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The Human Brain Book

Average Rating 4
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  • Posted July 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    An astounding book that lives up to its promise

    The Human Brain Book by Rita Carter does a magnificent job of explaining the intricacies surrounding that great big hunk of grey matter that sits in each of our heads. This coffee-table book gives an in-depth look at everything that a person could want to know about the mysterious mass that controls everything about him or her.

    The book itself is less of a “read through” book and more of a reference book that one could turn to if they were wondering about a certain facet of the brain; the helpful glossary and index make navigating this book quite easy, and finding what you want to learn about is a breeze.

    My favorite part about this book is that it categorizes the complexity of every item in the book by the size of the font that it is in: the larger the font, the more general and easily understood, and the smaller the font, the more technical and intricate the given information is. For instance, on the page for “The principles of memory,” the largest text explains memory in its most basic sense by stating the following: “Memory is a broad term used to refer to a number of different brain functions. The common feature of these functions is the re-creation of past experiences by the synchronous firing of neurons that were involved in the original experience.” The smallest text on the same page, this time in reference to cortical areas is the following: “Episodic memories activate the areas originally involved in the experience that is being recalled.” This is a great example of the difference in the technicality of a statement based upon its font size.

    I feel that this book is really meant for people that have at least finished the middle school and I would not recommend any younger than that, as some of the book gets quite confusing for someone who has no idea what they are looking for.

    The reference book style that The Human Brain Book is in makes it a wonderful source for anyone looking for answers to the questions that he or she has about the most important thing that each and everyone of us has: our brain. Overall I would rate this book a 4/5; I feel that it is quite an astounding book and it fulfills its promise of being “An illustrated guide to [the brain’s] structure, function, and disorders,” but at the same time, it is a bit overwhelming at points.

    Review by Young Mensan Adam W., age 16, Greater Los Angeles Area Mensa

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