Suggested Neuroscience Readings

Click here for a list of TED talks, books, movies, videos, and more about neuroscience, that were recommended by neuroscientists around the country!

Former TUNA members gave these suggestions:

Have a book to suggest? Post it to our Facebook page. 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Amazon)

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. He went from a doctor treating the dying to being a patient struggling to live. This book chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford University working on the brain, into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

Brain Rules by John Medina (Amazon)

How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget—and so important to repeat new knowledge? Is it true that men and women have different brains? In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule—what scientists know for sure about how our brains work—and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives.
Medina’s fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into brain science. You’ll learn why Michael Jordan was no good at baseball. You’ll peer over a surgeon’s shoulder as he proves that most of us have a Jennifer Aniston neuron. You’ll meet a boy who has an amazing memory for music but can’t tie his own shoes.

Self Comes to Mind by Antonio Damasio (Amazon)
Constructing the Conscious Brain
A modern take on consciousness and a fantastic companion to Dennett’s Consciousness Explained, Damasio’s Self Comes to Mind looks at the neurobiology of consciousness and convincingly argues that “self” is present in everything from bacteria to humans, and that it is from this sense of self that the human experience of consciousness can arise.

Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett (Amazon)
A revolutionary, diverse, and comprehensive look at the intersection of the science and philosophy of consciousness. Dennett is a master of inventive and illuminating thought experiments that immerse the reader so thoroughly that this book barely feels like 500 pages. A must read!

The Other Brain by R. Douglas Fields (Amazon)
From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science
In The Other Brain, Fields combines good science with a strong storytelling voice to introduce readers to the explosive field of glial research. Among the topics discussed in this fascinating book is the shocking finding that glial cells participate in their own form of communication (“gliotransmission”).

How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker (Amazon)
This was the first neuroscience book I ever read, and it got me hooked on the brain! Comprehensive, easy to understand, and very well written. This is an essential book for the lay person interested in neuroscience and the neuroscience student alike

Receptors by Richard Restak (Amazon)
A lively exploration of the ways exploding new knowledge about the brain is making it possible to change the very nature of who we are.
This incredible book is equal parts experimental odyssey and philosophical challenge. Focusing on the fractal nature of the nervous system and behavior, Restak explores the myriad ways in which receptor activity correlates with mental activity and behavior. This is the webmaster’s favorite neuroscience book to date, and he encourages you to check it out.

Glass Synapse by Claire LeBlanc