An Alchemy of Mind (by Diane Ackerman)

Thank you Mandy and Diane (not Ackerman), for this wonderful book. While it tackles topics that are usually discussed in neuroscience or psychology fields, Diane Ackerman presents it in a more lyrical manner. Some have called it literary non-fiction.

I first encountered Diane Ackerman in "A Natural History of the Senses" and then in "A Natural History of Love". Now, with "Alchemy of the Mind", I once again marvel at how she expresses herself on seemingly hohum-yawn topics.

For example, some of us remember in high school that certain functions of our bodies are automatically controlled by our brain even if we do not make a conscious effort to remember to do those activities. Otherwise, if we had to remember to make our food go down into our stomachs, what would happen if ever we forgot?

We'd go hungry, was the usual answer. In this book, however, Diane Ackerman worries about not being able to buy cute socks.

If you see "Alchemy of Mind" in your favorite bookstores, take extra care when you read page 1. You're bound to get hooked and stay rooted to that tile on the floor until your knees ache or your eyes blur.

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[ First posted on 12/06/2004 by Manuel Viloria ]



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