As soon as people find out that I am a neuropsychologist, an expression of strangeness is drawn on their faces, as if they had just heard that I am a Martian or something similar. But once the initial surprise is over, invariably the same thing happens: they start asking me all sorts of questions relating to the human mind. Whether I am at a party, in a taxi, or in line at a bank, people want to know what they can do to solve their various problems.
All these questions have a common denominator: they refer to how we think and behave in our daily lives; in short, they refer to life itself. Our behaviour is the software that runs on a hardware, a physical support that is none other than the brain .
The organ of the human mind is full of secrets
This organ of approximately 1400 grams and 86 billion neurons is what makes it possible for us to do everything we do, whether it is chewing gum, playing tennis, contemplating a landscape, solving a mathematical riddle, writing poetry, and even the very development of art and science as we know them.
In the last 20 years, more progress has been made in understanding how the brain works than in all of human history. In this book, I aim to bring some of this knowledge to the reader and help him/her make decisions based on a better understanding of how the brain works.
Like any other part of the body, the brain does its work according to its own idiosyncrasy. By reading this book, the reader will become familiar with these patterns of functioning, and will be able to better understand the behind-the-scenes of their particular way of thinking and behaving in their daily lives.
I am convinced that the knowledge of how the brain performs its feats is extremely useful, since it allows us to introduce those small changes often unsuspected but always necessary for us to lead a happier and more productive life.
Like a walk through a great and beautiful city, this book was conceived as a guided tour through the streets and nooks and crannies of the human mind. Along the way, the reader will get to know all the places of interest and the most important points. You can stop and stay longer at any place you like, since each chapter is relatively independent from the others , which also allows you to open the book anywhere and start reading from there.
All the facts about the brain
Why do we tend to believe we are the absolute owners of the truth? What is prejudice and how does it affect us? Is it true that we cannot pay attention to two things at the same time? Why is it so difficult to overcome a love break-up? Why do we often act against our own interests? How does marketing manage to manipulate our emotions? Can we do anything to be happier?
These are just some of the questions that are addressed during the journey that this work proposes. It also explores how mental illness can damage the brain, and along the way some deep-rooted myths and lies among people and society in general are dismantled.
I trust that the reader friend will want to have this book always at hand, that he will find it entertaining but also that it will help him to clarify many issues. I hope that when you have read just a few pages you will be irremediably tempted to read it all, and don’t forget to pay attention to the little tricks and strategies that are proposed at the end of each chapter; it is my wish that they will lead you to a fuller and more efficient life.