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What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life Paperback – March 22, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Adult/High School—Gilbert, a psychologist concerned with the aromatic side of life, is a marvelous storyteller. Weaving together all that is involved in human anatomical smell function, the connecting wires between smell and emotional life, comparative data revealing differences and likenesses between men and women and dogs and humans, the invention and production of artificial scents, and more, he leads readers from tales that amaze to facts that amuse, interspersing opportunities for unabashed wonder. Would the entertainment world be different today if Smell-O-Vision hadn't been beat to market by AromaRama? Would your sense of smell be better if you hadn't played soccer as a kid? Are there good vocational choices for folks who can't smell well at all? The author's prose is flawless, making this book a perfect choice for teens interested in science as well as those still nursing a middle school devotion to trivia. Be sure to point it out to Advanced Placement teachers in both the English and physical sciences departments, but expect less-motivated readers to find chunks of it welcome when read aloud.—Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Finalist for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize inScience and Technology. Shortlisted for the Royal Society Prize for ScienceBooks.
"[S]mart, eminently readable. . . . a lighthearted book,packed with curious tidbits."
-New York Observer
"[A]n entertaining romp through the science of smell."
"Avery Gilbert is the David Sedaris of the nostril, the MarkTwain of the nasal passages."
-JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)
"Avery Gilbert's whistle-stop journey . . . through, aroundand inside the nose is remarkably entertaining, and a great read for anyoneseeking a tour that awakens the senses. Everybody who is anybody in the worldof scent, and a few impostors too, make an appearance as we bounce from chapterto chapter, learning diverse olfactory gems."
"[A] great deal of fun. . . . What the Nose Knows provides awell-researched, even scholarly, compendium of olfactory facts and fallacies,woven into an enticing history of the uses and misuses of scent. Having dugthrough what one can imagine must have been some very moldy smelling archives,Gilbert presents a wide-ranging yet deep look at what our 'noses knowses.'"
-Mandy Aftel, author of Essence and Alchemy, Aroma, andScents and Sensibilities
"[A] great book on an overlooked topic. . . . Gilbertcombines a scientist's sense of wonder, a scent-making professional'ssensibility, and a slightly Beavis and Butt-Head-like fascination with aroma."
-Peter Dykstra, CNN Science, SciTechBlog
"The volume is almost a guilty pleasure (since smell jokesare generally vulgar), hence one of the best kinds of book. Besides itsentertainment value, it is also genuinely informative. . . . Gilbert quips likea stand-up comic throughout but never lets humor trump solid, research-basedinformation, which is nothing to sniff at."
"A scientist tells us entertaining things about odors bothpleasant and foul. Olfactory researcher and psychologist Gilbert asks a dozenquestions in no particular order and then answers them--often with 'we don'tknow,' but always with enthusiasm and wit. . . . A beguiling account of thecritical role smell plays in our lives."
-Kirkus, starred review
"Psychologist and smell scientist Gilbert's serious scienceis enlivened by a whimsical sense of humor. . . . Gilbert is an entertainingguide and worth sniffing around with."
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Top customer reviews
Some aspects of the hard science are skimped. He does not exactly explain what Buck and Axel got the Nobel Prize for. There is almost nothing about neuroanatomy and there are no tables or illustrations, although there are ample references. Someone with a serious interest in the field might want also to read Chapter 34 by Dodd and Carellucci, in Kandel's ""Principles of Neuroscience."
The fundamental difference between the way the brain deals with smell and other sensations is only touched on in a quotation (a very apposite quotation) from Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1858. Pheromones are not in the index.
The central puzzle is why we human beings have lost so much of our sense of smell. Gilbert's main answer is to insist that we haven't lost as much as we think. That is one aspect of the problem. It's especially important as a problem because of the strange way humans, especially males, select preferred sex objects. Humans have all the brain structures in place to be sexually motivated by smell, as are the other apes, but this ability got hi-jacked by vision somewhere along the evolutionary way.