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Book Summary: The Brain- The Story of You

Author: David Eagleman

Substory: Summary

David Eagleman's The Brain: The Story of You is a self-help book that explains a deeper connection between life and brain. The American neuroscientist tries to explain the inner cosmos in the easiest way possible. The six-chapter book will take you through entertaining stories of extreme sports, genocide, crime, justice, robotics and brain surgery. The dense network of brain cells and their numerous connections are described in the most readable manner. As you finish the book, it promises to introduce you to a self that you never expected to see.

Below are some of the key takeaways from the book:

1. The Power Of Unconscious Mind: Conscious mind is the tip of the iceberg of our mental processes, while the much larger part of what drives our thoughts and behaviors lies hidden from view.

2. Life Shapes Your Brain: If you’re holding a warm drink you’ll describe your relationship with a family member more favorably; when you’re holding a cold drink, you’ll express a slightly poorer opinion of the relationship. Why does this happen? Because the brain mechanisms for judging intrapersonal warmth overlap with the mechanisms for judging physical warmth, and so one influences the other. The upshot is that your opinion about something as fundamental as your relationship with your mother can be manipulated by whether you take your tea hot or iced.

3. How To Value Something?: Often, the best way to appreciate something is to see what the world looks like when it’s missing.

4. Education Prevents Genocide: Only by understanding the neural drive to form ingroups and outgroups – and the standard tricks by which propaganda plugs into this drive – we can hope to interrupt the paths of dehumanization that end in mass atrocity.

5. Body Is Complex Yet Beautiful: The human body is a masterpiece of complexity and beauty – a symphony of forty trillion cells working in concert. However, it has its limitations. Your senses set boundaries on what you can experience. Your body sets limits on what you can do.

6. Can We Change The Functioning Of Brain?: We’re at a moment in human history when the marriage of our biology and our technology will transcend the brain’s limitations. We can hack our own hardware to steer a course into the future. This is poised to fundamentally change what it will mean to be a human.