Today is the first official day of summer and with the sunny season comes summer reading lists! While there is a temptation to hunker down with some serious fluff (romance novel addicts, you know who you are), why not take the opportunity to read some new books from which you may learn something about science?
Below is a list of books recently published by members of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, renowned scientists who are committed to advancing public awareness about the progress and promise of brain research. Most of the books are written for a lay audience and topics range from memoirs to personality to a true story of a patient living with ALS.
Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality, by Patricia S. Churchland, Ph.D., Princeton University Press.
Dr. Churchland addresses the nature and origins of morality. I attended a talk by Dr. Churchland on this topic in March and thought it was very informative.
Brown-Sequard: An Improbable Genius Who Transformed Medicine, by Michael J. Aminoff, M.D., D.Sc., Oxford University Press.
This book “traces the strange career of an eccentric, restless, widely admired, nineteenth-century physician-scientist who eventually came to be scorned by antivivisectionists for his work on animals, by churchgoers who believed that he encouraged licentious behavior, and by other scientists for his unorthodox views and for claims that, in fact, he never made” (Oxford University Press website).
Gib’s Odyssey: A Tale of Faith and Hope on the Intracoastal Waterway, by Walter Bradley, DM, FRCP, Lyons Press.
Dr. Bradley relates the story of one of his patients with ALS who travelled in his powerboat from Key West to New York and back while coping with the obstacles presented by his disease.
Neuroimaging in Epilepsy, by Harry T. Chugani, M.D., Oxford University Press.
“This book discusses every imaging modality used to gather information on epilepsy. Each technique is described by world experts and epilepsy centers worldwide” (Oxford University Press website).
The Playful Brain: The Surprising Science of How Puzzles Improve Your Mind, by Richard Restak, M.D., Riverhead Books.
The book title is pretty self-explanatory. Included in the book are fun puzzles by Scott Kim, a world-renowned puzzle designer.
Coming in August
Alfalfa to Ivy: Memoir of a Harvard Medical School Dean, by Joseph B. Martin, M.D., Ph.D., with a foreword by David H. Hubel, M.D., The University of Alberta Press.
“A memoir of Joseph Boyd Martin that traces his climb from a Mennonite farm in the village of Duchess, Alberta to Dean of Harvard Medical School” (The University of Alberta Press website).
Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality, by Samuel H. Barondes, M.D., FT Press.
“Leading neuroscientist Samuel Barondes shares scientific frameworks and tools for improving your intuitions about people, and sizing them up more consciously, systematically, and successfully. He shows how to use the latest research about personality and character to get along better, choose great friends, decide whom to trust, and avoid narcissists and sociopaths” (FT Press website).
–Ann L. Whitman