"Matthew Cobb weaves a fascinating story of the historical arc of neuroscience, from the initial discovery that the brain gives rise to our minds, to the state of the art in the manipulation and control of the brain."—Russell Poldrack, professor of psychology at Stanford University
"In this engrossing book, Matthew Cobb deftly recounts the tortuous history of research on the brain, in which researchers pursue the hard problems of memory, consciousness, and volition, always limited by forced comparisons between human brains and the machines available at the time. A work of history and deep scholarship, but written in an engaging and lively way, The Idea of the Brain is optimistic about the recursive attempts of our brains to understand themselves, yet reminds us that the three most important words in science are, 'We don't know.'"—Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True
"This exquisitely well-researched and thrilling book charts an epic high-level quest to understand our deepest selves. Its scale and scope is phenomenal and leaves us with a profound sense of wonder about science and humanity as well as the brain itself. Altogether a feast."—Daniel M. Davis, author of The Beautiful Cure
"A scholarly and wonderfully entertaining guide to the advances that have driven our knowledge of the brain, and the extraordinary people who have made them."—Chris Frith, Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychology at University College London
"This is a book I wish I could have written, and one that I will be thinking about for a long time."—Maria Picciotto, professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine.
"A masterful examination of the vast history of humans trying to figure out how the brain does its tricks. The scope, sweep and insight are stunning."—Michael Gazzaniga, author of Who's In Charge?
"This fascinating history of our quest to understand the brain is deeply researched and full of entertaining nuggets. Cobb is a reliably skeptical but sympathetic guide to the murky world of mind exploration, offering plenty of diverting stories along the way. You may be no closer to understanding your brain after reading this, but your brain will be richer for it."—Gaia Vince, author of Transcendence
"Not only is this a work of phenomenal erudition, but it has the rare distinction among books on the brain of promoting no premature 'explanation' of how this astonishingly complicated organ does its job. Instead, Cobb offers an honest appraisal both of what we know and what is still a mystery. There is no better primer to one of the most profound questions facing science today: how matter creates thought and consciousness."—Philip Ball, author of Critical Mass