Super-quick book review: Reading in the Brain
I just finished reading this utterly fascinating book, Reading in the Brain, by Stanislas Dehaene, who is a French neuroscientist who either writes excellent English, or had some help from his editor/ghost-writer. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if he wrote the English himself. This guy is also studies language, and has an apparent Eastern European ancestry, so who knows how many languages he's fluent in?
Anyway, I super-mega-ultima-recommend this book. Anyone interested in the brain, human consciousness, human evolution/origins, language, learning, memetics/culture, etc. should absolutely hunt this book down and read it.
I have to go to work right now, which is why this is a super-quick review. But something someone said in another thread sparked me to write about this to my fellow RRers.
I disagree with Dehaene's superficial dismissal of the concept of memes, but by understanding how a written symbol gets translated into *understanding* in the brain, this book will help you understand not only how reading works, but how the human mind interfaces with the elements of culture, and is changed by it, and in turn changes it.
I had so many mind-blowing experiences reading this book. That is the main reason I recommend it so strongly. This guy is a real scientist, and he explains in great detail how the brain reads culture, and he doesn't dress it up in any mumbo jumbo, but at the same time, it's very easy to follow along.
Again, any of you rational responders who want to understand how the mind works, e.g. the religious mind as well as the rational mind, get this book.
He has another book on numbers/mathematics, which I now desperately want to read, but can't afford it. (Hmm, I should start one of those wishlist things.)