Summary

What is it like to be a dog? A bat? Or a dolphin? To find out, neuroscientist Gregory Berns and his team began with a radical step: they taught dogs to go into an MRI scanner - completely awake. They discovered what makes dogs individuals with varying capacities for self-control, different value systems, and a complex understanding of human speech. And dogs were just the beginning.
In What It's Like to Be a Dog, Berns explores the fascinating inner lives of wild animals from dolphins and sea lions to the extinct Tasmanian tiger. Much as Silent Spring transformed how we thought about the environment, so What It's Like to Be a Dog will fundamentally reshape how we think about - and treat - animals. Groundbreaking and deeply humane, it is essential listening for animal lovers of all stripes.
©2017 Gregory Berns (P)2017 Tantor
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Critic reviews

"An impressive overview of modern neurology and the still-unanswered issues raised by our treatment of our fellow living creatures." ( Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Gillian on 23-03-18

If You Were Disappointed In HOW DOGS LOVE US--

Chances are that you'll be far better satisfied with What It's Like To Be A Dog (even though the title here is almost as misleading as the former).
Berns's new book is warmer and with more anecdotes, but it does wander here and there, and it can be quite technical at times (ya wanna know how an fMRI works? here ya go!).
I gave it 4-stars because I did enjoy it. It starts with dogs but also touches on sea lions with seizure difficulties, sea lions with no place to go. There are experiments with now tragically extinct animals. And there are dolphins!
Dogs are treated to the (in my opinion, because I flunked it horribly, profane:) Marshmallow Test, and the results are discussed in a technical manner but with some humor. And the book ends with our odd concepts/misconceptions of animal ethics. It'll make you think, make you appreciate your bond with your animals.
Sure, it has a lot of science, but there's a tad more heart and soul here.
Now if you'll excuse me: I know more about what my dogs felt (it's less subjective with fMRI proof) when they were still blessing my life, but now I have to figure out what the heck my cats are up to! :)

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101 of 105 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Patricia S on 06-01-18

Quite sciencey!

I'll admit it freely; I picked this book up wanting a happy, informative, feel-good piece of nonfiction about how dogs perceive humans. I got that ... kind of. Gregory Berns clearly knows his field, and his research appears very thorough to a non-scientist. I am a non-scientist. I was able to understand the majority of Berns' experimentation with dogs and MRI scanners, and to visualize most of what was said, given having only as-seen-on-t.v. ideas of the equipment specified. However, as a non-scientist, the science didn't really *interest* me very much and I found it a bit too detailed and ... well, sciencey for me. This being said, any student of medicine or biology would eat this up with a spoon! Berns is understandable and thorough, and he not only explores dog brains, but the brains of extinct animals, dolphins, and Australian marsupials. The book was VERY informative, and although I wouldn't re-read it, I'm glad I spent the time listening to it.

The narrator was excellent. It felt as if he read the entire thing to me in one sitting, without even a bathroom break. His voice is smooth, pleasant and well-modulated, and I (a former English teacher and proofreader) did not notice any mispronunciations of words that could have in ANY way detracted from the information presented.

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86 of 90 people found this review helpful

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