“One of the fathers of cognitive neuroscience narrates his life’s work in this warm memoir illuminating the birth of the revolutionary split-brain theory . . . Gazzaniga’s tales of decades-long friendships show that science can be a surprisingly social co-creative effort that thrives outside the lab.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“In this fascinating memoir . . . [Gazzaniga’s] warmth and good humor virtually jump off the page. . . . Gazzaniga’s memoir should delight fans of the television series The Big Bang Theory, but it will also have tremendous appeal for non-nerds, too.” (Booklist, Starred Review)
“A fascinating affirmation of our essential humanity.” (Kirkus Reviews)
” . . . A winding tale of a life lived in science and the joys of bringing science to the public. . . . Gazzaniga’s book is of great interest to . . . anyone intrigued by the story of one of the greatest discoveries in cognition.” (Publishers Weekly)
“It is fascinating to read about the stories going on behind the split-brain experiments that don’t make it into the scientific literature. . . . Good for readers who enjoy scientific biographies and anyone interested in neuroscience.” (Library Journal)
“The story of how science works interwoven with the life of a brilliant scientist who not only created an entire new field of inquiry but just happened to live in the Animal House at Dartmouth. A marvelous, exciting adventure, elegantly written.” (Daniel J. Levitin, author of This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession and The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload)
“The personal story of a genius famous for one of the rare major discoveries ever made out in the still vast, still baffling terra incognita of the human brain, namely, the split-brain phenomenon.” (Tom Wolfe, author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Testand The Right Stuff)
From the Back Cover
With a Foreword by Steven Pinker
In Tales from Both Sides of the Brain, Michael S. Gazzaniga tells the story of his passionate, entrepreneurial life in science and his decades-long journey to understand how the separate spheres of our brains communicate and miscommunicate their separate agendas. From his time as an ambitious undergraduate at Dartmouth, as a member of its now famed “Animal House” fraternity, and his life as a diligent graduate student in California to the first experiments he conducted in his own lab; from meeting his first split-brain patients and his collaboration with esteemed intellectuals across disciplines, Gazzaniga recounts the trajectory of his discoveries. In his engaging and accessible style, he paints a vivid portrait not only of his discovery of split-brain theory, but also of his comrades-in-arms—the many patients, friends, and family members who have accompanied him on this wild ride of intellectual discovery.
“The idea that one skull can house two minds, each with a measure of autonomy, has also given way to the idea that we all have ‘multiple minds’ operating as a ‘confederation,’ according to Gazzaniga. How this system creates a seemingly unified mind . . . remains a compelling question.” —New York Times Book Review
“Tales will be cataloged as scientific autobiography. . . . But it is as much a book about gratitude—for the chance to study a subject as endlessly fascinating as the brain, for the author’s brilliant colleagues and . . . for the patients who taught him . . . so much.” —Wall Street Journal
“The personal story of a genius famous for one of the rare major discoveries ever made out in the still vast, still baffling terra incognita of the human brain, namely, the split-brain phenomenon.” —Tom Wolfe, author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Right Stuff
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Michael Gazzaniga has had a distinguished career in neuroscience both working with the pioneers of the subject as well as being a one himself. He started out in graduate school in Caltech where he first did work on split brain subjects. Split brain subjects had the left and right hemispheres severed from one another due to surgery in patients with extreme epilepsy. Our anatomy is such that each hemisphere of the brain (left,right) controls the opposite eye, ear and limbs though there are remnants of control for things like limbs. As a result a split brain patient can be forced to respond to stimuli while using only one side of the brain by carefully constructed experiments. Tales from the brain explores the evolution of the author's career and the experiments and results that he did as a graduate student as well as while he was mentoring his countless graduate students. The author discusses how the brain adapts to a split brain via queuing mechanisms and how there are aspects of brain plasticity as well. He discusses later in the book the results of experiments with partially severed brain hemispheres. The results of all the experiments are fascinating and the unfamiliar reader will consider their concept of self in a new light. We learn that we are not really one person and our narrative of our own life can even be fabricated by our more literary left half. In addition to the scientific results are the author's personal stories about his first homes, his first and second families and his academic life in California and on the East Coast. This is all good context and makes the book very personal but for me given the relative unfamiliarity with his career work, was less interesting
Tales from Both Sides of the Brain gets into some remarkable results from brain science that have been worked on over the last 50 years. Our theory of mind has been modified due to results from neuroscience as well as biology and technology such that we have to look at ourselves in a new and eerie light. Michael Gazzaniga has been at the forefront of this exploration and has the perfect vantage point to retell the story. If one is interested in brain science then this is a gratifying read. This is a very personal book and as such there are parts which will undoubtedly be less interesting to particular readers, such as myself, but all in all lots of interesting material alongside details of a remarkable career.
Don't read this book if you only want to learn about neuroscience (or split brain patients in particular), as Dr. Gazzaniga doesn't spend too many words going over the more technical aspects of his findings (nor those of his famous co-workers along the way). But DO read it if you want to understand the story of how we have come to understand far more about the brain in the last fifty years than in the entirety of history leading up to this golden age of brain science.
Dr. Gazzaniga's contributions to the study of the brain have been indisputably great; in this eloquent and insightful book, he has now made a great contribution to the story of how scientists collaborate to uncover the secrets of the universe.
Most recent customer reviews
A young man known as JW and the few others, had their corpus coliseums surgically severed to control...Read more