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

Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the Worlds Strangest Brains Audiobook, by Helen Thomson Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Helen Thomson Narrator: Helen Thomson Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2018 ISBN: 9780062847959
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Award-winning science writer Helen Thomson unlocks the biggest mysteries of the human brain through nine extraordinary cases.

Our brains are far stranger than we think. We take it for granted that we can remember, feel emotion, navigate, empathize, and understand the world around us, but how would our lives change if these abilities were dramatically enhanced—or disappeared overnight?

Helen Thomson has spent years traveling the world, tracking down incredibly rare brain disorders. In Unthinkable she tells the stories of nine extraordinary people she encountered along the way. From the man who thinks he’s a tiger to the doctor who feels the pain of others just by looking at them to a woman who hears music that’s not there, these people have had experiences that illustrate how the brain can shape our lives in unexpected and, in some cases, brilliant and alarming ways.

Story by remarkable story, Unthinkable takes us on an unforgettable journey through the human brain. Discover how to forge memories that never disappear, how to grow an alien limb, and how to make better decisions. Learn how to hallucinate and how to make yourself happier in a split second. Find out how to avoid getting lost, how to see more of your reality, even how exactly you can confirm you are alive. Think the unthinkable.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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’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

  • “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)

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


  • “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.”


  • “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 the Author

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.