Sep 18

Book Review: Unthinkable

Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World's Strangest BrainsUnthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World’s Strangest Brains by Helen Thomson

This is a good book for any fans of neurology studies who has read about case studies of people with really odd brains and wondered what the people themselves were really like. From the woman who gets lost in her own home to the man who believed that he was dead, these people are really unusual. Some are even unique.

I heard about this book from a friend who told me about the woman who gets lost in her own home. Since I was born with a below-average sense of direction, I was hoping that by using her coping strategies I could become a better navigator. Some of them won’t work for me, but others I was already doing. Thomson also talks to memory experts, synesthetes, and people with various delusions about what it’s like to live with their disorder or ability.

Thomson is a pretty good interviewer, and I enjoyed the narrator (I got this as an audiobook). I had hoped to have more of a takeaway, like, how can I use this information in my own life, but that’s not really what this book is about. It just kind of skims the surface of each of these unusual brains, describing them and what their doctors know about the underlying brain structure that causes it, but not getting in to deep to therapeutic suggestions.

I recommend this book for people who like to read about neurology and psychology, but who aren’t actually neurologists or psychologists. Think of it as a series of descriptive articles/interviews collated around the theme of “people with unusual brains.”

View all my reviews

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