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

Extended Audio Sample The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self, by Anil Ananthaswamy Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Anil Ananthaswamy Narrator: René Rui Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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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