Helen Thomson - Unthinkable - Hodder & Stoughton

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Hardback £20.00
    More information
    • ISBN:9781473611740
    • Publication date:22 Feb 2018
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781473611764
    • Publication date:22 Feb 2018

Unthinkable

An Extraordinary Journey Through the World's Strangest Brains

By Helen Thomson

  • Paperback
  • £9.99

How the mind works -- everything from memory to emotion, navigation to creativity -- explained in nine extraordinary human stories

'Wonderfully clear, fluent and eye-opening' THE TIMES

'A stirring scientific journey, a celebration of human diversity and a call to rethink the "unthinkable"' NATURE

'An utterly fascinating romp around the nether regions of the human mind' BIG ISSUE


IMAGINE . . . getting lost in a one-room flat; seeing auras; never forgetting a moment; a permanent orchestra in your head; turning into a tiger; life as an out-of-body experience; feeling other people's pain; being convinced you are dead; becoming a different person overnight.

Our brains are far stranger than we think. We take it for granted that we can remember, feel emotion, navigate, empathise and understand the world around us, but how would our lives change if these abilities were dramatically enhanced - or disappeared overnight?

Award-winning science writer Helen Thomson has spent years travelling the world tracking down incredibly rare brain disorders. In Unthinkable she tells the stories of nine extraordinary people. From the man who thinks he's a tiger to the doctor who feels the pain of others just by looking at them, their experiences illustrate how the brain can shape our lives in unexpected and, in some cases, brilliant and alarming ways.

Delving into the rich histories of these conditions, exploring the very latest research and cutting-edge medical techniques, Thomson explains the workings of our consciousness, our emotions, our creativity and even the mechanisms that allow us to understand our own existence.

Story by remarkable story, Unthinkable takes us on an unforgettable journey through the human brain. Discover how to forge memories that never disappear, how to grow an alien limb and how to make better decisions. Learn how to hallucinate and how to make yourself happier in a split second. Find out how to avoid getting lost, how to see more of your reality, even how exactly you can confirm you are alive. Think the unthinkable.

Biographical Notes

Helen Thomson is a writer and consultant with New Scientist. She has also written for the Guardian, Daily Mail, BBC Future and Psychologies and has won various awards for her journalism.

Her research has taken her from coffee with five psychopathic mass murderers in Broadmoor to poking around in the Large Hadron Collider. She has exclusively revealed plans for the world's first head transplant, learned how to rule at roulette, had her fat zapped, scrubbed up for a cutting-edge prostate cancer operation and watched a paralysed man walk for the first time using a mind-controlled exoskeleton. But her greatest fascination remains writing about the brain, especially those that don't look like everyone else's.

Helen has a BSc in Neuroscience and an MSc in Science Communication. She lives in London. This is her first book.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781473611771
  • Publication date: 10 Jan 2019
  • Page count: 336
  • Imprint: John Murray
This wonderfully clear, fluent, eye-opening book explores what happens when the mind misbehaves: distance is distorted, memory plays tricks, people hear in colour and see in music. Helen Thomson is the science teacher you wish you'd had at school . . . The unruliness of the misfiring brain is what makes Unthinkable so fascinating and so frightening . . . Thomson's book repays careful reading. Don't skip the science to get on to the well-I-never case histories. You need both together. And when the doctors Thomson interviews conclude, at the end of their examinations, that they simply cannot explain the weird workings of the brain, it isn't a "dunno" of defeat, but of wonder — THE TIMES
A stirring scientific journey, a celebration of human diversity and a call to rethink the 'unthinkable' — NATURE
Imagine turning into a tiger. Or getting permanently lost in your own one bedroom home. It sounds like the stuff of nightmares - but this is the engrossing subject of Thomson's exploration of extraordinary brains. With flair and empathy, the author sees her subjects in the context of their everyday lives, allowing us to marvel at their humanity . . . accessible, well researched, thought-provoking. Like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Unthinkable offers us a wondrous array of rare and weird disorders...This lucid and compelling book not only celebrates the incredible machinery we call the brain, it's also full of insights and invaluable tips. Thomson tells us how to forge memories that never disappear; how to grow an alien limb. And don't forget to make an animal noise next time you turn off the gas hob - it'll help you remember you've switched it off later in the day. We are our brains, and they are stranger than we think — TATLER
Refreshingly personal... humane and often humorous — EVENING STANDARD
Exceptional... From seeing auras and turning into a tiger, to waking up 'dead' and being able to remember every single day of your life in vivid detail, award-winning science journalist Thomson investigates wondrously rare and strange brain disorders in this terrific debut. While acknowledging her debt to the late, great Oliver Sacks, Thomson sets out to do things t differently by meeting her nine subjects not in clinical environments but as they live their daily lives with extraordinary brains. Theirs are mystery stories, spellbinding and true." — BOOKSELLER, Science Book of the Month
By including both clear explanations of research and interviews with her subjects about their lived experience, Thomson shows how our own brains might try to make sense of the world in the same ways, with fun experiments to trick ourselves into hallucinating or even believing we've an alien limb — Press Association
Fun facts are what make popular science popular. Helen Thomson's first book has a ready supply of them, and she is good at giving them context . . . there is much of interest here — Sunday Telegraph
By including both clear explanations of recent research and interviews with her subjects about their lived experience, Thomson show how our own brains might try to make sense of the world — SCOTSMAN
Thomson brings intellectual rigour to each subject, discussing history, causes, treatment and more, in what amounts to an utterly fascinating romp around the nether regions of the human mind — Big Issue
By the end of her journey Helen Thomson had certainly persuaded me to see the world differently — Observer
John Murray Learning

Winning

Rob Moore
Authors:
Rob Moore

What separates the most successful sportsmen, politicians, businessmen and artists from their peers? Skill and talent are vital components of success but lasting attainments can only be achieved when coupled with a truly focused, flexible and determined mental attitude. Rob Moore, bestselling author of MONEY, takes a deep dive through the history of ambition, entrepreneurship and competition to reveal the secrets behind the beliefs that will change your life forever.

Yellow Kite

Fight

Hazel Gale
Authors:
Hazel Gale
Two Roads

Outer Order Inner Calm

Gretchen Rubin
Authors:
Gretchen Rubin
Hodder & Stoughton

How to Hold a Grudge

Sophie Hannah
Authors:
Sophie Hannah

Being someone who holds grudges is seen by many as a bad thing, but what if our grudges, when managed correctly, are good for us? What if they can act as a series of stepping stones, pointing us in the right direction? What if they can ward off danger, like charms on a charm bracelet? Look no further for the ultimate guide on how we need to acknowledge, examine and sometimes embrace our grudges in order to live our best possible lives.

Teach Yourself

Your Brain and You

Nicky Hayes
Authors:
Nicky Hayes

Most general knowledge about the brain and its workings is very dated, drawing on studies from the first part of the previous century or even earlier. However, the advent of brain scanning which allows the study of the ordinary working brain, rather than just dead ones or people having brain surgery, has resulted in some amazing new developments that contribute immensely to our general social understanding of people and how they work. Written by Dr Nicky Hayes, bestselling author of Understand Psychology, Your Brain and You is a beginner's guide to neuropsychology. It takes you through every aspect of how your brain works, from nervous systems and brain structures to neural transmission and neural correlates. You will discover how it all began, how it works, how we see, do things, hear and experience the outside world. Explore memories, relationships, emotions, decision-making, sleep, consciousness and common disorders such as dyslexia, dysgraphia & dyscalculia. As with all Teach Yourself books, it is clearly structured, packed full of practical examples, and designed to make it easy to learn the essentials you really need to know.ABOUT THE SERIESPeople have been learning with Teach Yourself since 1938. With a vast range of practical how-to guides covering language learning, lifestyle, hobbies, business, psychology, and self-help, there's a Teach Yourself book for everything you want to do. Join more than 60 million people who have reached their goals with Teach Yourself, and never stop learning.

Nicholas Brealey Publishing

Defining You

Fiona Murden
Authors:
Fiona Murden
Sceptre

Lost and Found

Jules Montague
Authors:
Jules Montague

*Irish Bestseller**Telegraph bestseller* An unforgettable book for fans of Henry Marsh and Atul Gawande about how we lose ourselves and those around us - and how we can be found again.Who do we become when our minds misbehave? If a loved one changes as a result of a brain disorder, are they still the same person? Could a brain disorder enhance your identity rather than damage it? From dementia and brain injury to sleep disorders, coma, and multiple personality disorder, leading neurologist and journalist Dr Jules Montague explores what remains of the person left behind when the pieces of their mind go missing. Along the way she answers fascinating questions about how we remember, think and behave. Why do some memories endure and others fade? Why do you sometimes forget why you went into a room? And what if rather than losing memories, your mind creates false ones - are they still yours, and do they still make you, you?'This is a book for anyone wanting to understand the human brain and personhood; it is a book for anyone with a loved one with dementia and for those of us who fear dementia... Montague takes the reader on an exquisite journey into the human brain and beyond that, to the metaphysics of personhood... Occasionally we come across a physicist or economist who, despite their subject matter, can stop you in your tracks. They reel you in without you realising. Montague is a neurologist who does exactly that. She has a rare gift: she makes her craft look simple... Throughout this book Montague displays a maturity and wisdom not always observed in clinicians or indeed any other kind of human.' Irish Times'A profoundly moving, revelatory book... Like the late Oliver Sacks, Jules Montague writes about bizarre cases. ...And yet, she is also writing about what it is to be human and the surprising fragility of our sense of self.' Daily Mail

John Murray

That's What She Said

Joanne Lipman
Authors:
Joanne Lipman
Yellow Kite

A Beginner's Guide to Losing Your Mind

Emily Reynolds
Authors:
Emily Reynolds

'A really clear, funny, useful guide to mental health.' Keith Stuart, author of A Boy Made of Blocks'Warm, welcoming and wise.' Red magazine'This is a funny, brutal, kind, sobering, remarkably brave and clear-eyed book. Compelling and necessary.' Warren Ellis, author of Normal, Gun Machine and Transmetropolitan'Emily Reynolds is a brilliant writer on an important subject. And hilarious too.' Adam Rutherford'This book isn't just brilliantly written and welcoming in its tone; it's honest, practical and important. It is going to help so many people - including friends and family who desperately want to help a loved one but don't know how.' Emma Gannon, author of Ctrl Alt DeleteEmily Reynolds is mad. After years of trying - and failing - to cope with her symptoms, she was finally diagnosed as bipolar in her early twenties. Since then Emily has been on a mission to find the best way to live with her illness, and now she wants to share that knowledge with you. Living with mental illness is isolating, infuriating and painful - but also very boring and, sometimes, kind of gross. A Beginner's Guide to Losing Your Mind is a companion to make the journey feel a little less lonely. A Beginner's Guide to Losing Your Mind gives you tips on:How to deal with exam pressure at school and universityHow to date when you are mentally ill (and what to expect when you're on the other side) Navigating the internet and the online mental health communityHandling self-harm and suicidal thoughtsDiagnosis, treatment and maintaining your mental healthA blackly funny, deeply compassionate and extremely practical book, A Beginner's Guide to Losing Your Mind is a candid exploration of mental illness that is both a personal account of what it's like to live with mental illness and a guide to dealing with and understanding it.

Hodder & Stoughton

Growing Pains

Dr Mike Shooter
Authors:
Dr Mike Shooter

'A remarkable, powerful, tender and insightful book that will change lives. I cannot doubt that hundreds - I would hope thousands - of families can be helped by Mike Shooter's profound, careful and utterly convincing insights.' STEPHEN FRY'A unique book . . . The stories [Shooter] tells are poignant and powerful testimonies to the resilience of the human spirit and will fascinate all of us who struggle to make sense of our own and other people's lives.' MARJORIE WALLACE CBE'Brilliant book. Mike Shooter has . . . given us a truly 3D picture of the struggles of growing up.' PROFESSOR DAME SUE BAILEY, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges* * * * * * * * * *Child psychiatrist Dr Mike Shooter sheds light on the painful issues and universal experience of growing up, through the stories of his patients and their families.Growing up isn't easy. We can be at our most vulnerable and confused. And the right help isn't always there when we need it most. For over forty years psychiatrist Mike Shooter has listened to children and adolescents in crisis, helping them to find their stories and begin to make sense of their lives. Mike Shooter's own life has been shaped by his battle with depression. It makes him question received wisdom. He knows labels won't always fit and one diagnosis will not work for all. His patients' stories are at the heart of this book. Mike Shooter shares their journey as, through therapy, they confront everything from loss and family breakdown to bullying, grief and illness. We see how children begin to make breakthroughs with depression or anxiety, destructive, even sometimes violent behaviour.Growing Pains is compelling and compassionate - a book to make us wiser and braver, and to help us see how children's stories can find happier endings.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Wisdom House

Rob Parsons
Authors:
Rob Parsons

Rob Parsons, author of The Sixty Minute Grandparent and The Heart of Success, now a grandfather himself, shares some of the wisdom he's picked up down the years, from his own experiences and that of others he's met.You don't always have to learn the hard way.On the spur of the moment, the morning after the birth of one of his grandchildren, Rob Parsons wrote the baby a letter.And then Rob began to think about how he hoped he'd have the chance to talk with all his grandchildren as they grew. He imagined them coming into his study, settling into one of the two comfy armchairs in front of the fire and opening up about the challenges they were facing.Perhaps it would be when they were beginning their first job, buying their first house, getting married or starting a family. Or perhaps they'd talk long into the night, when their hearts were broken or friends had betrayed them. Perhaps he would have the chance to help them rebuild the dream that somebody had trodden on.'Come on in, take a seat - tell me what's been going on...'Rob knew he wouldn't have all the answers. But maybe he could help - just a little.(P)2017 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Teach Yourself

The NLP Workbook

Judy Bartkowiak
Authors:
Judy Bartkowiak

Teach Yourself about Neuro-Lingustic Programming and how it can help you get ahead.Do you want to use the power of NLP to supercharge every aspect of your life? Do you want to understand how to create instant rapport with anyone? Do you want to be able to effectively emulate the skills of the people you respect the most?This Teach Yourself Workbook doesn't just tell you how to use NLP. It accompanies you every step of the way, with diagnostic tools, goal-setting charts, practical exercises, and many more features ideal for people who want a more active style of learning. The book starts by helping you identify your own preferred styles of learning and communication. It then helps you set specific goals to improve on; as you progress through the book, you will be able to keep checking your progress against these goals. Specially created exercises, using the tools and techniques of NLP, will help you boost your skills and communication so that you can reach your potential in any situation.

Teach Yourself

The Self-Esteem Workbook

Judy Bartkowiak
Authors:
Judy Bartkowiak
John Murray Learning

Your Conscious Mind

What is this strange mental world that seems so essential to being human? The conscious mind brings together sensations, perceptions, thoughts and memories to generate the seamless movie of a person's life. It makes us aware of the world around us and our own self. How all this emerges from a kilogram of brain cells is one of the greatest unanswered questions. In Your Conscious Mind leading brain scientists and New Scientist take you on a journey through the mind to discover what consciousness really is, and what we can learn when it goes awry. Find out if we will ever build conscious machines, what animal consciousness can tell us about being human and explore the enigma of free will. ABOUT THE SERIESNew Scientist Instant Expert books are definitive and accessible entry points to the most important subjects in science; subjects that challenge, attract debate, invite controversy and engage the most enquiring minds. Designed for curious readers who want to know how things work and why, the Instant Expert series explores the topics that really matter and their impact on individuals, society, and the planet, translating the scientific complexities around us into language that's open to everyone, and putting new ideas and discoveries into perspective and context.

John Murray Learning

Confidence 2.0

Rob Yeung
Authors:
Rob Yeung
Yellow Kite

Unf*ck Yourself

Gary John Bishop
Authors:
Gary John Bishop

This is not the usual self-help book. Make your life one you actually want to live. This is blunt force trauma to the way you think life has to be for you. Most importantly, it is designed to give you an authentic leg up - one that feels genuine and right for you, and can propel you to new levels of greatness. Learn how to:Combat self-doubtDeal with your inner criticStop comparing yourself to othersBreak out of your rutIt will teach you not to look to the outside world for answers, but inside yourself. You will learn how to take full responsibility of your life, the highs and the lows, and you'll actually feel good about it - no, in fact, you'll feel f*cking great about it!

John Murray Learning

How Your Brain Works

Nicholas Brealey Publishing

Seeing What Others Don't

Gary Klein
Authors:
Gary Klein
Teach Yourself

Persuasion And Influence In A Week

Di McLanachan
Authors:
Di McLanachan
Hodder & Stoughton

Soulfulness

Brian Draper
Authors:
Brian Draper

The beauty of mindfulness is that it's incredibly simple both to 'get' and to practice. And the results - increasingly backed by neuro-scientific evidence -- are priceless: calmness and reduced stress, more creativity, greater awareness, compassion. . . And yet there's a danger that mindfulness can be used in a purely consumerist and self-serving way to help people to become better adapted cogs in a still-toxic model of work and life. Brian Draper challenges us to live not just mindfully but soulfully. Not merely to be less stressed, but to flourish, dynamically and creatively - to be present - through living intentionally and compassionately.