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It's happened to all of us at some point. You walk into the kitchen, or flip open your laptop, or stride confidently up to a lectern, filled with purpose—and suddenly haven't the foggiest idea what you’re doing. Welcome to your idiot brain.
Yes, it is an absolute marvel in some respects—the seat of our consciousness, the pinnacle (so far) of evolutionary progress, and the engine of all human experience—but your brain is also messy, fallible, and about 50,000 years out-of-date. We cling to superstitions, remember faces but not names, miss things sitting right in front of us, and lie awake at night while our brains replay our greatest fears on an endless loop.
Yet all of this, believe it or not, is the sign of a well-meaning brain doing its best to keep you alive and healthy. In Idiot Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett celebrates blind spots, blackouts, insomnia, and all the other downright laughable things our minds do to us, while also exposing the many mistakes we've made in our quest to understand how our brains actually work. Expertly researched and entertainingly written, this book is for everyone who has wondered why their brain appears to be sabotaging their life, and what on earth it is really up to.
^Are you excited already?
Well, my idiot brain genuinely liked this book very much, and it’s always right, isn’t it? (not really). Admittedly, specialists would probably find the explanations simplistic (I extrapolate), but then, why would they read this book in the first place? Neuroscientists, this book is not for you. You think you’re so clever, right? (hehe) Anyway, given that my knowledge on the subject is very limited (understand : I studied language and metacognition in teaching school, had some notions about the way our vision sucks, but that’s about it), Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To was a pleasurable and interesting book for me.
I tend to find non-fiction books hard to rate, because my usual categories do not work : there’s no such thing as a world-building or characters, for example. However, even these beloved categories are never really objective – or, rather, the way I use them is necessarily subjective, because Hello, biases. Therefore it won’t come as a surprise that I followed a fundamentally biased pattern to give my stars :
… Also, I have a better self-esteem now because I realized that being Cartesian (mostly, I’m still afraid of clowns and dolls, BECAUSE OF REASONS) after having been raised surrounded by superstitions and other beliefs is actually pretty great. Yay, me. I kid, I kid. Mostly.
I do know that technically, there are seven (eight) stars, but then, I never said that I was logical. The truth is, even though there were parts harder to get through, I was never bored. Now, perhaps this review is part of a great conspiracy to make you spend your money. Perhaps.
*Looks in the distance*
We’ll never know…