What does drug withdrawal have in common with a broken heart? Why is the enemy of memory not time, but other memories? How can a blind person learn to see with her tongue or a deaf person learn to hear with his skin? Why did many people in the 1980s mistakenly perceive book pages to be slightly red in colour? Why is the world's best archer armless? Might we someday control a robot with our thoughts, just as we do our fingers and toes? Why do we dream at night, and what does that have to do with the rotation of the planet?
The answer to these questions is right behind our eyes. The greatest technology we have ever discovered on this planet is the three-pound organ carried around in the vault of the skull. Livewired is not simply about what the brain is, but what it does. The magic of the brain is not found in the parts it's made of, but in the way those parts unceasingly re-weave themselves in an electric, living fabric. Surf the leading edge of neuroscience atop the anecdotes and metaphors that have made Eagleman one of the best scientific translators of our generation. Covering decades of research to the present day, Livewired also presents new discoveries from Eagleman's own laboratory, from synaesthesia to dreaming to wearable neurotech devices that revolutionise how we think about the senses.
David Eagleman, PhD, is a neuroscientist and internationally bestselling author. He teaches at Stanford University, is the creator and host of the Emmy-nominated television series The Brain, and is the CEO of Neosensory, a company that builds the next generation of neuroscience hardware. The author of seven other books, he lives in Silicon Valley in California.
"David Eagleman, the Jolly Sherlock Holmes of neuroscience, makes me believe that the universe of possibility required to create utopia is already housed in each of our brains. His knowledge and enthusiasm are intoxicating. His book demonstrates the principle about which he is writing; my mind has been changed by his words"
– Russell Brand
"An altogether fascinating tour of the astonishing plasticity and interconnectedness inside the cranial cradle of all of our experience of reality, animated by Eagleman's erudite enthusiasm for his subject, aglow with the ecstasy of sense-making that comes when the seemingly unconnected snaps into a consummate totality of understanding"
– Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
"Vivid [...] Since the passing of Isaac Asimov, we haven't had a working scientist like Mr Eagleman, who engages his ideas in such a variety of modes. Livewired reads wonderfully like what a book would be if it were written by Oliver Sacks and William Gibson, sitting on Carl Sagan's front lawn"
– Wall Street Journal
"An intellectually exhilarating look at neuroplasticity [...] Eagleman's skill as teacher, bold vision, and command of current research will make this superb work a curious reader's delight"
– Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Livewired is terrific. If you have a mind, David Eagleman will boggle it for you"
– Hugh Laurie
"Chockfull of mind-bending ideas and dazzling insights. Eagleman's infectious enthusiasm, his use of fascinating anecdotes and his clear, effortless prose render the secrets of the brain's adaptability into a truly compelling page-turner. Livewired is a fun and whirlwind exploration of the most complex thing in the universe"
– Khaled Hosseini
"David's a brilliant writer and thinker, and he knows more about how we tick and why we tick than anyone I know"
– Neil Gaiman
"Masterful [...] Outstanding popular science"
– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)