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Mind Wide Open.

MIND WIDE OPEN. Steven Johnson. 2004. Read by Alan Sklar. 7 cds. 8 hrs. Tantor Media. 1-4001-0116-6. $29.99. Cardboard; content, author, reader notes. A

Brain science and its applications are the topics of this excellent effort to help listeners interpret what the science has to offer. Johnson says, "Modern neuroscience presents us with a new grammar for understanding of the mind." He shapes his narrative as a personal quest, visiting brain researchers who try to help students focus their attention and others who study such elements as facial expressions. He reviews studies such as those that explore why people laugh. He put himself through the experience of going through an MRI machine and had his brain "photographed" as he actually shaped a sentence in his writing. Again and again, he juxtaposes the traditional Freudian and fresher Darwinian models and compares their vocabularies and practices (e.g., talking vs. chemical cures: id-ego-superego vs. left-right brain; endorphins: modules ...). He believes that both approaches offer valuable insights; he encourages listeners to "be a better user of your brain" by learning about the new studies.

Sklar has a pleasant voice and is sensitive to the need to vary tone and pace when he narrates so much informative text. Minor criticism: shorter, more tightly focused chapters would have improved listening quality. Edna Boardman, Libn, Bismarck, ND

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Author:Boardman, Edna
Article Type:Audiobook Review
Date:May 1, 2005
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