Incognito: The Secret Lives of Human Brains 📕Review

Incognito cover

Author: David Eagleman
Series: N/A
Genre: Nonfiction, Psychology
Publisher: Pantheon
Published: May 31, 2011

If I could go back in time and yell one thing at high school era me it would be this: “Pursue a career is psychology, not electronics! Trust me. I’m you from the future.” Yep. If I ever get a time machine, that’s totally happening. I don’t care how much damage it does to the timeline.

Anyway, I have an armchair interest in psychology and mental health topics these days. Initially, I was a little worried this book would be over my head since I have no formal education in the psychology area. My two good (and much smarter than me) friends, The Shameful Narcissist and the Goddess of Wisdom (and Psychology), both told me I wouldn’t have any trouble with the topics, and would likely enjoy it. And yep, they were right!

Not gonna lie, the subject matter did send me on an existential crisis (or two… maybe three) but I learned A LOT about how our minds work. Reality is seriously merely an illusion, my friends. We only see what our brain shows us. Wrapping my head around that concept was quite a trip. We are in constant arguments with ourselves over decisions, most of our vision comes from our brain Photoshopping the raw data from our eyes, and we have so very little control over what our brain processes in the background, beyond the reach of our conscious selves.

The author does a superb job of explaining his perspective on things, often including fun mind puzzles and optical illusions to illustrate his points (although my eBook format had some issues displaying some of these). Just remember, this is a straight white man’s perspective on things. Some readers may get a little annoyed when he talks about how our minds process sexual attraction and racism. I know I certainly took some offense, but I don’t fault the man for stating his honest opinions in what he seems to think is a respectful way.

Overall, this is a great read if you’re interested in getting some easily understandable science knowledge about how we are who we are. If you’re struggling with depression and other other mental health issues, learning how you think can help you come up with a few coping mechanisms of your own. That’s no substitute for professional help, though. Always seek that out if you ever find yourself lost in those dark feelz.

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stack o’ Books Emojis – 📚📚📚📚⚉

Check it out on Goodreads if you’re interested in learning more.

Thanks for reading!

If for some odd reason you want to read more of my posts, you can find a somewhat organized (and usually up to date) archive of my ramblings… I mean, articles here!


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"Lightning" Ellen

My name is Ellen, and I've been babbling on the interwebz about video games for over 15 years. Video games themselves have been a large part of my life since 5-year-old me first encountered a SNES in a children's hospital. Fun times... Video game escapism is still the #1 coping mechanism for adult me these days.

7 thoughts on “Incognito: The Secret Lives of Human Brains 📕Review”

  1. I LOVE books about this sort of thing! Some I’ve read and enjoyed recently: Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, about first impressions; Iain McGilchrist’s Master and his Emissary, about the link between the development of the two hemispheres and various cultural and artistic things; Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, about neurological injuries that have caused strange conditions; VS Ramachandran’s The Tell-Tale Brain, about stuff we can learn about ourselves from our brains.

    All very enjoyable! Also, if you ever want someone to read your original work, I would be SO UP FOR THAT it’s not even funny. Whether you want a bit of feedback/ discussion or not, I’d seriously love to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome! Thanks for the recommendations!! I’ve added them all to my Goodreads To Read list 😀

      Ah, my poor original novel. I’ve abandoned my half finished first draft. Working on Draft Attempt 2 now. I think I still need to improve my writing technique A LOT, but working at it. I have the new intro done, so if you absolutely want to read that… um, sure, haha. I’d also be very interested in reading your work-in-progress novel stuff too, dude! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t get enough of stuff on the mind, the brain, how they both work, what the one’s influence is on the other… all that stuff. (Another two that just occurred to me: Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, which has to do with what good decisions are and why we’re rarely able to make them, and Daniel Levitin’s Field Guide to Lies and Statistics, which is super handy for understanding how information can be communicated so as to appear to say something that isn’t really there.)

        Send me stuff any time or even just hit me up to chat about it and I’ll be a happy feller!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I know!! It’s so cool to think about. I’ve added those two books to my reading list as well.

          If I get brave enough to share something from my novel, I’ll definitely send it to ya, haha. Thank you! I appreciate it a lot 😀

          Liked by 1 person

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