Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Me, Myself and Why: Searching for the science of self - book overview

Me, myself and why: searching for the science of self is a 2014 book by science writer / journalist Jennifer Ouellette.

The book uses parts of Ouelette’s biography to work through the three parts of the book. The first section Me – covers the basis for who we are.  The second part covers myself – how we perceive our self image; the last part why – explores reasons for what we are here for.
Each chapter now briefly summarised:

Prologue introduces Ouelette’s story and the rationale for writing the book.
1) What’s bred into the bone discusses the history of genetics and its contribution to (the nature part) of who we are.

           2)  Uncharted territory is a quick romp through the history of neuroscience.

           3)   Moveable types covers some of the ‘nurture’ part of what makes us who we are. The premises of psychology and personality are introduced and discussed.

       4) Three and I’m under the table uses individual’s reactions and tolerance / intolerance to alcohol to discuss why we are all individuals. There is no one exactly like me.

      5) My so-called second life raises the issue of virtual identities, the virtual me. Implications and possibilities are discussed.

      6) Born this way explores gendered identity, what makes us a man or a woman and leads into discussions on relationships between the sexes.

      7) Feed you head uses LSD to explore role of neurotransmitters  and how they work in our brains, contributing to who we are.
       8) Ghost in the machine looks into what is actually in our brains – our personality, our soul our all? Or not.

       9) The accidental fabulist brings things to a close with how our individual narratives, the life we lead contributes to who we are.

The book is written in a conversational style covering a wide range of topics. What it does well is introduce lay people to a range of contemporary understandings on what makes us tick.

The book has a comprehensive bibliography of over 50 pages and an index.

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