Cover Image: Your Brain, Explained

Your Brain, Explained

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I love how simply this book breaks down everything you’d ever want to know about how your brain works and why you think and act the way that you do. This was such a fascinating read.
Was this review helpful?
Your Brain, Explained by Marc Dingman explores the weird and interesting ways in which our brains work. The author aims to find a happy medium between complex neuroscience and brain talk dumbed down to the point that it’s inaccurate, and I think he achieved that goal.

The author also aims to spark curiosity. He writes, “I hope this book will get you thinking enough about all the interesting, peculiar, and downright amazing things the brain does that, when you finish it, you’ll have more questions than you started out with—because those questions might prompt you to continue learning about neuroscience.” This is someone who’s clearly passionate about his field.

Each chapter is devoted to a kind of different brain function: fear, memory, sleep, language, sadness, movement, vision, pleasure, pain, and attention.

The book contained lots of examples of people with fascinating conditions affecting the brain. Did you know there’s a rare condition called fatal insomnia? Another example was someone who had lost his sense of touch and proprioception (the ability to recognize where body parts are in space) but learned to walk again by using visual information rather than proprioception to guide his muscles as he moved. Other examples included people with prosopagnosia, which is the inability to recognize faces, and hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy, which is the inability to feel pain. While the not feeling pain thing might sound good on the face of it, you could bite your tongue off or get your foot run over and not even notice it, which would be a problem.

The book explores some of the ways neuroscientists developed an understanding of how certain brain functions work. For example, research on sea slugs was an important part of understanding how memory works. I’ve gotta say, sometimes my memory feels like it’s regressed to sea slug level…

You’ll also learn about what neuroscientists have uncovered about how different illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s affect the brain. There are curious facts thrown in, like smoking is associated with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease for some unknown reason (still not a great reason to smoke, though).

The author acknowledges the complexity of brain functions without getting confusing about it. Something like language doesn’t happen in just one area of the brain or even one half of the brain, and even though the left brain plays a significant role, the right brain gets involved in certain aspects. He also acknowledges what isn’t known yet; for example, children can pick up new languages much more easily than adults can, but scientists haven’t yet figured out why this is.

There are some bits that are particularly relevant to folks like me who have depression. There’s an area of the brain called the subgenual cingulate cortex that’s linked to sadness, and both increased activation and structural abnormalities of that area have been observed in people with depression. During neurosurgery to implant deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes, stimulation of the SCC produced rapid drastic changes in mood. DBS is by no means common as a treatment for depression, but it’s something I would consider. The author also addresses the serotonin hypothesis of depression, and how it’s become clear that this is very much an oversimplification.

In the chapter on the pleasure and reward system, the author addresses addiction: “Whatever your opinion on the origins of addiction, we know enough about the neuroscience of it to suggest that we should be treating it as a disorder and not as a fitting consequence of poor judgment.”

I found this book absolutely fascinating. Granted, I’m a geek and love science and brain stuff, but I think that this book would be really interesting even for people who aren’t über-geeks. The concepts are explained well, and I don’t think limited foreknowledge would make the book hard to follow. The author’s enthusiasm shines through in the writing style; this is definitely not a dry textbook. The example patients that are included are particularly intriguing. I thought this was a great book!


I received a reviewer copy from the publisher through Netgalley.
Was this review helpful?
So, here is actually a non-fiction book adjacent to my degree that I loved. The tone was open about the scientific method and not sensationalist. It explained complex biological processes in a simplified and illustrative way but not needlessly dumbed down. I learned quite a bit and saw some progress since my 101 lectures at uni. Certainly not a book you will gulp down in one sitting but very readable with a good information density.
The title image does not do it justice.
Was this review helpful?
We all have a brain, we all use it and almost no one understands how it works. The funny thing is that what we thought we knew for sure after some time turned out to be totally wrong. In the late 80. the neuroimaging developed to the point where for the first time we were able to peak beneath the skull without cracking it open and see at least partially what is going on there. This was a massive step forward and yet the specialists don't feel any wiser.
So this book is for those who want to learn and understand the basics. What is where and more or less how does it work. For more advanced knowledge you would need to look elsewhere. Nevertheless, it´s still a good read.
Was this review helpful?
In a nutshell, simple and accessible.  It is a good choice to be introduced in the intricacies of the brain. And even though it is educational, and I came to know valuable information about fear, depression, Parkinson, and more, I still have that humble Socratic-like feeling that I know I don't know anything. I assume it might be in part due to simplification but also mainly it is a common thing in science and particularly with the 'brains', as its study is an ongoing learning process underpinned by diversity, plasticity and many times by ruling out old theories.
There are fun samples and astonishing historical evidences that make it entertaining.
Was this review helpful?
I loved reading this! This book was entirely readable for someone without any neuroscience background and I could understand pretty much everything. I liked how it was structured with each chapter opening with an example of what an extreme case of neuroscience gone wrong in someone's brain can look like, and from there it explained how the particular phenomenon (fear, pain, vision, etc) works normally. I won't pretend like I now know everything I read here but it's certainly a fun book to go back to in case I want to remember something specific. So I would say if you have any interest in how your brain works this is certainly the book to read even if you don't have any previous background.
Was this review helpful?
Brain. 
Such an important organ. Are we really aware of how it is so essential for the existence of human beings? 
This book does exactly that!
Reading this book was so exciting and educational, I got to learn a lot and it is very informative and written in way that will make you understand about this important organ of ours. 
A great read!
Was this review helpful?
This book is separated into sections that cover how the brain works, it's anatomy and different functions of the brain including fear, sleep, pain, memory, language, sadness, vision, neurodegenerative diseases, movement and more.

This book is extremely informative and theres so much you can take away from it. There's so much I didn't realise i didn't know! My one qualm is this book is very text book like, for myself with ADHD (funnily enough adhd is also covered in this book) i struggled to concentrate on for long periods of time and feel it would have been great to have more illustrations/infographics to emphasise key points, although because this book is not particularly long it wasnt too much of an issue and regardless I found the book very beneficial.
Was this review helpful?
I am always interested in reading more things about the brains and I am happy I found this book because it explains shortly how the brain works. The book is divided in chapters and each chapter focuses on a different ability of the brain like fear, for example. The book, also, it presents different cases when the brain doesn't work properly and why it might be the case of not working properly, if it was discovered. I would recommend it to anyone who's interested in how the human body works, especially the brain.
Was this review helpful?
A deep and interesting read about the brain, it's anatomy, and its functions.  I really enjoyed learning all the different aspects of the brain, sleep, memory, pain, fear, language, sadness, pleasure, movement and vision.   Filled with wonderful case studies and discussions.  A read I highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. All of the opinions given are my own and have been given nothing for my review.
Was this review helpful?
As someone who routinely reads books about the brain, neuroscience, neurobiology, and the brain’s processes as they relate to human behavior (and vice-versa), I was surprised by this book in the best way possible. If you are new to reading about the brain or are intimidated by these types of books, Your Brain Explained would be a great entry point to this important topic. It is neatly presented in a systematic way where each chapter handles a different aspect of human behavior and takes the reader through the brain’s resulting processes. You have nothing to lose by giving this book a careful read. Thank you to NetGalley and Nicholas Brealey for supplying this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A neuroscience book that is a delight to read!  This is so refreshing!  I love the authors use of anecdotes to make the book super interesting and relatable, it adds a touch of the 'human' to a book that is in a genre that so often lacks this touch.  It will appeal and shouldn't disappoint anyone looking for an introduction to the topic of neuroscience.

With chapters on sleep, movement and memory to name just a few, it gives a breadth of knowledge on a hugely complex topic.  Very well done to this author!

My thanks to NetGalley, author and publisher for the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Somehow anecdotal, but in a good way to explain all the things that our brains are capable of. Beyond the weird and wonderful, very interesting and very accessible.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the book.
Was this review helpful?
I have a personal interest in neurology and would read pretty much anything and everything written on said subject.  This book is really, really well written.  Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned explorer of the brain, Dingman has done a great job of reeling in your attention and keeping you hooked onto the book. Some of the concepts are so well explained, better than I have come across in years.  Complex concepts are broken down in a simplified and enjoyable manner, that I will be referring to it for years to come.  Highly, highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
Really good book with interesting information. So glad I found this and can't wait to use some of the information in my practice! Highly recommend!
Was this review helpful?
Discover your brain with this mindblowing book.

In Your Brain neuroscientist Marc Dingman explains the work of brain and how brain function affects you on a daily basis. 
Is it fascinanting or is it scary when you think about how everything we feel and know is a product of electrical activity spiking? 
And what happens when the brain doesn't work how it should? One can be affected with problems like insomnia, ADHD, depression, or addiction. 
With chapters like language, memory, sleep, sadness, fear, pain, pleasure, movement, vision and attention reader gets to learn and get to know its own brain.
Was this review helpful?
This was a really interesting book - I am really interested in the human body and especially the brain and i loved this, its such an easy read for those who are not into the science jargon!
Was this review helpful?
Sleep. Memory. Pleasure. Fear. Language. We experience these things every day, but how do our brains create them? 

Your Brain, Explained is a personal tour around your gray matter. Neuroscientist Marc Dingman gives you a crash course in how your brain works and explains the latest research on the brain functions that affect you on a daily basis.

You'll also discover what happens when the brain doesn't work the way it should, causing problems such as insomnia, ADHD, depression, or addiction. You'll learn how neuroscience is working to fix these problems, and how you can build up your defenses against the most common faults of the mind.

Along the way you'll find out:

· Why brain training games don't prevent dementia

· What it's like to remember every day of your life as if it were yesterday

· Which popular psychiatric drug was created from German rocket fuel

· How you might unknowingly be sabotaging your sleep

Drawing on the author's popular YouTube series, 2-minute Neuroscience, this is a friendly, engaging introduction to the human brain and its quirks from the perspective of a neuroscientist--using real-life examples and the author's own eye-opening illustrations. Your brain is yours to discover! 
A fascinating read which I fully recommend
Was this review helpful?
Well written and easy to read - perfect for the layperson, even the  informaton about neuroscience is written in a way that you can understand if you don't yet have any understanding about the brain.

I've studied psychology, so some of this was a reminder of what I already knew; some of it contained newer information and research since I studied the subject, and some of it was completely new to me.

If you're at all interested in how your brain works, this is worth a read.
Was this review helpful?