RaveThe Wall Street JournalAntonio Zadra and Robert Stickgold, two of the world’s leading researchers in the science of sleep and dreams, have written a remarkable account of what we know and don’t know about this mysterious thing that happens during the night. The promise of When Brains Dream is to address four questions: \'What are dreams? Where do they come from? What do they mean? And what are they for?\' In a masterly narrative, the authors answer these and many more questions with solid scientific research and a flair for captivating storytelling ... When we’re awake, our brains are so busy attending to the environment that we tend to favor linear connections and thinking; when we allow ourselves to daydream, we solve problems that have distant, novel or nonlinear solutions ... When Brains Dream is a rarity among popular science books, one that neither dumbs down the research nor steps outside of what we know, and yet is still a page-turner. The authors are admirably cautious, leading us through a brief exploration of the epistemological limits of contemporary neuroscience. And they retain an infectious sense of the wonder of it all.
MixedThe Wall Street JournalDr. Rediger is at his best when he voices the reasons we should be skeptical about outrageous scientific claims, and when he reviews some of the fascinating history of medical advances ... He is truly gifted with analogies ... Dr. Rediger never grapples with the statistics of medical prognoses ... by definition, there are so few cases in the tails. Misapplying these statistics leads the uncareful to draw all kinds of unwarranted conclusions. Equally worrying, he utterly ignores half of the statistical question that could shed some light on all of this ... For the sake of giving Dr. Rediger the benefit of the doubt, I suspended disbelief and allowed myself to drink the medicine of his woo-woo thinking for the first 280 pages of the book. But now, thankfully, I am cured.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalShubin shows himself to be a natural storyteller and a gifted scientific communicator ... There is a certain poetry to Mr. Shubin’s account ... With so much in the news about coronavirus, we could all do with a better understanding of what viruses are and how they work. Mr. Shubin provides.
RaveThe Wall Street Journal... not just for those who are aging and contemplating hearing loss. It is the best primer I’ve ever read on sound and hearing, and full of advice for people of any age to consider if they want to preserve their ability to listen to music, carry on conversations in restaurants, be capable of accurately detecting sarcasm, or listen to the presidential debates (who’d want to lose that ability?) ... I wish this book could have been read by the five or six professors I had as a student, who tried and failed to explain how hearing actually works. Mr. Owen is gifted with analogies ... Mr. Owen also gives us a wonderful insight into the world of the hard of hearing and deaf.
MixedThe Wall Street JournalMr. Isaacson is most insightful about the connections between Leonardo’s art and his scientific research ... With Mr. Isaacson, opinions are presented as facts, and conjecture masquerades as knowledge. He tells us that the 'Mona Lisa' is 'the greatest psychological portrait in history' and that the 'two most famous paintings in history' are 'The Last Supper' and the 'Mona Lisa.' Well, OK, but merely saying something doesn’t make it so ... Mr. Isaacson’s book feels cobbled together, as if written on deadline.