The Accidental Mind

  • by David J. Linden
  • Narrated by Ray Porter
  • 7 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

You've probably seen it before: a human brain dramatically lit from the side, the camera circling it like a helicopter shot of Stonehenge, and a modulated baritone voice exalting the brain's elegant design in reverent tones... to which this book says: Pure nonsense.
In a work at once deeply learned and wonderfully accessible, the neuroscientist David Linden counters the widespread assumption that the brain is a paragon of design - and in its place gives us a compelling explanation of how the brain's serendipitous evolution has resulted in nothing short of our humanity.
A guide to the strange and often illogical world of neural function, The Accidental Mind shows how the brain is not an optimized, general-purpose problem-solving machine, but rather a weird agglomeration of ad-hoc solutions that have been piled on through millions of years of evolutionary history.
Moreover, Linden tells us how the constraints of evolved brain design have ultimately led to almost every transcendent human foible: our long childhoods, our extensive memory capacity, our search for love and long-term relationships, our need to create compelling narrative, and, ultimately, the universal cultural impulse to create both religious and scientific explanations. With forays into evolutionary biology, this analysis of mental function answers some of our most common questions about how we've come to be who we are. The book is published by Harvard University Press.


What the Critics Say

"This is a terrific book that accomplishes its aim of presenting a biological view of how the brain works, and does so in a charming, fetching style." (Joshua R. Sanes, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I think if you have a brain you can't help but be interested in how it works, and this book certainly offers some interesting hypotheses. I got a little fed up hearing how stupidly the brain is designed (i.e., because it isn't) and while admiring the author's measured and scientific approach, I have to say I didn't warm to him as a person. Still, connecting dreams and religion to the brain's compulsion for seamless narrative is something of a tour de force.
Read full review

- Judy Corstjens


After reading "The Self Illusion" by Bruce Hood this was the perfect follow up. Linden's text is easily accessible for non-academic seekers of knowledge and is totally fascinating.
Read full review

- Tari

Book Details

  • Release Date: 15-11-2010
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks