Recommended Reading for Neuroscientists
Some of these are perhaps only peripherally related to the neurosciences, but I think they all shed some light on concepts we are trying to understand in neuroscience proper.

Apprentices of Wonder: Inside the Neural Network Revolution
by William F. Allman
This is a very good book for anyone interested in learning about the diversity of interests in the neurosciences.  Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of neuroscience (e.g., neural nets, animal studies, cell cultures, etc.).  The author conducts interviews with and visits the labs of many of the most interesting researchers in their respective sub-disciplines.  It's a fascinating overview of this overwhelmingly broad field.

See also a review here

A Separate Creation: The Search for the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation
by Chandler Burr
This is perhaps one of the best books I have ever read with respect to scientific research.  The author presents a thorough and compelling account of the science (and politics) underlying the search for the basis of sexual orientation.  Chandler Burr spent years interviewing and visiting with some of the most prominent researchers (e.g., Dean Hamer, Simon LeVay, etc.) in their labs and in the field in order to shed light on the complexities of this (foolishly) taboo topic.

Conversations in the Cognitive Neurosciences
by Michael S. Gazzaniga (ed.)
This is a collection of interviews with important neuroscientists in the field that were original published in The Journal of Cognitive Neurosciences.  Chapters cover aspects of cognition including language, addiction, and learning and memory.  The discussions are fairly technical, but the conversational tone of the dialogues makes the material highly accesable.

by Desmond Morris
In addition to being a great book for new parents (or parents-to-be), it is just plain fascinating for anyone interested in developmental biology, neuroscience, and psychology.  Each chapter puts forward a question and attempts to answer it from the broad range of scientific perspectives and knowledge.  You cannot read this book without learning a lot about things your probably took for granted.

The Naked Ape
by Desmond Morris
This is less a neuroscience text than an examination of humanity from a zoological perspective.  This is a great read for those interested in evolutionary comparisons across our primate cousins.  Morris reviews the literature contrasting various features of human existence (e.g, social norms, language, sexuality, etc.) and how they came to their present form.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
by Oliver Sachs
There is no better collection of interesting neurological case studies than this series of vingettes by Oliver Sachs.  Each of these chapters could stand on its own as a lesson in neuroscience.  The book is not overly technical, but it communicates the relevant principles fairly thoroughly just the same.  It is a very easy read that gets at what makes us human.

The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence
by Carl Sagan
While this short text is sometime criticized for the fact that its high-profile author was writing outside of his discipline, this is definitely worth-while reading.  This Pulitzer Prize-winning book reviews thoughts about the evolution origins and nature of human intelligence.  Sagan also speculates about where we go from here.

The Left-Hander Syndrome: The Causes and Consequences of Left-Handedness
by Stanley Coren
Once again, this is not a neuroscience book, strictly speaking.  However, it touches on issues of development and how seeming ordinary things (e.g., handness) can have effects on seemingly unrelated phenomena (e.g., mortality rates, incidence of mental illness and mental deficits).  It does a great job of showing how difficult questions are addressed when multiple variables come into play and causality is difficult to establish.  And, or course, it is essential reading for any left-hander (like me!).

Copyright Alexplorer.
Back to the index