An Alchemy of Mind by Diane Ackerman
The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain

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Synopsis

The most ambitious and enlightening work to date from the bestselling author of A Natural History of the Senses, An Alchemy of Mind combines an artist's eye with a scientist's erudition to illuminate, as never before, the magic and mysteries of the human mind.

Long treasured by literary readers for her uncommon ability to bridge the gap between art and science, celebrated scholar-artist Diane Ackerman returns with the book she was born to write. Her dazzling new work, An Alchemy of Mind, offers an unprecedented exploration and celebration of the mental fantasia in which we spend our days -- and does for the human mind what the bestselling A Natural History of the Senses did for the physical senses.

Bringing a valuable female perspective to the topic, Diane Ackerman discusses the science of the brain as only she can: with gorgeous, immediate language and imagery that paint an unusually lucid and vibrant picture for the reader. And in addition to explaining memory, thought, emotion, dreams, and language acquisition, she reports on the latest discoveries in neuroscience and addresses controversial subjects like the effects of trauma and male versus female brains. In prose that is not simply accessible but also beautiful and electric, Ackerman distills the hard, objective truths of science in order to yield vivid, heavily anecdotal explanations about a range of existential questions regarding consciousness, human thought, memory, and the nature of identity.
 

About Diane Ackerman

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Diane Ackerman is the best-selling author of The Zookeeper's Wife, A Natural History of the Senses, and many other books.
 
Published October 30, 2012 by Scribner. 322 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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As she wrangles with the subject of memory, how it’s gained, lost, and used, Ackerman folds some particularly interesting research into her narratives, especially when she gets into the area of shared or false memories and the fact that people are more likely to remember things they have talked a...

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BC Books

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Public interest was stirred for a while, notes Ackerman, "with many of us picturing his glia as a sort of golden mucilage, the pith of brilliance.” But the path to Einstein's brilliance, it was ultimately determined, may have stemmed from a missing Sylvian fissure, a fold running through the par...

Sep 20 2006 | Read Full Review of An Alchemy of Mind: The Marve...

Entertainment Weekly

''Imagine the brain...that mouse-gray parliament of cells, that dream factory, that petit tyrant inside a ball of bone, that huddle of neurons calling all the plays, that little everywhere, that fickle pleasuredome, that wrinkled wardrobe of selves stuffed into the skull like too many clothes...

Jun 11 2004 | Read Full Review of An Alchemy of Mind: The Marve...

Bookmarks Magazine

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Oct 21 2009 | Read Full Review of An Alchemy of Mind: The Marve...

Bookmarks Magazine

Ackerman, author of A Natural History of the Senses and Cultivating Delight, examines the "crowded chemistry lab" of the human brain through a poet’s prism.

Oct 21 2009 | Read Full Review of An Alchemy of Mind: The Marve...

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