13 Neuroscience books for beginners (highly recommended)

13 Neuroscience books for beginners (highly recommended)

The neurosciences are a tremendously fruitful field of study that, moreover, addresses many topics of our daily lives. The point that unites these subjects is always the same: they are based on the functioning of our brain, the nervous system in general, and its interaction with the rest of the human body.

Of course, neurosciences are also closely related to psychology , since mental processes are carried out by the brain. So, for all those who love the study of human behavior, we present a selection of 10 neuroscience books to start learning about the human mind.

Neuroscience books to get started in the study of the mind

Below you will find a selection of recommended books to start studying the neurosciences

1. The Ethical Brain, by Michael Gazzaniga

This is one of the most famous neuroscience books written by Michael Gazzaniga , and it is not hard to imagine why. In it, while reviewing the general functioning of the human brain, he explains how it can explain our morality and ethics, something that totally influences our daily life and the way we relate to others.

Being Gazzaniga a great popularizer, it manages to make readers easily navigate through quite complex topics that have to do with biology and medicine.

  • You can buy it through this link.

2. Descartes’ mistake, by António Damásio

Possibly the most famous book by Portuguese neurologist António Damásio , which has quickly become a classic among books on neuroscience. It explores the question of the relationship between mind and body.

Is it true that this distinction exists, or is the mind really part of the human organism just like bones or flesh?

  • Buy it here.

3. The Secret Life of the Mind, by Mariano Sigman

In this book neuroscience and experimental psychology are brought together to give a global picture of how the brain and other structures of the nervous system work.

Although as a book on neuroscience it presents a great deal of information and all kinds of data, they are all oriented towards answering questions that have to do with day-to-day life and the way in which we experience life in its different aspects.

  • You can buy it here.

4. The Man Who Mistaken His Wife for a Hat, by Oliver Sacks

One of the best known works of neurologist Oliver Sacks, and also one of the most interesting when it comes to familiarizing yourself with his work. Through very accessible and easy-to-read texts, O liver Sacks tells stories about people whose lives were changed by a change in the way their brain works .

It is therefore a collection of writings that talk about case studies, not so much general statistics about how the human mind usually works, which means that The Man Who Mistaken His Wife for a Hat has a number of protagonists with whom it is impossible not to empathise. A human touch that is not very often found in neuroscience books, and which is appreciated.

  • You can purchase it through this link.

5. Ghosts in the Brain, by V. S. Ramachandran and S. Blakeslee

Vilayanur S. Ramachandran is a well-known researcher as a result of his research on phantom limbs, and in this book he offers an excellent compendium of what we know about the brain and the nervous system.

One of the most suitable neuroscience books for people who want to get started in the field.

  • It is a discontinued book, but you can learn more about this work here.

6. In Search of Memory, by Eric Kandel

Eric Kandel is one of the most renowned scientists in the field of neurophysiology , and in this book he explores one of the topics he has studied the most: memory, the element of our mind that makes us maintain our own identity and understand our life as a story.

This is one of the most complete books on neuroscience and it also includes different discoveries related to all kinds of cognitive sciences.

  • You can buy it here.

7. Brain and Freedom, by Joaquín M. Fuster

Is our brain a machine? Is there something in us that gives us the ability to choose freely? This is a book about neurosciences, yes, but very much related to philosophy, and therefore it addresses questions that directly affect our conception of what a human being is.

A particularly interesting work for people interested in both the natural sciences and philosophy and literature.

  • If you want to buy it, you can do it through this link.

8. The New Brain Map, by Rita Carter

This is an excellent illustrated guide to the brain and all its component structures . It shows some significant findings about what the brains of some people with disorders look like and even the differences between men and women on a neuroanatomical level.

One of the most recommended neuroscience books for those people who like to learn visually.

  • Buy it here.

9. The Executive Brain, by Elkhonon Goldberg

Among the functions that take place in our brain, there are some that are typical of human beings . The ability to think long-term, to use language, to plan complex tasks and to make decisions by choosing from an almost infinite number of options.

And it turns out, moreover, that in all these processes there is a part of the nervous system that is particularly important: the frontal lobe. In this book we talk about great discoveries that have been made about this area of the brain.

  • You can buy it here.

10. The Universe of Consciousness, by G. Edelman and G. Tononi

An old acquaintance: this book already appeared in the list of 5 books to give to a psychologist at Christmas 2014… and it is also an excellent book on neurosciences. Among its pages it explores a much researched topic from the philosophy of the mind: how is it possible that a set of cells can give rise to consciousness, which is something totally private and subjective?

Gerald Edelman and Giulio Tononi offer an overview of their ideas on this topic, and also go into some philosophical issues. Of course, this is a reading for people who already have a minimal idea of how the human brain works, and that’s why we put it at the bottom of the neuroscience book list.

  • You can buy it here.

Neuroscience Handbooks (for advanced readers)

So far we have reviewed ten books dedicated to neuroscience, with an informative style and for an audience not necessarily learned in the matter.

Now, if you are a student of psychology, biology or medicine, and you want to study the nervous system in depth, we propose two very complete manuals on neurosciences .

11. Fundamentals of Neuroscience. Laboratory Manual (Various authors)

A handbook frequently present among the compulsory readings in the psychology and medical faculties in Spain. 300 pages where it is clearly explained how our nervous system works, our brain and the biological bases of human behavior.

  • More information and purchase option in this link.

12. Cognitive Neuroscience (Diego Redolar Ripoll)

Probably the best-known neuroscience manual. A true guide for students of neuroscience . If your goal is to have a reference guide, this is the work that should not be missing from your personal library.

  • Buy it here.

13. What is intelligence? (various authors)

This book offers a review of one of the most important concepts in the world of psychology and neuroscience: intelligence. In its pages, it talks about the different facets of this set of mental abilities, its neurobiological elements and the way in which research is carried out in this field.

It is an ideal work for people who are looking for an introduction to this field.

  • If you’re interested, you can buy it here.

One more book: Psychologically speaking, by Adrián Triglia, Bertrand Regader and Jonathan García-Allen

It is not a book on neurosciences strictly speaking, but a journey on the science of behavior for all audiences . If you want to discover many mysteries of the human mind, this work should be in your personal library.

  • You can buy it here.

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