10 fascinating books about the brain…written by those who know it best

Today is World Brain Day! And we are celebrating with an appropriate series of book reviews. We will  be exploring 10 excellent books about the brain. But these are not just any set of brain books. These are books written by those who know it best. As neurologists, neuroscientists, and psychologists, the authors spend, or have spent, their lives studying the brain.

By lifesciencedb – http://lifesciencedb.jp/bp3d/, CC BY-SA 2.1 jp, Link

But, can anyone dare to make a list of 10 best books on any subject at all? We understand this is a very tall order, and that no book list can ever do complete justice to any topic. And there are literally hundreds of excellent books about the brain, written by experts and by laypeople. And yes, many of these books are yet to grace our bookshelf. With that caveat, we came up with some sort of criteria to guide, and indeed justify, our 10 choices.

Brain. GreenFlames09 on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/greenflames09/100781977

Top of our criteria is simply…the book has to be readable. It has to be easily accessible to lay and expert audiences alike. Unfortunately, many great books fall at this simple hurdle. The book must also be a gripping read. You may even say it has to be a brain-centred thriller. The author therefore has to be a remarkable story-teller, adept at narrating gripping, edge-of-the-seat, twist-in-the-tale, stories. It is also important that the book gives readers invaluable glimpses in to the mystery of the brain. It must explain, in some way, what makes the brain actually tick. And finally, the book must let the reader into the lives of the people who are, or have been, affected by the diverse disorders that afflict the brain. Or it must take us into the world of those elite few, those brains seem to operate beyond the limits of human comprehension.

Human Brain on White Background. _DJ_ on Flikr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/flamephoenix1991/8376271918

Below then is the list of our 10 fascinating books about the brain!



Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole

by Alan H. Ropper


The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

by Oliver Sacks


The Mind of a Mnemonist

by A.R. Luria


My Stroke of Insight

by Jill Taylor


The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind

by Barbara Lipska


Phantoms in the Brain

by V.S. Ramachandran



by Helen Thompson


A Portrait of the Brain

by Adam Zeman


The Nocturnal Brain

by Guy Leschziner


Islands of Genius

by Darold Treffert


You are probably pleased to see your own favourites in this list. But it is equally likely you are fuming that this list falls short of your expectations. Why not drop your own list of top 10 brain books in our comments section. In any case, stay with us then over the next few weeks as we go through our list. And we will start, naturally, with Oliver Sacks!

Normal Human Brain. NIH Image Gallery on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nihgov/26680098405

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