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An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery…
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An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain

by Diane Ackerman

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I enjoyed "A Natural History of the Senses" pretty well, so this book caught my interest in passing and I thought I'd give it a go. Perhaps it's a change of mood on my part, but I felt that in this book, the highly descriptive, lyrical style of Ackerman's prose, which seems to work in a book about the senses, felt irritatingly overblown in a book about the brain and neuroscience. I think I've got enough of a passing familiarity with the science of the brain to not find any surprising new information here: the information that is related, while interesting, is so heavily burdened with strained metaphors and overwritten turns of phrase that the reader trips over the writing on almost every page. There are plenty of better books about the brain, where the amazement comes from the actual information conveyed rather than the breathless hyping of the author. ( )
  theparsley | Mar 24, 2016 |
This 'lump on a stick', weighting less than three pounds, manages, in Ms. Ackerman's book, to become a very weighty subject. Her prose reads like poetry, and if you have never before read her work, as I had not (don't ask me why), this book is like your first taste of a great chef's cooking.

Ackerman has been called our finest literary interpreter of science and nature, and after reading this book, you'll never think of your brain in the same way again.
  twcox | Jan 14, 2015 |
Wonderful read! Poetic and informative as Ackerman's writing generally is.
  DK_Atkinson | Mar 31, 2013 |
Diane Ackerman has a poet's soul and a scientist's mind.
1 vote gilbertine | Oct 28, 2008 |
I really like this book. It's one of those books you read for the share beauty of the language, for the resonance of the author's thoughts with your own, only phrased with infinitely more grace, intelligence and wisdom. If I could write one book I'd wish it to be this one. Ackerman takes the study of the brain from the technical description of a textbook, past the informal treatise of popularised science to the realm of poetry, where subtle and profound ideas about what it means to be human, the agony and joy of possessing minds as encompassing and creative as our own, and the miracle of having the world created before our very eyes. Please read this book if you have even the vaguest interest in the intricacies of your brain. ( )
  grero | Apr 27, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743246748, Paperback)

Does the mind reflect or dictate what the body sees and feels? What is the language of emotion? Is memory a function of our imaginations? Are we all just out of our minds?

In this ambitious and enlightening work, Diane Ackerman combines an artist's eye with a scientist's erudition to illuminate the magic and mysteries of the human brain. With An Alchemy of Mind, she offers an unprecedented exploration of the mental fantasia in which we spend our days. In addition to explaining memory, thought, emotion, dreams, and language acquisition, Ackerman reports on the latest discoveries in neuroscience and addresses such controversial subjects as the effects of trauma, nature versus nurture, and male versus female brains. In prose that is not simply accessible but also beautiful and electric, Ackerman distills the hard, objective truths of science in order to yield vivid, anecdotal explanations about a range of existential questions regarding consciousness and the nature of identity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:18 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Diane Ackerman discusses the science of the brain as only she can. In addition to explaining memory, thought, emotion, dreams, and language acquisition, she reports on the latest discoveries in neuroscience and addresses controversial subjects like the effects of trauma and male versus female brains. Ackerman distills the hard, objective truths of science in order to yield vivid, heavily anecdotal explanations about a range of existential questions regarding consciousness, human thought, memory, and the nature of identify."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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