The Man Who Wasn't There by Anil Ananthaswamy

The Man Who Wasn't There

In the tradition of Oliver Sacks, a tour of the latest neuroscience of schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, ecstatic epilepsy, Cotard’s syndrome, out-of-body experiences, and other disorders—revealing the awesome power of the human sense of self from a master of science journalism.Anil Ananthaswamy’s extensive in-depth interviews venture into the lives of individuals who offer perspectives that will change how you think about who y...

Details The Man Who Wasn't There

TitleThe Man Who Wasn't There
Release DateAug 4th, 2015
GenreNonfiction, Science, Psychology, Biology, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Health, Medical

Reviews The Man Who Wasn't There

  • Anita
    I picked this up because it was compared to Oliver Sach's great, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. This is similar in that he uses some case histories of schizophrenia, autism, BID (body image disorder) to discuss what is our self. There were some really interesting discussions on what it is that schizophrenics actually hear (themselves, but they don't recognize it as themselves), what BID patients suffer when they don't recognize a part of...
  • Atila Iamarino
    Achei que fosse só mais um livro sobre mente tratando do que já havia lido e fico feliz por ter errado. Conheci Ananthaswamy por sua reportagem/livro "Do no harm", onde ele fala sobre pessoas com distúrbio de imagem que sentem que partes do seu corpo não deveriam estar lá e têm um forte desejo por amputação – caso que é explorado mais profundamente aqui.Neste livro, Ananthaswamy as situações onde as pessoas não "estão em si". Situa...
  • Kristine
    The Man Who Wasn't There by Anil Annthaswamy is a free NetGalley ebook that I read throughout early July. Intrigued by the subtitle 'New Science of the Self,' I knew that I had to read this book. This book sits in the perfect sweet spot between social theory and abnormal psychology with its inclusion of philosophical concepts, important professional opinion, and patient input. It's easy to tuck into during a relaxed moment, yet intensely transpor...
  • Erin
    ARC from NetGalley for review. Who am I? Is there really a "self"? If so, does it exist in the brain? Or does the Buddhist notion of "no-self" win out? Generally questions for philosophers, but Ananthaswamy explores what neuroscientists can add the equation, specifically through certain disorders and illnesses which, by necessity, impact an individual's view of "self" and he spends a chapter exploring each one, Cotard's syndrome (when a person be...
  • Paul
    I expected this book to be about interesting brain anomalies in the fashion of Oliver Sacks. The first part of it did indeed fill that bill, but by the end of the book, the author was discussing whether we have a self or don't, and it took me an hour to read the epilogue (of course, I fell asleep twice).The first part of the book kept underlining how amazing it was that any given emotion could be found in a particular area of the brain. This was ...
  • Chris Roberts
    I, MadnessAnd I will be the first to acknowledge that I am mad. And too I am supreme dementia. And every form and diagnosis and every schizophrenic disassociation of the cognitive mind and every outburst of flame in the words of a schizophrenic and every grandiose height of soprano song of this beautifully wracking affliction. And I am bi-polar and the impossible heightened sensation of being alive and the non-stop imagination and the lunatic rus...
  • Nancy
    I was 20 pages from the end, but didn't finish the book before I returned it to the library. I skipped through hoping to get engaged but never did. The author somehow seemed to be reporting on people and their issues about self from a distance. Something about this book is quite different from the Oliver Sacks books I enjoyed.
  • Jimmy
    Before I begin, I thought I'd let you know: You don't exist. Hope you don't mind me telling you that. Just thought it might be helpful in your dealings with the world . . . which in its own way, I guess, also does not exist. Oh . . . and by the way, I'm not joking. Your really don't exist. But don't feel bad because either do I. And like you, I sure feel like I exist. "It seems outlandish that the centerless universe, in all its spatio-temporal i...
  • Sue Smith
    Who am I?What makes the self in myself? You think you know the answer to this question but it’s a lot more complicated than what you think it is. How did you become you? When did you start identifying yourself? When did you realize that your consciousness and experiences and perceptions are only your own and no one elses? Once you start the flood of questions, the dam unleashes and there is no end of dizzying thought. It’s almost inconceivabl...
  • Srividya
    An exceptional book, this is the first book I have read which explores the SELF through neuroscience, psychology, religion and philosophy . I have no similar books on my list to compare it to.It helped me understand the nuanced nature of this narrative called SELF . A perfectly functioning body,mind,brain alludes very little information on how each of us perceives the world differently , has a unique personality and the inner workings of course w...
  • Susan Oleksiw
    In my grandparents' day, a family kept quiet about anyone who was regarded as different. If a son had schizophrenia or any other malady, he was quietly moved away to an asylum. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. As a result, all of us are more likely to be familiar with the varied ways the brain chooses to function outside what is considered the norm. We are more likely to be familiar with epilepsy, BIID (body integrity identify disorder), ...
  • Holly
    Profound ontological case studies. Confluences of applied brain research and philosophical theories of mind/brain. The chapters on autism and out-of-body experiences were particularly interesting. This provided my second literary encounter this month with BIID (body identity integrity disorder) - something I previously knew nothing about (and don't wish to hear about again for a long time) - but Ananthawamy's explanation helped me understand the ...
  • Jafar
    It's quite depressing that the only way to prove that something is a product of the brain is to show how that thing gets messed up when some part of the brain is damaged. That shows how little we understand of the brain. I can't quite explain how it is possible that a collection of neurons give rise to the sense of self, but if you go and muck with the brain you get all these weird neurological conditions in which the idea of the self is altered ...
  • Katryne
    Like I sad before, it's a bit heavy on the research side so if you're looking for more of a narrative experience I wouldn't paricularly recommend this unless you're fine with having bits of narrative in between research and jargin then I would DEFINITELY recommend this book.The human mind is fascinating.Is there an independant self outside of the brain and body? This book makes me seriously question that notion.
  • Gigi
    The book presented interesting examples and intriguing ideas, but I didn't like the author's style of writing (I thought he was often unclear).
  • YHC
    尾声瓦拉纳西市得名于瓦拉纳河和阿西河这两条河流。这两条河都注入了 印度最长也是最神圣的河流——恒河。瓦拉纳西市有一条著名的山脉,沿 着一片新月地带伸展,一直下降到河岸边。就在这个新月地带,瓦拉纳河 在它的最北端汇入了恒河,阿西河则要再往南一些才流入恒河。瓦拉纳西 市坐落在恒河边上,朝圣者和普通的民众顺着...
  • Amy
    You had me at "In the tradition of Oliver Sacks..."I love listening to scientific books, but not being a scientist myself, need a particular type of science writing. I want to go in depth into whatever subject is being explored, but I need the author to perform that particularly impressive feat of giving me some basic background without boring me or making me feel talked down to. Sacks, in his psychological case studies, mastered this talent, cov...
  • Cheryl
    If you are like me and like to read true stories regarding psychological and neurological disorders then you will want to check out this book. I found this book to be an very thought-provoking, intriguing read. I was had heard of and was kind of familiar with BIID (body integrity identity disorder) but if asked I could not really describe to you what this disorder is all about. This disorder really fascinated me. The way that sufferers experience...
  • Hillary
    Yes. I finished this book at 6 am on Yom Kippur. What of it? Apparently it took me unusually long to read this one, & I must extend my apologies to those who were awaiting this update (you know who you are). You see, this is a well-researched, broad AND deep look at the construct of the self, through the lens of neuroscience, philosophy, mysticism, psychology, and religion. Not only does it require a lot of thought and reflection, but it also tri...
  • Shay
    The Man Who Wasn’t There explores neuroscience of the most fascinating and mind-bending sort. Ananthaswamy does begin with the most dramatic of the conditions he is exploring, Cotard’s syndrome, in which the patient believes herself to be dead. But in general this is a very sober and analytic investigation. Ananthaswamy is delving deep, and his explanations are detailed; he is willing to dig into nuance rather than oversimplifying matters. He...
  • David
    It is wonderful that we have a narrative about ourselves which is only partially correct. There is so much we don't know and will never know about ourselves. Anil writes about how our brains works, or in some cases, doesn't work. He explains such things a autism and phantom limbs, people who have their legs amputated because they think the legs belong to someone else. Fascinating!
  • Alan Lengel
    Modernism in art seems to represent schizophrenia: Picasso, Miro, Kafka, Elliot and Joyce. Can those affected perceive warnings of suicide or paranoia? Oliver Sacks earlier described the kinds of hallucinations I experience (although less frequently). Mine are visual, not auditory. The chapter on OBE touched me deeply.
  • Infiniteknot
    One of the best books I've read in a long time. Helped me to understand how the brain works and it's relationship to the self, being and consciousness. There's so much going on in this book. It's incredibly interesting and I learned so much.
  • Gwen
    A bit like dissecting a frog in high school biology class to bring your understanding of anatomy to life. Self as pathology warrants a mister yuk sticker from me.
  • Venky
    The concept of ‘Dualism’ is an ancient concept that founded a deep entrenchment in the Greek mode of thinking. Plato and Aristotle reasoned that the human mind or soul could not be identified with the physical body. This belief was lent its greatest resonance and boost 2000 years after the time of its proponents when Rene Descartes became its Messiah. In fact, the word “Dualism” was coined by Descartes. Since the word “Cartesius” is s...
  • Bill Pritchard
    There must have been a time in our evolutionary past when the first glimmers of the self-as-knower appeared. It must have been a momentous biological event. And it gave our ancestors a survival advantage. To be aware of one's own body, to be able to direct one's attention to it, must have been an evolutionary leg up. But this self-process - a complex interaction of the activity of various brain regions - was still meant to control one's body. As ...
  • Bernie Gourley
    What is the self, and is the self a distinct entity as we feel it to be? Those are questions that philosophers and theologians have been debating for centuries, and they’re the questions at the heart of this book. Ananthaswamy takes a crack at answering by looking at several of the ailments and mental phenomena that seem to steal or morph what we think of as the self. While there are many distinct views on the self, the predominant view has alw...
  • Rj
    Ananthaswamy's book looks at the nature of self and how it is identified by looking cases where individuals lose their sense of self. Using these cases like a dark mirror is a fascinating way to illuminate how the self comes into being. "Metzinger argues that we should be paying attention to what it feels like to be suffering from Cotard's-what philosophers call the phenomenology of a disorder." 8"To help us get closer to some answers, we can tur...