Monday, December 21, 2015

Tales From Both Sides of the Brain

Book 74 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from September 1 - October 14

Tales from Both Sides of the Brain by Michael S. Gazzaniga


My Opinion
I spent so much time reading this and am relieved it's over so I don't want to spend a lot of time reviewing it.

I didn't one-star it because there were moments of high interest but overall, it was very very dry.  And it's not a lack of intelligence or interest on my part; it's more of a "what's the purpose of this book?" kind of thing.  If the only ones to enjoy/understand it are the ones who lived it, why write it?  

This book isn't the first time I've heard about how these discoveries couldn't happen today because of all the red tape.  It's understandable - nobody wants experimentation without standards - but it's frustrating as well to think that someone's "light bulb" moment today just might lead to something years in the future.  And they were able to get to know their patients by studying them in their homes (getting a trailer of their own when researchers in their homes became too intrusive) and taking them on outings, another thing that would never happen today due to time and funding constraints.

The brain is a fascinating thing.  For me, although there were little nuggets of interesting things, most of this book was not.

A Few Quotes from the Book
"More generally, those of us who have spent a life in science running large labs wonder how it all keeps going...there can be dry periods, dull periods, nonfunded periods. Occasionally, however, something - sometimes it's serendipity, sometimes it's an actual hypothesized experiment - comes along and works out. Instantly, all the mundane days dissolve into glee and excitement."

"The tug-of-war between taking risks to do something new and staying with the tried-and-true seemed ever present. While I think all of us usually prime ourselves for new possibilities, it is others who bring them to us."

"I believe that things just happen in life, and pretty much after the fact, we make up a story to make it all seem rational. We all like simple stories that suggest a causal chain to life's events. Yet randomness is ever present."

"In ideal science, replication is key and a virtue, and everyone warmly collaborates. But science conducted by mere mortals often falls short of this ideal."

"Techniques are important in science. What's more important, however, is using them on important questions."

"I have discovered in life that I can be wrong, then dead wrong, and then so wrong it's hilarious."

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