As in many scientific arenas these days, developments in the field of neuroscience are advancing at lightning speed. Given the seemingly limitless possibilities of brain study, there continues to be an increasing number of books about neuroscience and theories of mind, and this March is no different—here are four of the most intriguing:
The Pleasure Shock by Lone Frank (Mar. 20): “As neurobiologist-turned–science journalist Frank writes, [psychiatrist Robert] Heath’s biologically oriented work found many acolytes, among them a student who lost his academic chair later in life for having ‘prescribed too many interesting—and illegal—medications’ to the university football team….A thoughtful, always interesting look into the workings of the mind—and the sometimes-surprising implications of how those workings have been revealed.”
Elastic by Leonard Mlodinow (Mar. 20): “With the world changing so rapidly, our thinking must change as well. This ingenious account by bestselling science writer Mlodinow describes how we think and how we might do it better….This is top-quality popular neuroscience.”
The Biological Mind by Alan Jasanoff (Mar. 13): “Jasanoff, the director of the MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering, begins his account by stating that his chief interest lies more in ‘what the brain is rather than what it does’….Jasanoff writes with admirable clarity as he argues that the modern tendency of neuroscience to take a ‘brain-centered view’ that overlooks external sources of behavior can lead to epistemological dead ends….For serious students of neurobiology as well as readers interested in philosophical questions of mind and body.”
My Plastic Brain by Caroline Williams (Mar. 13): “In her debut book, Williams, a consultant for New Scientist magazine, asks whether recent advances in technology can improve some of her cognitive abilities….An easy-to-read journey through the world of brain research that gives a glimpse of what is happening there, all done with a highly personal touch.”
Eric Liebetrau is the nonfiction and managing editor.