The Bookshelf talks with William Hirstein
What science book recommendations do you have for nonscientists?
Michael Shermer’s books (e.g., Why People Believe Weird Things [W.H. Freeman, 1997], The Borderlands of Science [Oxford University Press, 2001]) are fun and very accessible.
Name one book in your discipline that you would recommend for scientists outside your field. Explain your choice.
Phantoms in the Brain [William Morrow, 1998], by V. S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee, captures the thrill of working with a creative experimentalist such as Ramachandran. It also drives home the vital point that scientists are not forced to choose between boring tractable problems and interesting intractable ones; if one is clever enough, the interesting problems can be made tractable.
Antonio Damasio gets better with each book. Looking for Spinoza [Harcourt, 2003] is his latest effort. He combines a massive knowledge of the mind/brain with a very sensible approach to issues of consciousness and sense of self.