Related to This Book

Idiot Brain

What Your Head Is Really Up To

Dean Burnett (Author, Cardiff University)

Overview | Formats

A neuroscientist's delightful tour of our mysterious, mischievous, entirely fallible gray matter.

It's happened to all of us at some point. You walk into the kitchen, or flip open your laptop, or stride confidently up to a lectern, filled with purpose—and suddenly haven't the foggiest idea what you’re doing. Welcome to your idiot brain.

Yes, it is an absolute marvel in some respects—the seat of our consciousness, the pinnacle (so far) of evolutionary progress, and the engine of all human experience—but your brain is also messy, fallible, and about 50,000 years out-of-date. We cling to superstitions, remember faces but not names, miss things sitting right in front of us, and lie awake at night while our brains replay our greatest fears on an endless loop.

Yet all of this, believe it or not, is the sign of a well-meaning brain doing its best to keep you alive and healthy. In Idiot Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett celebrates blind spots, blackouts, insomnia, and all the other downright laughable things our minds do to us, while also exposing the many mistakes we've made in our quest to understand how our brains actually work. Expertly researched and entertainingly written, this book is for everyone who has wondered why their brain appears to be sabotaging their life, and what on earth it is really up to.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • July 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-25378-8
  • 6.5 × 9.6 in / 336 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding Canada, the rest of the British Commonwealth and the European Union.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverIdiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To


Endorsements & Reviews

“Entertaining . . . offers illuminating discussions of the way the memory works, of fear and panic attacks, of our susceptibility to being conned or depressed, and of the marvels of the human senses.” — Wall Street Journal

“We love a good brain book, and Idiot Brain by Dean Burnett might just be our new favorite.” — Bookish

“A neuroscientist's irreverent guide to the brain. . . . Burnett manages to both entertain and inform in engaging ways that would benefit the performance of the most humorless pedant.” — Kirkus (starred review)

“British neuroscientist Burnett, author of the Guardian blog Brain Flapping, packs an incredible amount of information into an accessible package with this breezy, charming collection of pop neuroscience musings on 'how the human brain does its own thing despite everything the modern world can throw at it.'” — Publishers Weekly

“In Idiot Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett doesn't just explain the weird inner workings of our brain's most bizarre bits and pieces in terms that we can understand, he explains them in terms we can laugh at, and relate to. If you've ever wanted to sit down with a neuroscientist, have a few drinks, ask a zillion questions, and laugh until you snorted, read this book.” — David McRaney, best-selling author of You Are Not So Smart

“I really admire Dean Burnett’s work. He’s very compelling and wise and rational. You know you can trust him and you know it’s going to be a great read.” — Jon Ronson, best-selling author of So You've Been Publicly Shamed

“An entertaining romp through the science of our mental processes . . . fascinating.” — Gaia Vince, author of Adventures in the Anthropocene

Also by Dean Burnett All

  1. Book CoverHappy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why