It’s taken a couple of weeks to cross the Atlantic, clear customs, and get through the warehouses… Mind Hacks is now in stock at Amazon UK, with a dispatch time listed of 3-4 days. And if you order now, you get 30% off.
Buy Mind Hacks at Amazon UK, and get it in time for Christmas.
(Also available to purchase from Amazon.com, currently at 34% off. You’ll need to order soon if you want to get it as a gift.)
Read on for the sales bit.
Have I mentioned the fine gift qualities possessed by this book? Short easy-to-digest sections of only a few pages each, perfect for post-indulgent-lunch quiet time. Experiments to try on family over dinner. Amaze your friends and confound your enemies!
Okay, the hard sell doesn’t suit me.
Have a look at the 8 free sample hacks instead. You’ll get 100 of these. Each starts with an experiment you can perform either immediately or online, or something to observe. We then go a little deeper, and explain what’s happened in terms of more general brain behaviour. Using this, you can make up your own experiments, or ensure that whatever you’re designing or building next works the way our brains work–or read just out of interest. Along the way we’ve included facts you may find interesting, and places to go for further reading. It shouldn’t stop at the book, in other words.
No previous neuroscience experience necessary, just a general curiousity. We use plain english–but at the same time we don’t believe people are scared of new words (as some general science books seem to). We’ve used the jargon but explained it, and cross-referenced extensively so you can start reading anywhere.
The topics covered go from vision and other forms of perception, to the construction of language, to memory and learning, to the continual mimicry of other people’s gestures and emotions. That last one is what’s fun to try in meetings and over dinner, by the way, to see how long it takes for whoever you’re speaking with to scratch their nose after you start doing it.
Just as important is what you won’t find: There’s nothing explicitly about complex conscious behaviour in the book. Although you’ll find hacks that influence the information that consciousness receives, in general we’ve avoided topics that don’t give you a greater understanding about what’s going on in that grey lump. So no how-to-revise-for-exam hacks, no neurolinguistic programming, and no trepanation. These topics tend to have their own frameworks for understanding them, and their own rules of thumb.
These complex behaviours, however, all have something in common: They operate as part of the brain and they depend on these same basic, moment-by-moment features, and that’s what we investigate. Hopefully we’ll give you enough to start making some of your own conclusions.
Actually, we’ll give you enough to start going a bit loopy and seeing quirks of your brain in every tiny thing that happens. “Ah, that’s why I see streaks of light, being driven in the dark!,” “Ah, those fenceposts are too close for my attentional resolution when I look at them just off-centre!”–that’s what Tom and I started doing, over the summer. It’s fun. Steven Johnson, in the Foreword [PDF] refers to this as “recreational neuroscience.” I think that’s spot on.