The brain is a fascinating organ: some say it’s the seat of the soul, some think it’s more like a microprocessor, and others think of it as the motor of consciousness. This month, Mechanics’ Institute staff select books on the mind, the brain, and consciousness – the whys and wherefores of self-awareness.
Chris selects Moonwalking with Einstein : the art and science of remembering everything (153.14 F654) by Joshua Foer.
A tour through mnemonics by way of memory competitions, narrated by a journalist turned participant. Describing the techniques of the trade, we are guided through memory palaces, high school class rooms, and the USA Memory Championship, among others. A colorful, readable and insightful look into the human mind.
Heather selects Phi : a voyage from the brain to the soul (612.8 T666) by Giulio Tononi.
Structured similarly to Dante’s Inferno, neuroscientist Tononi fashions Galileo as this book’s narrator, guided by three influential souls – Francis Crick, Alan Turing, and Charles Darwin – to discover what consciousness is and how our idea of it has evolved throughout history. A fascinating read, with full-color images and high-quality paper, this book is as satisfying in the tactile sense as it is mentally stimulating.
Other staff selections include:
The science of drinking : how alcohol affects your body and mind (615.78 D229) by Amitava Dasgupta
The dragons of Eden : speculations on the evolution of human intelligence (612.82 S12) by Carl Sagan
How to make a zombie : the real life (and death) science of reanimation and mind control (502 S971) by Frank Swain
World wide mind : the coming integration of humanity, machines and the Internet (612.82 C55) by Michael Chorost
Where the heart beats : John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the inner life of artists (700 L334) by Kay Larson
The secret life of the grown-up brain : the surprising talents of the middle aged mind (616.89 S91s) by Barbara Strauch
Hallucinations (616.8 S12h) by Oliver Sacks
The doors of perception (616.86 H98) by Aldous Huxley
The autistic brain: thinking across spectrum (616.8588 G753) by Temple Grandin
Take a look at the 2nd floor Staff Picks display, and get thinky about thinking!