Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the Worlds Strangest Brains Audiobook, by Helen Thomson Play Audiobook Sample

Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World's Strangest Brains Audiobook

Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the Worlds Strangest Brains Audiobook, by Helen Thomson Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Helen Thomson Publisher: HarperAudio Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 4.83 hours at 1.5x Speed 3.63 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: June 2018 Format: Unabridged Audiobook ISBN: 9780062847959

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

51:49 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

19:01 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

39:57 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Publisher Description

A prizewinning journalist with a background in neuroscience, Helen Thomson spent years tracking down people who live with the world's most extraordinary neurological disorders—like a man who tried to break his back because his legs no longer felt like his own, and another who believed that he was dead for nine years. Not content to simply read about these cases on paper, Thomson reached out to ten people with these afflictions, and they agreed to tell her their stories.

Leaving behind the scans and the clinical histories, Unthinkable ties the first-ever interviews with the people who have these rare conditions together with cutting-edge science. Through these incredible tales, Thomson casts a light on the chaos that the human mind can create. She shows us how these strange conditions hold the keys to unlocking the biggest mysteries of the human brain, and provide a deeper understanding of the human condition itself.

Combining careful observation with bold science and vibrant storytelling, Unthinkable takes us on a deep dive into the weirdest corners of our brain, and helps us to see our own creativity, our emotions, and our consciousness more clearly.

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“Helen Thomson’s remarkable book is an astonishing tour of the human brain in all its awesome power and bewildering variation. In beautiful prose, she seamlessly dances between conversations with nine extraordinary people and beautiful explanations of how the brain works. Unthinkable will enrich your brain, blow your mind, and warm your heart.”

— Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes 


  • “A stirring scientific journey, a celebration of human diversity, and a call to rethink the ‘unthinkable.’”

    — Nature
  • “Ultimately a celebration of variance within human experience…Thomson has a gift for making the complex and strange understandable and relatable.”

    — Library Journal (starred review)
  • “Helen Thomson is the science teacher you wish you’d had at school…The unruliness of the misfiring brain is what makes Unthinkable so fascinating and so frightening…Thomson’s book repays careful reading. Don’t skip the science to get on to the well-I-never case histories. You need both together.”

    — Times (UK)
  • “Throughout, Thomson emphasizes ‘we are our brains,’ convincingly showing that these strange minds belong to people from whom much can be learned.”

    — Publishers Weekly
  • “With a scientist’s boundless curiosity and a writer’s keen observation, Thomson imparts caring and humanity to each profile of these remarkable people. Unthinkable could easily sensationalize the weird and pervert the odd. Instead, Thomson underscores our commonalities and reminds readers that we all have truly extraordinary brains.”

    — Booklist
  • “A user-friendly tour of the brain and the curious things that go on inside of it, from splendidly practical visions to debilitating hallucinations…Pleasing and accessible.”

    — Kirkus Reviews

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About Helen Thomson

Helen Thomson is a writer and consultant with New Scientist magazine and was shortlisted for Best Science Journalist in the British Journalism Awards. She has won several other awards, including media fellowships at both Harvard and MIT and the Best Newcomer in the ABSW Science Writers Awards for Britain and Ireland in 2010. She has also written for the Guardian (UK), the Washington Post, the Daily Mail (UK), and Nature. She lives in London.