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A pioneering exploration of the differences between the brain’s right and left hemispheres and their effects on society, history, and culture
“Persuasively argues that our society is suffering from the consequences of an over-dominant left hemisphere losing touch with its natural regulative ‘master’ the right. Brilliant and disturbing.”—Salley Vickers, a Guardian Best Book of the Year
This pioneering account sets out to understand the structure of the human brain—the place where mind meets matter. Until recently, the left hemisphere of our brain has been seen as the ‘rational’ side, the superior partner to the right. But is this distinction true?
Drawing on a vast body of experimental research, Iain McGilchrist argues while our left brain makes for a wonderful servant, it is a very poor master. As he shows, it is the right side which is the more reliable and insightful. Without it, our world would be mechanistic – stripped of depth, colour and value.
"One of the few contemporary works deserving classic status.”—Nicholas Shakespeare, The Times
“A profound examination.”—Philip Pullman
“Clear, penetrating, lively, thorough and fascinating. . . . I couldn’t put it down.”—Mary Midgley, The Guardian
About the Author
Iain McGilchrist is a former fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, where he taught literature before training in medicine. He now lives on the Isle of Skye, where he continues to write, and lectures worldwide.
”One of the few contemporary works deserving classic status.”—Nicholas Shakespeare, The Times
"A landmark. . . It tells a story you need to hear, of where we live now"–Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times
"A seminal book"—Professor Ervin László, Huffington Post
"McGilchrist describes broad [intellectual] movements and famous figures as if they were battles and soldiers in a 2,500-year war between the brain’s hemispheres. . .A scintillating intelligence is at work."—Economist
"A fascinating book. . . [McGilchrist] is a subtle and clever thinker, and unusually qualified to range with such authority over so many different domains of knowledge"—Harry Eyres, Financial Times
Winner of the Scientific and Medical Network Book Prize 2009
Shortlisted for the Bristol Festival of Ideas Book Prize 2010
Longlisted for the Royal Society Book Prize 2010