... delightful ... Instead of including all the scientific specifics in the book itself (which, quite honestly, could get tedious if you’re reading for pleasure), Barrett handily moves the full explanations and references to her website, sevenandahalflessons.com, and merely includes an appendix with selected details at the back of the book ... Barrett poses some interesting questions ... She writes with precision and clarity ... Barrett uses comparisons to everyday things and practices to help readers understand the brain’s complexity ... interesting concepts such as tuning (strengthening the connections between neurons) and pruning (when less-used connections weaken and die off) are presented in approachable ways ... Some topics are less fun but still worthy of consideration ... sheds some light on our most powerful organ and its intriguing processes.
Although this book deals with complex theories, it is full of fascinating examples, anecdotes and metaphors to illustrate the material whose weightiness is leavened by Barrett’s wit sprinkled liberally throughout the text. As a welcome surprise, Seven and a Half Lessons is part self-help book on how to manage our own quirky brains and part manifesto on how to move forward to heal this country’s political divisions.
Read through these thought-provoking images of the tuning and pruning by environmental influences on the myriad early neurons which ultimately sculpt the wiring within the brain. Differentiate between the process of allostasis and homeostasis and its role within the body. This short, concise, readable, thought-challenging view of the complex brain will pique the reader and puzzle the mind wondering what reality really is.
... slim but potent ... [Barrett] compellingly explains that much of what we thought we knew about the brain is wrong ... In breezy language, Ms. Barrett covers a daunting amount of territory ... This book’s brevity leaves plenty of room for questions.
... short and concise essays ... The appendix includes copious notes that further illuminate the science in each chapter ... This is valuable popular science. Barrett deftly explores how the physical workings of the brain influence human nature. The essays don’t prescribe what to think about human nature; rather, they invite readers to think about the kind of human they are or aspire to be.
An excellent education in brain science in seven short chapters and an introduction. Barrett clearly knows her neuroscience. However, like in How Emotions Are Made (2017), the author deftly employs metaphor and anecdote to deliver an insightful overview of her favorite subject ... The narrative is so short and sweet that most readers will continue to the 35-page appendix, in which the author delves more deeply, but with no less clarity, into topics ranging from teleology to the Myers-Briggs personality test to 'Plato’s writings about the human psyche.' Outstanding popular science.