Reviews of Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain

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What people are saying about Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain:


"Best Books of 2020"
Barnes & Noble

"Must-Read Science Books"
Discover Magazine

"Starred review"

"Editor's Choice"
The Bookseller (UK)

"[A] best popular science book"
BBC Science Focus, March 2021

"Notable Books of 2020"
Behavioral Scientist

"Earphones Award Winner" (audiobook)
AudioFile Magazine


"I love everything about this book. The writing is crisp and intelligent. The examples of how the brain works grab your attention. I learned dozens of new insights."

“Fascinating and informative, it is popular science at its best.”
The Guardian

"In her slim but potent 'Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain,' Ms. Barrett [...] compellingly explains that much of what we thought we knew about the brain is wrong."
Wall Street Journal

"Absorbing, thought-provoking stuff."
Evening Standard

"Beautiful writing and sublime insights that will blow your mind like a string of firecrackers. If you want a rundown of the brain and its magic, start here."
David Eagleman, Stanford neuroscientist, New York Times bestselling author of Incognito and Livewired

"A deeply researched, compulsively readable, subtly philosophical tour through the human brain…. In just a few pages, Barrett dispels myths so deeply entrenched that many of us assumed they were indisputable scientific fact (goodbye, lizard brain!) And she does all of this with the effortless concision of a poet, not a word wasted…. [Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain] deserves to be read and re-read and then, just as important, to be thought about deeply."
Daniel Pink, New York Times bestselling author of Drive and When

"Highly recommended, this smart pithy primer on the brain is fascinating."
Michael Pollan (via Twitter), New York Times bestselling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and How to Change Your Mind

"Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain reads like a novel — and its main character is all of us. In fresh and lively prose, Barrett provides deep insight into what brains are for, how they operate and are programmed, how they create the 'reality' we experience, and how they ultimately produce our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Read this book! It will make you smarter about yourself, and your species."
Leonard Mlodinow, New York Times bestselling author of The Drunkard's Walk, Subliminal, and Elastic

"A smart and delightfully breezy look at the things most of us think we know about the brain, but don't."
Daniel Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness

"Barrett writes with a scientist's eye and a storyteller's heart. A must-read for anyone who has a brain."
Helen Mayberg, Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai

"Lisa Feldman Barrett is a pioneer in neuroscience and one of today’s most provocative thinkers about the mind. Get ready to have yours blown"
Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

EDITOR’S PICK. “Barrett’s pithy exploration of the mysterious brain is breezy, fun, and, most important, delivers information with a vividness that will make it actually stick in readers’ memories. This popular science book packs a lot in a small space—much like a person’s brain, appropriately.” (Adrian Liang)

“An excellent education in brain science.... Barrett, a professor of psychology at Northeastern who also has appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, clearly knows her neuroscience. However, like in How Emotions Are Made (2017), the author deftly employs metaphor and anecdote to deliver an insightful overview of her favorite subject. [...] The narrative is so short and sweet that most readers will continue to the 35-page appendix, in which the author delves more deeply, but with no less clarity, into topics ranging from teleology to the Myers-Briggs personality test to ‘Plato’s writings about the human psyche.’ Outstanding popular science.”
Kirkus (starred review)

"Valuable popular science. Barrett deftly explores how the physical workings of the brain influence human nature."
Library Journal

“One of the best short, whirlwind introductions to the human brain I’ve ever read. [Lisa Feldman Barrett is] one of the most brilliant and bold thinkers and scientists I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with.”
Lex Fridman, Podcaster and A.I. Researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"[A] must-read science book... Neuroscientist Barrett takes readers on a journey from the first earthly creatures, through the musings of ancient philosophers, and to present-day neuroscience."
Discover Magazine, November 2020

"What about that 'three-pound blob between your ears'? In seven essays about the brain and a half-size one about its evolution, [...] Barrett has crafted a well-written tribute to this wow-inducing organ."

" this brilliant book shows, [Lisa Feldman Barrett is] a gifted writer and communicator."
The Bookseller (UK)

"A radical and provocative look at a range of pervasive misconceptions, emerging discoveries, and enticing mysteries regarding our very nature as individuals and intertwined social beings. By illuminating our unimaginably complex, constantly changing brain/body networks, Barrett gets to the heart of the new understanding of who and what we are as creatures, and how much latitude and agency we have."
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), author of Full Catastrophe Living and The Healing Power of Mindfulness

"You’ll feel and be smarter, about yourself and others, as and after you read it."
Sullivan County Democrat

“[Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain] is like lifting up the hood of a car to see an engine, except that the car is you and you find an engine that doesn’t work at all like you thought it did.”
Orphic Magazine

Seven and a Half Lessons [About the Brain] is part self-help book on how to manage our own quirky brains and part manifesto on how to move forward to heal this country’s political divisions.”
New York Journal of Books

“FIVE STARS. This short, concise, readable, thought-challenging view of the complex brain will pique the reader and puzzle the mind wondering what reality really is.”
San Francisco Book Review

"Barrett's goal is to give compelling and comprehensible information to a general audience. In this production she has definitely succeeded."
AudioFile Magazine

"[An] absolute must-read. eminently accessible, informative and entertaining book about the human brain. Everyone, a layperson or an academic, can benefit from this myth-busting latest research-based popular science book..."
Ahmedabad Mirror

"A relatively quick read, albeit one with potentially profound repercussions for how many of us think the brain functions. [An] exquisite little primer.... Barrett has a knack for taking the relatively mundane, drilling down through the complex layers and exposing the innate truths at the core of reality."
Bowling Green Daily News