Download The Man Who Wasn't There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self Audiobook

The Man Who Wasnt There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self Audiobook, by Anil Ananthaswamy Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Anil Ananthaswamy Narrator: René Ruiz Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2015 ISBN: 9780698402812
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*Nominated for the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award*
*An NBC News Notable Science Book of 2015*
*Named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2015*
*A Book of the Month for Brain HQ/Posit Science*
*Selected by Forbes as a Must Read Brain Book of 2015*
*On Life Changes Network’s list of the Top 10 Books That Could Change Your Life of 2015*

In the tradition of Oliver Sacks, a tour of the latest neuroscience of schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, ecstatic epilepsy, Cotard’s syndrome, out-of-body experiences, and other disorders—revealing the awesome power of the human sense of self from a master of science journalism.

Anil Ananthaswamy’s extensive in-depth interviews venture into the lives of individuals who offer perspectives that will change how you think about who you are. These individuals all lost some part of what we think of as our self, but they then offer remarkable, sometimes heart-wrenching insights into what remains. One man cut off his own leg. Another became one with the universe.

We are learning about the self at a level of detail that Descartes (“I think therefore I am”) could never have imagined. Recent research into Alzheimer’s illuminates how memory creates your narrative self by using the same part of your brain for your past as for your future. But wait, those afflicted with Cotard’s syndrome think they are already dead; in a way, they believe that “I think therefore I am not.” Who—or what—can say that? Neuroscience has identified specific regions of the brain that, when they misfire, can cause the self to move back and forth between the body and a doppelgänger, or to leave the body entirely. So where in the brain, or mind, or body, is the self actually located? As Ananthaswamy elegantly reports, neuroscientists themselves now see that the elusive sense of self is both everywhere and nowhere in the human brain.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A compelling and entertaining look at the last untapped mystery, the true final frontier: the nature of ourselves. Science journalism at its best.”

    Daniel J. Levitin, neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author

  • “Science journalist Ananthaswamy skillfully inspects the bewildering connections among brain, body, mind, self, and society…Readers will be fascinated by Ananthaswamy’s chronicles as he explores, with kindness and keen intelligence, the uncomfortable aberrations that reveal what it is to be human.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Stunning…poetic and incisive. Each of the patients is unique, special, and incredible in revealing something special about the mind, whether healthy or fragile. Ananthaswamy discovers the elusive nature of the very idea of self and makes sense out of it. It is a remarkable achievement.”

    Michael Gazzaniga, author of Tales from Both Sides of the Brain

  • “Ananthaswamy’s remarkable achievement is to make sense of these unhappy individuals’ otherness, while holding on to their human sameness. You’ll come away enlightened and chastened, asking searching questions about who you are.”

    Nicholas Humphrey, author of A History of the Mind

  • “A provocative examination of deep questions.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week

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About the Author

Anil Anaanthaswamy is an award-winning science journalist and former deputy news editor and current consultant for New Scientist. He is a guest lecturer at UC Santa Cruz’s renowned science writing program and teached an annual science journalism workshop at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India. He is a feature editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ front matter and has written for National Geographic News, Discover, Matter, The Times (UK), and The Independent (UK). He has been a columnist for PBS NOVA’s The Nature of Reality blog. His first book, The Edge of Physics, was voted book of the year in 2010 by Physics World. He lives in Bangalore, India, and Santa Cruz, California.

About the Narrator

René Ruiz studied music education at the University of Texas and has won acclaim in local productions and musical revues, including roles in West Side Story, A Chorus Line, and Forever Plaid. He also spent many years working for Walt Disney World as a featured actor, singer, and announcer.