Monday, 9 August 2010

Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think. Differently, by Gregory Berns

One thing that might be important to know is that the title is wrong. Gregory Berns is not writing about “how to think differently”, instead the book is 90% general reflections of a less structured kind. Why must people that know an area (like neuroscience) write about so many things they don’t know about? Is it to be published that people with knowledge have to write in a simplistic way. I don’t know if it is true, but it feels like an increasing number of books are moving towards a tabloid format (short sentences and emotional outbursts).

I think Gregory is an intelligent person and I hope he get’s to write a proper book someday. When he does this it would be interesting if he put an structural and ethical filter on the idea of an “iconoclast”. To say that it is about 1. Perception 2. Fear response and 3. Social intelligence does not help very much. The ability to create something coherent would be good to add (if not any mad person is the same as a person that develop a new theory/art), to ask why the person is doing it (money, fame, fear, vision, religious conviction, etc) is also interesting to understand, etc.

Where it becomes more then just general reflections on an interesting subject is when Gregory writes about his area, neuroscience. As part of his interesting writing he (surprisingly) attaches an appendix where he spends a lot of time writing about drugs and what they can help us, or not help us with. Maybe it is too narrow for a mainstream book, but I really hope that Gregory gets an opportunity to develop his thinking on what drugs can or can not do with our brains. In such a book it will probably be healthy if he took a closer look on the pharmaceutical industry and what they are trying to do as well and what kind of people they are “creating” with the drugs they are trying to get doctors to sell.