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Extended Audio Sample Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life Audiobook, by Steven Johnson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,410 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steven Johnson Narrator: Alan Sklar Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2004 ISBN: 9781400171163
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BRILLIANTLY EXPLORING TODAY'S CUTTING-EDGE BRAIN RESEARCH, MIND WIDE OPEN IS AN UNPRECEDENTED JOURNEY INTO THE ESSENCE OF HUMAN PERSONALITY, ALLOWING READERS TO UNDERSTAND THEMSELVES AND THE PEOPLE IN THEIR LIVES AS NEVER BEFORE. Using a mix of experiential reportage, personal storytelling, and fresh scientific discovery, Steven Johnson describes how the brain works - its chemicals, structures, and subroutines - and how these systems connect to the day-to-day realities of individual lives. For a hundred years, he says, many of us have assumed that the most powerful route to self-knowledge took the form of lying on a couch, talking about our childhoods. The possibility entertained in this book is that you can follow another path, in which learning about the brain's mechanics can widen one's self-awareness as powerfully as any therapy or meditation or drug. In Mind Wide Open, Johnson embarks on this path as his own test subject, participating in a battery of attention tests, learning to control video games by altering his brain waves, scanning his own brain with a $2 million fMRI machine, all in search of a modern answer to the oldest of questions: who am I? Along the way, Johnson explores how we "read" other people, how the brain processes frightening events (and how we might rid ourselves of the scars those memories leave), what the neurochemistry is behind love and sex, what it means that our brains are teeming with powerful chemicals closely related to recreational drugs, why music moves us to tears, and where our breakthrough ideas come from. Johnson's clear, engaging explanation of the physical functions of the brain reveals not only the broad strokes of our aptitudes and fears, our skills and weaknesses and desires, but also the momentary brain phenomena that a whole human life comprises. Why, when hearing a tale of woe, do we sometimes smile inappropriately, even if we don't want to? Why are some of us so bad at remembering phone numbers but brilliant at recognizing faces? Why does depression make us feel stupid? To read Mind Wide Open is to rethink family histories, individual fates, and the very nature of the self, and to see that brain science is now personally transformative - a valuable tool for better relationships and better living.n the country... Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Always considerate of his audience, Johnson weaves disparate strands of brain research and theory smoothly into the narrative (only a concluding section on Freud’s modern legacy feels like a tangent), which leaves readers’ minds more open than they were.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra Blasi | 2/18/2014

    " Johnson explores the physiology of his own brain and, ergo, ours in this mainstream (i.e., not esoteric) book. His thesis is right: the more we know how our brains actually function, the more control we have over how and what we think and do. Example: Your body continues producing emotional symptoms to a fear or anxiety (like racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, knotted stomach) after your brain has moved onto other tepid topics. Therefore we sometimes *feel* toward subjects that are no longer irrelevant to our fear, irritation, joy, or other emotions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew Linsdell | 2/18/2014

    " This is a great introduction to brain science through the eyes of a layman. The reader was uninspiring but the content was excellent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurel | 2/17/2014

    " This is a fun read. The author breaks the brain into manageable chunks (figuratively speaking, of course), and talks about some "applied" functions of various structures. It's certainly written for the novice in brain science, which I appreciated, but which may disappoint readers looking for more technical information on brain functions. There are some fun studies and anecdotes to keep it readable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Todd Martin | 2/15/2014

    " Mind Wide Open by Steven Johnson relies a little too much on personal narrative and too little on the science of neurology. With that said, Johnson is easy to read and provides some interesting information about the brain and how it functions. I particularly like how he ties this information back to practical ways that it can be used in everyday life (although, in many cases the usefulness is limited). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meg Lokey | 1/31/2014

    " Great book about the way the brain works and how diffeerent chemicals are released etc. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Sorensen | 1/30/2014

    " Good solid information "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alexis | 1/27/2014

    " Johson gives a back door tour of the brain, offering understandable explanations to the reasoning behind our everyday actions and interactions. I found the chapter on autism to be most interesting, especialy in his descriptions of modern solutions to behavioral issues. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gloriavirtutisumbra | 1/18/2014

    " I plan on listening to this a second time because there are so many interesting points I don't feel one time through does it justice. Once again, kudos, Mr. Johnson. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JJ | 1/7/2014

    " who doesn't like neuroscience and doing weird brain experiments to figure out what makes you tick? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Falards | 12/19/2013

    " A little long winded. Definitely some interesting stuff about the brain though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna | 12/14/2013

    " This book, an overview of some fascinating current neuroscience research, is an easy, fascinating read, and convinced me that the brain and brain research is just about the coolest stuff ever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Courtney | 12/8/2013

    " I learned that there is a module in our brain that inherently fears snakes...and garden hoses, and vacuum cleaner cords, and anything else that might be mistaken for one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 s s | 12/8/2013

    " Excellent read! Humorous, scientific, concise, and most significantly, appreciable in daily life. After reading this book I was inspired to teach my own class on the subject to professionals wanting to master their mind. Thank you Steve Johnson! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teressa | 10/5/2013

    " Pretty readable for a book about neuroscience. It wasn't as insightful as I was hoping for so I only gave it 3 stars, but it was still very interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 8/9/2013

    " It tells why PSTD works the way it does--why our brain works why it does. Anything with the brain is just amazing, and this book is fun. Lots of info. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Danira | 8/5/2013

    " I really love this book. I have actually read it several time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lolakay | 7/2/2013

    " a nice tour of trends in neuroscience. Nothing terribly new, but all very accessible. (Except Johnson's mix of reporting and personal musing seemed a little off this time around.) I used to be dismayed that every time I thought of a good book to write Johnson did it. Now I guess I'm glad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Loredana | 2/24/2013

    " Very informative, but well written so it doesn't feel like you're reading a textbook. Anyone who's interested in the brain should read this book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Edelhart Kempeneers | 1/30/2013

    " Best interessant boek over de neurobiologie van de hersenen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberly | 10/30/2012

    " There is a great interview on NPR with the author that is worth listening to. Warning if you listen you will HAVE to read the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie Turner | 9/28/2012

    " I now know that my fear of sharks in swimming pools is really do to a very effective Amygdala. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 TK Keanini | 5/2/2012

    " You need to read this if you think the brain is all about biology. If you are in a leadership position, you need to check this book out. The brain one of the more important organs and yet we know so little. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheri | 1/13/2012

    " Very interesting book. Makes you look at why you make the decisions you do in a new light. I found the section on neurofeedback particularly interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 12/31/2011

    " It was neat to see what tests can be done out there but sadly, they are limited normally to those individuals with some suspected issue. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nettie | 11/28/2011

    " So far more of an everyday man's review of recent mind research. Text book lite. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 9/22/2011

    " Who knew the Amygdala could be such a fascinating main character? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steven | 6/26/2011

    " good science writing. personal, accessible and intriguing. The book succeeds in conveying that our experience of consciousness is the result of input from multiple brain 'modules'. A little short, though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zak | 5/22/2011

    " I really wanted to dislike this book, but Johnson makes a decent case for value of video games, movies and tv, arguing that their increasingly complexity and depth has contributed to rising IQs, primarily, of people of average intelligence. That said, the quick read is still a bit fluffy. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chris Fox | 5/12/2011

    " This essay REALLY intrigued me, and the whole first half was excellently done. But the entire last half is just droning, and completely pointless. Don't waste your time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb | 4/19/2011

    " Interesting read. Written like a college thesis. Lacks any real science background for his work but still makes a good argument for some of the positive things we are getting from pop culture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Efredell | 3/29/2011

    " You can learn a lot from playing video games, and here's the argument that will make you feel better if your kids spend a lot of time playing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Salvatore | 3/10/2011

    " Molto carino ed interessante.
    Giusto per renderci conto, in Italia, che non sarebbe male sostituire qualche programma di tette e culi con un telefilm. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amber | 2/17/2011

    " Some interesting ideas here, but I felt like it got a bit repetitive after a while. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dante | 2/4/2011

    " I take it as self-evident that enjoying pop culture is worthwhile, and therefore found some of the arguments in this book a tad reductive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin | 1/8/2011

    " I agree with most of it, but it really doesn't bring anything new to the table. I'd recommend it to my mother or to everybody who doesn't enjoy popular culture as much as I do. If you're already into pop culture, you don't have to read Everything Bad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 11/28/2010

    " I like books that make you see things from a different perspective. This book did that for me. "

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About the Author
Author Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of ten books, including How We Got to Now, Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, and Everything Bad Is Good for You. The founder of a variety of influential websites, he is the host and co-creator of the PBS and BBC series How We Got to Now. Johnson lives in Marin County, California, and Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and three sons.

About the Narrator

Alan Sklar, a graduate of Dartmouth, has excelled in his career as a freelance voice actor. He began narrating audiobooks in 1996, winning seven AudioFile Earphones Awards and earning several “Best Voice” awards. He has also worked as a stage actor and as a promo announcer at WPIX-TV in New York City. His dream is to be an opera singer, a role for which he hones his bass-baritone operatic skills in the upstairs shower of his home.