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Download Quirk: Brain Science Makes Sense of Your Peculiar Personality Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Quirk: Brain Science Makes Sense of Your Peculiar Personality Audiobook, by Hannah Holmes Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (220 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Hannah Holmes Narrator: Susan Denaker Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2011 ISBN: 9780307879431
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Who are you? It’s the most fundamental of human questions. Are you the type of person who tilts at windmills, or the one who prefers to view them from the comfort of an air-conditioned motorcoach? Our personalities are endlessly fascinating—not just to ourselves but also to our spouses, our parents, our children, our co-workers, our neighbors. As a highly social species, humans have to navigate among an astonishing variety of personalities. But how did all these different permutations come about? And what purpose do they serve? 

With her trademark wit and sly humor, Hannah Holmes takes readers into the amazing world of personality and modern brain science. Using the Five Factor Model, which slices temperaments into the major factors (Extraversion, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness) and minor facets (such as impulsive, artistic, or cautious), Holmes demonstrates how our genes and brains dictate which factors and facets each of us displays. Are you a Nervous Nelly? Your amygdala is probably calling the shots. Hyperactive Hal? It’s all about the dopamine. 

Each facet took root deep in the evolution of life on Earth, with Nature allowing enough personal variation to see a species through good times and bad. Just as there are introverted and extroverted people, there are introverted and extroverted mice, and even starfish. In fact, the personality genes we share with mice make them invaluable models for the study of disorders like depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety. Thus it is deep and ancient biases that guide your dealings with a very modern world. Your personality helps to determine the political party you support, the car you drive, the way you eat M&Ms, and the likelihood that you’ll cheat on your spouse. 

Drawing on data from top research laboratories, the lives of her eccentric friends, the conflicts that plague her own household, and even the habits of her two pet mice, Hannah Holmes summarizes the factors that shape you. And what she proves is that it does take all kinds. Even the most irksome and trying personality you’ve ever encountered contributes to the diversity of our species. And diversity is the key to our survival. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 BLACK CAT | 2/13/2014

    " Personality and the chemicals that model it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kirsten | 1/23/2014

    " As a scientist who has studied behavioral genetics, I found this an enjoying read. The simplicity with which she explains this complicated topic is admirable and joyous. Personally, I read it to fill a gap in my knowledge about mouse models. I often found myself skimming the evolutionary parts, as that was too simple for me, but I found no huge, glaring inaccuracies. Capturing the wariness of animal researchers was poignant. People do need to understand how human health has benefited immensely due to animal research, the personal sacrifice that people have made to work on animal models, and that it is not a black and white issue with all animal research being all bad or all good. We will not find cures for big human diseases, such as cancer, without animal research. That is very important to understand in light of the militant view of animal rights organizations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaitlyn Dennis | 1/11/2014

    " A little fluffy, but overall very readable and informative. :) The narrative, somewhat-informal style worked really well for presenting the information. I really enjoyed reading about not only the experiments themselves, but the author's whole experience of tracking down and interacting with the scientist. Sometimes this veers more into the speculative and personal than some people would like, but the author is very open about when she does this, so it didn't really bother me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heidi | 1/9/2014

    " This book was ok. I would have preferred that the author spend less time discussing the ways mice reacted and were bred and spent more time discussing how people reacted and are presdisposed to behaviors... but that being said i have discovered that my ADD is a product of an overactive prefrontal cortex and that too much Seratonin is just as bad as not enough. This along with some other nifty facts made it worth the read :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessietaylortanner | 12/31/2013

    " This actually brought me a lot of peace of mind, knowing how much of our personality is hard-wired, and not actually my fault. :) Interesting, too. Recommended for anyone to increase empathy in others. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol Wilson | 12/26/2013

    " I am now an expert on mouse brains, mouse behavior, and the sources of personality traits in the human brain. Not an easy listen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 12/21/2013

    " I'm going to have to listen to this one again. I liked it as an easy to hear or read overview for lay readers. However I do not feel comfortable about the author's handling of some of the material. Caveat lay reader. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liosliath | 11/3/2013

    " Interesting, but I could have done without the axe-grinding in the Acknowledgments on her feelings about the necessity of animal research and how "brave" scientists who conduct it are. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Max Wilson | 9/29/2013

    " A book about depression that manages to conjure its subject. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nancy Ponder | 8/21/2013

    " I could not handle the disparaging remarks about Christians and I found the writing silly. The author seemed to try to be 'cute' and this is suppose to be taken seriously? Not what I like at all! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 8/18/2013

    " informative with a touch of personal struggles.. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 1/2/2013

    " REALLY interesting. Was a little repetitive in places but overall a pretty cool book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Micah McCarty | 11/3/2012

    " Really interesting read on brain science. I found it a bit too simplistic in its belief that every aspect of personality can be explained away by science, but overall I truly enjoyed it. Most fascinating was the part about liberals vs conservatives and their dramatically different brains. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maureen Rue | 8/25/2012

    " Maybe I've read too many of these type of books. Nothing new here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 8/6/2012

    " recommend this highly to pop-psychology buffs! (myself included). this one tries out its ideas on lab mice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenn | 12/27/2011

    " Fascinating read about how much of an impact brain chemistry has on our personalities. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott Moyer | 8/28/2011

    " loved this book. great read for the curious about how types of personality are driven in our brain. also good if what to understand what makes people tick. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 4/26/2011

    " I am now an expert on mouse brains, mouse behavior, and the sources of personality traits in the human brain. Not an easy listen. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 3/27/2011

    " recommend this highly to pop-psychology buffs! (myself included). this one tries out its ideas on lab mice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Micah | 3/11/2011

    " Really interesting read on brain science. I found it a bit too simplistic in its belief that every aspect of personality can be explained away by science, but overall I truly enjoyed it. Most fascinating was the part about liberals vs conservatives and their dramatically different brains. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aryn | 3/7/2011

    " WOW! The book is fantastic; humor, humanity, and a lot really accessible science on a very personable level. If you've ever wondered about personality being genetic--that whole nature/nurture thing, this is the book for you.
    And the narrator is great, as well, if you do the audio version. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 2/28/2011

    " informative with a touch of personal struggles.. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emma | 2/26/2011

    " You can find my review on my book blog. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liosliath | 2/18/2011

    " Interesting, but I could have done without the axe-grinding in the Acknowledgments on her feelings about the necessity of animal research and how "brave" scientists who conduct it are. "

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About the Narrator

Susan Denaker is an actress and Earphones Award–winning narrator. Her extensive theater credits include numerous plays in the West End of London, national tours, many English rep companies, including a season with Alan Ayckbourn’s company in Scarborough. In the US, she has appeared in Our Town and Sweet Bird of Youth at the La Jolla Playhouse and Breaking Legs at the Westport Playhouse.