Your brain is the most remarkable thing about you because it makes you you. So, when Dean Burnett, Ph.D. chose to describe all that the brain does to make you amazing, he did it in a uniquely humane and entertaining way. His popular science book Idiot Brain: What Your Head is Really Up To is well-researched, well-written, and highly recommended for anyone interested in learning about how the brain works, fails to work, and even works against you.
What makes Idiot Brain so wonderful is that it’s not a simple, linear, boring discussion of the brain with explanations starting from a description of a neuron and developing into more complex behaviors (as a textbook often does). Instead, Idiot Brain presents a comedic discussion of the brain that usually centers around the stranger things the brain does, especially the processes that make us do peculiar things. For example, why do we see a scary monster in the doorway when it’s just a bathrobe hanging on the door? And why is there always room for dessert at the end of a huge meal? And why did I just come into this room anyway?
“The brain is a terrifyingly complex tangle of connections and links, like a ball of Christmas-tree lights the size of the known universe.”
Thankfully, Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist, who moonlights as a comedian and writes for The Guardian, so he can dissect the brain and its functions in accurate yet accessible ways, with quips and analogies to ease the examination. I encourage anyone with a brain to read Idiot Brain because the brain is both extremely impressive, but also a bit stupid.
For more reviews on books about the brain and neuroscience-related topics, check out our Brain Books!