Projections: Book summary and reviews of Projections by Karl Deisseroth

Projections

A Story of Human Emotions

by Karl Deisseroth

Projections by Karl Deisseroth X
Projections by Karl Deisseroth
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About this book

Book Summary

A groundbreaking tour of the human mind that illuminates the biological nature of our inner worlds and emotions, through gripping and at times harrowing clinical stories.

Karl Deisseroth has spent his life pursuing truths about the human mind, both as a renowned clinical psychiatrist and as a researcher creating and developing the revolutionary field of optogenetics, which uses light to help decipher the brain's workings. In Projections, he combines his knowledge of the brain's inner circuitry with a deep empathy for his patients to examine what mental illness reveals about the human mind and the origin of human feelings—how the broken can illuminate the unbroken.

Through cutting-edge research and gripping case studies from Deisseroth's own patients, Projections tells a larger story about the material origins of human emotion, bridging the gap between the ancient circuits of our brain and the poignant moments of suffering in our daily lives. The stories of Deisseroth's patients are rich with humanity and shine an unprecedented light on the self—and the ways in which it can break down. A young woman with an eating disorder reveals how the mind can rebel against the brain's most primitive drives of hunger and thirst; an older man, smothered into silence by depression and dementia, shows how humans evolved to feel not only joy but also its absence; and a lonely Uighur woman far from her homeland teaches both the importance—and challenges—of deep social bonds.

Illuminating, literary, and essential, Projections is a revelatory, immensely powerful work. It transforms our understanding not only of the brain but of ourselves as social beings—giving vivid illustrations through science and resonant human stories of our yearning for connection and meaning.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Deisseroth, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, melds the personal with the clinical in his masterful debut on how the human mind works and what can be learned when it goes awry...Writing with abundant empathy, Deisseroth brings his patients' struggles to life as he educates about both neuroscience and humanity. This is a must-read." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A Stanford professor of bioengineering and psychiatry uses both of his specialties to reveal his ideas on the mind, mental illness, and human feelings...Theoretical but good food for thought for anyone interested in the endless complexity of the brain." - Kirkus Reviews

"Projections asks probing questions about some of our most fundamental human traits to shed light on the origins of our emotions. Why, for instance, do we shed tears? How did this show of weakness survive millennia of evolution? Deisseroth writes of heartbreaking and desperate medical cases with a doctor's knowledge and a novelist's skill for narrative. I was fascinated, and could not put this book down." - May-Britt Moser, Nobel Laureate

"I find myself at a loss for how to describe this remarkable work. Just as Karl Deisseroth, through his laboratory, has reimagined and literally redefined how we view the human brain, he has reimagined and redefined what literary nonfiction can be, with great elegance. For all of us who write about science for the public, this will be a tough act to follow. It's poetic, mind-stretching, and through it all, deeply human." - Daniel Levitin, author of The Organized Mind

"We are living during a revolution in our understanding of the human brain, and Karl Deisseroth has been at the forefront of these advances. This magisterial work, Projections, shows that not only is he one of our leading scientists, but also a gifted writer and storyteller. With precise yet luminous prose, he merges stories of cutting-edge neuroscience with a deep reverence for his patients' humanity." - Neil Shubin, author of Some Assembly Required

This information about Projections shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Karl Deisseroth

Karl Deisseroth is a professor of bioengineering and psychiatry at Stanford University. The winner of the Kyoto Prize and the Heineken Prize, Deisseroth has five children and lives near Stanford University, where he teaches and directs Stanford's undergraduate degree in bioengineering and treats patients with mood disorders and autism.

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