Book of the Year: Incognito

Book of the Year: Incognito
David Eagleman
Reviewed by Ed Wood
Canongate
Thu, 07/04/2011
9781847679383
£20.00

The We Love This Book team chooses its books of the year for 2011

Neuroscientist Eagleman, author of the bestseller Sum, here deals with the unconscious, the vast array of choices and instincts that go on inside our brain without our trying.
 
Laden with astonishing facts and brought to life by eye-opening anecdotes, the book gives us both cheery optimism – the blind man who learns to see again by using an electronic mesh on his tongue – and information that is difficult to know how to process, such as that most violent criminals possess a particular gene.
 
The eventual implication of much of the book is that without being aware of it, our life is being run by the ghost in our heads: ourselves. On the one hand, it’s a Gladwell-style fantastic dinner party book – “You won’t believe what I read!” – while on the other it’s a natural successor to Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, arguing that the judicial and punishment process are completely out of step with its own aims and the truth of motivation.
 

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