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Read online or Download The Man Who Wasn't There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper)
by Anil Ananthaswamy

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Penguin Publishing Group
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5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)
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18 Years



*Nominated for the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award*
*An NBC News Notable Science Book of 2015*
*Named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2015*
*A Book of the Month for Brain HQ/Posit Science*
*Selected by Forbes as a Must Read Brain Book of 2015*
*On Life Changes Network’s list of the Top 10 Books That Could Change Your Life of 2015*

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 05/25/2015
Science journalist Ananthaswamy (The Edge of Physics) skillfully inspects the bewildering connections among brain, body, mind, self, and society. To get into the details, he profiles sufferers of a range of neurological ailments, including Allen, whose Alzheimer disease has "scrambled his narrative," and the pseudonymous David, who has body integrity identity disorder and believes that he must have his leg amputated. Laurie, a schizophrenic, struggles with inner voices that taunt her and lead her to attempt suicide; she begs doctors to recognize the "unwanted new reality" that schizophrenia creates for people. Readers also meet James, who, because of his Asperger's syndrome, can't accommodate "people's notions of how he should live his life," and Graham, a Cotard's syndrome sufferer whose delusion convinced him that he was brain dead. These patients' stories help shed light on "some sliver of the self, one that has been disturbed by the disorder," and complicate current notions of what the self really is. 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. Agent: Peter Tallack, the Science Factory. (Aug.)

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