Many books claim that the author will be funny but until you start reading, it’s hard to know if that author’s sense of humor will work for you. As soon as I started this, I could tell that Ouellette was an author whose writing style appeals to my sense of humor. Although I’m still working on my ability to describe humor well, I think the humor in this book could be described as dry, intelligent, and surprising. I also immediately liked her inclusion of personal stories. The relationship between her research and her life made the material she covered even more interesting. I occasionally felt like she was oversharing about her life, but this wasn’t too much of a problem.The material she chose to cover surprised me, including sections on genetic components of alcoholism and the impact of drugs on our brain. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked being surprised. I ended up loving it though, since I’ve read many books on the science of the mind and this is one of the first I’ve read in a while which included much research I hadn’t heard about before.
One of my favorite parts of this book was learning lots of fascinating and surprising fun facts. However, the author started with material I knew very well and I didn’t love her explanations. I often felt she was cramming too much information into too little space, at the expense of clarity and accuracy. The fact that she explained the material I knew poorly makes me mistrust her explanation of the new-to-me material as well. I also disliked the organization. Although the subsections of each chapter connected to the theme of the chapter, transitions between subsections and transitions between chapters felt abrupt, almost random. Despite the occasionally cramped explanations and less than ideal organization, the material this book covered was fascinating and it made for an easy read. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in the science of the mind or non-fiction with lots of fun facts.This review first published on Doing Dewey.