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Best Neuroscience Books
(Updated 2024)

Sven Woltmann
Sven Woltmann
Last update: May 27, 2024

In the following, I will introduce you to some exciting books from the field of neuroscience.

Neuroscience researches the nervous system, especially the brain, and combines biology, chemistry, physics, psychology and computer science. The aim is to understand neuronal processes and develop new treatment methods for neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Why we sleep - Matthew Walker

by Matthew Walker, PhD

Link to the book at Amazon

Dr. Matthew Walker is a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology and one of the world's leading sleep researchers. In his book, he explains the enormous importance of sleep and its effects on physical and mental health in an easily understandable way. He draws on his own research findings and numerous studies.

He explains the different phases of sleep and what they are responsible for. He describes how the biorhythm is influenced by natural and artificial light and caffeine or alcohol – and what happens in the body when you act against its natural rhythm.

You learn how the biorhythm changes in the course of life. After reading this book, parents will understand why small children do not sleep longer in the morning when you put them to bed later ... and why teenagers are not fit for school at 8:00 am – no matter how early they went to bed.

But why is good sleep so important anyway? Sleep is essential for the transfer of knowledge from short to long-term memory. Sleep promotes creativity, makes you more attractive, strengthens the immune system, prevents diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, dementia, depression, and diabetes, and reduces heart attacks.

Of course, the author also gives practical tips on improving the quality of your own sleep (e.g., by going to bed regularly or by adjusting the light conditions a few hours before going to bed).

In summary, good sleep – and therefore reading this entertaining and stimulating book – is one of the best investments you can make in your health.

Suitable as an audiobook? Yes.

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

the brainthat changes itself norman doidge

by Norman Doidge

Link to the book at Amazon

In “The Brain That Changes Itself,” psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge describes the fascinating science of neuroplasticity – the brain’s remarkable ability to adapt its physical structure and function in response to experience, learning, or injury – throughout life and into old age.

The author presents the groundbreaking work of leading scientists in this field and uses spectacular case studies to vividly illustrate how patients who have suffered developmental disorders or severe brain damage due to accidents or strokes can undergo transformative changes through innovative therapeutic approaches and sometimes - contrary to all expectations - lead an everyday life again.

And it is not only patients with brain damage who can benefit from the findings of this work – we all can: we can use the surprising findings to improve the performance of a healthy brain and maintain it into old age – as long as we support and train it properly.

The book is informative, captivating, and inspiring, offering hope for all people with neurological conditions. It is written in a way that is easy to understand, even for non-experts and is an excellent introduction to the subject.

Suitable as an audiobook? Yes.

A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence

A Thousand Brains - Jeff Hawkins

by Jeff Hawkins

Link to the book at Amazon

Jeff Hawkins is the founder of Palm Computing and Handspring – and is widely credited as the inventor of handheld computers. He uses the fortune earned through his computer companies to fund his primary passion, neuroscience.

In almost two decades of research, he developed a new theory about the functioning of the brain, human cognition, and intelligence. After numerous publications in professional articles, the author presents his "Thousand Brains" theory to a broad audience in a highly readable, popular-science form.

Hawkins reflects on how his discoveries may lead to the next breakthroughs in artificial intelligence – from purpose-driven to general AI – and whether it may develop consciousness and pose a threat to humanity.

Last, he explores the extent to which human intelligence itself poses an existential threat – by causing disasters, such as climate change and potentially nuclear wars.

The book is easy to read; a thoughtful structure and regular summaries of the completed thoughts make the profound subject easily accessible to non-neuroscientists.

If you, like me, attended AI lectures before Hawkins' time and think you know how the brain works, you will be surprised at how much has changed since then.

Suitable as an audiobook? Yes.