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Description

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, color and value.

©2009 Iain McGilchrist; Introduction copyright 2018 by Iain McGilchrist (P)2019 Tantor

Ce que les auditeurs disent de The Master and His Emissary

Moyenne des évaluations de clients
Au global
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Histoire
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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    2
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  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent - and the Narration is Pretty Good.

One of the most interesting books I've read/listened to. I thought the narration was fine. Highly recommend this audio book!

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars

Great book; horrible narration...

Though his love of run-on phrasing and circular, 'philosophical' prose become somewhat intolerable after the first few chapters, the book is nonetheless intriguing, memorable, and well- researched/ written. My biggest complaint would have to be the narrator. I've never had an issue with or dislike of English accents, but his unique pronunciation of so many words makes one want to reach through the speakers and strangle him. I'm absolutely flummoxed that the company would choose his services for the recording; he's so incredibly annoying.

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

One of the best books I’ve read! Explains our screwed-up world with empathy and a ton of research. Likely will become a classic.

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

broo

read this now. it explains so much of what we miss about ourselves and where we can go.

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thoughtful Ideas Worth Considering

I enjoyed the great analysis of brain research, and interesting philosophical interpretation of literature and history.

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Foundational Read for These Key People

This book will be hugely enlightening and influential for engaged leaders, exemplary educators and community-minded politicians who want to understand their own personal proclivities and possibilities and be better able to accompany others in conversations about how we see, say, value and do things differently depending on how our right and left hemispheres act: more or less independently or interdependently. Rang hundreds of bells for me—for example, the conservative view that the economy and growth of GDP is THE key to prosperity (left hemisphere focus on utility, measurability); whereas individuals and countries that put material benefits in the context of relationships and physical, emotional, spiritual well-being (right hemisphere concerns) were more reasonable to me than my rational conservative friends. Lots and lots to ponder.

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

I loved this book! I gained so many insights on everything to the personal to the global/international. It was time well spent. I highly recommend this book!

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars

A lot of religious sentiment

It seems like the author at the time of writing was still seeing the world through the filter of his old religious conditioning. It feels like he favors religion over science, although never explicitly admitting his preference. Otherwise, this book is a large body of work with a lot of great points and observations. Thank you.

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  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 2020-11-07

The Master and His Emissary

Excellent narration. Pretty much perfect.

McGilchrist's work here is majesterial in depth and scope. I was somewhat overwhelmed by his knowledge of the classics, philosophers and poets, and his ability to synthesise them into his explanation of the how the brain's hemispheres function. There's a lot to think about, and I'll mull over it for a while. I may read this again sometime.

That said, I'll jump to the criticisms. By the end of the book I got the feeling that his hemispheres-hammer started to see hemispheres-nails everywhere. It's the theory to explain everything, and becomes somewhat unfalsifiable. I appreciate the difficulty in using the left hemisphere to explain (ie, writing an academic book) the workings of the (uncapturable world of the) right hemisphere, thus according to his theory his explanation is going to be lacking something that academic writing can never capture. I'm not sure of the solution to that. I also think his rose coloured glasses view of bygone eras is a bit myopic, and becomes a powerful narrative by which to interpret human history. Were 'humans' 'really' 'happier' 'back then'? I have to qualify every word in that sentence, because it's not straightforward - which humans? Measured by what? Starting from when?

McGilchrist mostly speaks glowingly of ancient peoples and their myths and religions, but never mentions the horrors, fears and suppression that they brought, and this is, I think, the mistake of searching for explanatory narratives. It ultimately leads to hit counting and confirmation bias.

But back to the positives.... It was really helpful to see how the different parts of the brain worked, and I was able to recognise those different patterns in myself, and the oppositie pulls of the left and right hemispheres. McGilchrist takes a somewhat negative view of scientific reductionism, yet dividing consciousness into the activities of separate brain hemispheres seems like the ultimate in reductionist thinking. Did that thought cross his mind (minds?).

I also thought it fascinating to think about how ancient humans may not have had an inner dialogue, and when that started to develop they had no mytho-cultural norms for interpreting that, and thus there was an explosion of 'god-whisperers' - people hearing an inner dialogue, not knowing what it was, and concluding they were hearing voices from beyond. Today we have narratives and precedents for interpreting this phenomenon ("It must be me talking to myself in my head, which is what everyone else is experiencing and is totally normal, and science backs that up"). I'm not sure how we could ever 'prove' that this is the case, but it's an interesting hypothesis that has a bit of explanatory power.

Another interesting concept was the paradoxical nature of the left hemisphere's inability to articulate the right hemisphere's activity, and all the different phenomena that are 'destroyed' by the left hemisphere's attempt to codify the uncodifiable, such as 'freedom', or 'spontenaity', or 'authenticity'. I've felt this tension my whole life, and intuitively known that there's something paradoxical and unsolvable about it, but didn't have a framework by which to explain it. Now that I have a framework I wonder if my left hemisphere will simply latch onto that at every possibility....

Related to that, his description of the American Revolution and the movement toward 'small government' explains in part my general preference for conservative politics despite my sympathies with liberal issues. I think that government is not really able to legislate true freedom, but in a left-brained way tries and tries, and ties up 'freedom' in legislation and laws which are the antithesis to freedom. That's not my only reason, but it's a significant one.

I thought it was interesting that in mentioning the sensation that language is inadequate for articulating all of one's thoughts about something, he identified the three dots '...' as a marker of the right hemisphere's resistance to closure and certainty. Those dots represent the 'inexaustability' and 'unembraceability' of articulation, and I personally use them a lot when not constrained by formal writing standards.

Hyperconsciousness is something I'm curious about. I definitely have leanings toward that, and I agree that too much consciousness is a bad thing in that it ruins an experience. It's hard to have a sense of awe and wonder while having a sense of having a sense of awe and wonder. It's hard to belly laugh while 'observing' one's own response to a funny situation, analysing it, and being aware of one's own physiological response. It seems that there's a happy balance between consciousness and ignorance. IIRC, McGilchrist suggests that ancient authors rarely describe schizotypal behaviours and perhaps it's a modern phenomenon, the ultimate ascendance of the left hemisphere. This is basically the conclusion of TMAHE. There's definitely a movement toward algorithmic driven life, and according to McGilchrist, this is the left hemisphere's attempt to control the phenomena experienced through the right hemisphere. We see this even more as AI takes over more and more aspects of human life and may, according to some critics of AI, end up taking over everything - a universe of paperclips. I don't know what the solution is, because any attempt to solve it is likely to be a left hemisphere driven solution.

Anyway, great book, with lots to ponder. Almost 5 stars, but for the romanticising of history and lack of addressing relevant academic criticisms.

48 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary Tyler
  • 2021-02-07

Irritating errors of oral expression

The reader consistently mispronounces key words, especially the noun “affect,” which he stresses on the second syllable as if it were a verb. At one point, he read “panoply” as if it were written “panalopy,” and his phrasing often seemed skewed, as if he were not really tuned into the author’s meaning. I admire this book greatly, but I could not trust the oral interpretation. I had to constantly check back with the printed text to follow the author’s argument.

13 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexander Ford
  • 2020-01-04

Hypnotic and heady

One of the best books I’ve heard. Comprehensive analysis of how our dependence on logic is shaping society, and how this dependence is leading to a value shift which may be linked to overgrowth and over dependence on the left brain.
Very much appreciate the breadth and depth of the author’s landscape from neuroscience to history, philosophy and back again.

11 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Brian Danielson
  • 2021-01-21

Wonderful

Having stumbled across this book is one of the great fortunes of my life. I listened to it while wandering aimlessly around the rural roads of western Pennsylvania, getting both literally lost, and lost in my thoughts. If only I could do it all again.

10 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • A Parent
  • 2020-05-21

Most important book of our lifetimes

Honestly, I think McGilchrist might just be right, and if so, the contents of this book are exactly what each person needs to understand themselves, and the world we've built. I wish I had heard about it sooner and that more people have read it.

6 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nicole Miller
  • 2021-10-16

A book that compels you to grow wiser...

A dense listen but I must tell you the final chapters are enlightening. My soul feels healed a bit from these ridiculous times of bad news and bad information we are living in. Healed by such wise overviews of culture, rooted in that which we all carry within our own heads. Inner unrest that walks in time with the outer unrest of the whole of the world. Bravo on this great work.

4 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-04-30

Infuriating to listen to.

75,000 words on his opinion on everything. To my ears not a penny's worth of useful information in any of them.

3 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • C. Streetzel
  • 2020-03-04

Insightful

This book has been very helpful. I learned a lot about myself and other people. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand themselves better.

3 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joan M Plastino
  • 2021-12-15

Most important book I have read

I have read hundreds of books, most on health, medicine, philosophy and psychology and religious books. I am on the second relistening, and bought his new book “The Matter With Things. Life changing!

2 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sabrina
  • 2021-09-27

Summon the Council of Nicaea

Call in the Gideons! This book needs to be distributed to all hotel rooms.

An angel appeared to me and said: I bring you good news of great neuroscience that is for all people. The brain hemisphere messiah has come to take away the lateralization of the world!

2 les gens ont trouvé cela utile