• Proust Was a Neuroscientist

  • By: Jonah Lehrer
  • Narrated by: Dan John Miller
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-09-08
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.2 (14 ratings)

Summary

In this technology-driven age, it's tempting to believe that science can solve every mystery. After all, science has cured countless diseases and even sent humans into space. But as Jonah Lehrer argues in this sparkling debut, science is not the only path to knowledge. In fact, when it comes to understanding the brain, art got there first. Taking a group of artists - a painter, a poet, a chef, a composer, and a handful of novelists - Lehrer shows how each one discovered an essential truth about the mind that science is only now rediscovering.
We learn, for example, how Proust first revealed the fallibility of memory; how George Eliot discovered the brain's malleability; how the French chef Escoffier identified umami (the fifth taste); how Cézanne worked out the subtleties of vision; and how Gertrude Stein exposed the deep structure of language - a full half-century before the work of Noam Chomsky and other linguists. It's the ultimate tale of art trumping science.
More broadly, Lehrer shows that there's a cost to reducing everything to atoms and acronyms and genes. Measurement is not the same as understanding, and this is what art knows better than science.
An ingenious blend of biography, criticism, and first-rate science writing, Proust Was a Neuroscientist urges science and art to listen more closely to each other, for willing minds can combine the best of both, to brilliant effect.
©2008 Jonah Lehrer (P)2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mark D. Jones on 10-03-09

Excellent Book

Not sure what the others are griping about in regards to the narrator.

The book is completely fascinating, connecting some dots that I had already thought about. Amazing how it dovetails nicely with the book "On Intelligence". If you are fascinated by the mind, by how we think and perceive then this is definitely a book you want to listen to.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Caroline on 22-05-09

Art intersects science

Where art meets its application in the sinewy sinapses. Why do we hate the avante garde, learn to like it, then get bored by it and thirst for something new. Why does music move us, stock smell so good and art that approximates beat the exactitude of photography? I'm absoltely enthralled by every chapter, I think I'll just have to listen to the whole thing through at least one more time. Lehrer is surely a genius for bringing together so many disparate topics and explaining them using the latest knowledge of how our brains function.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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