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Connections
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In this ground-breaking tour of the human mind, a world-renowned psychiatrist and neuroscientist uses the stories of his patients to explore the origins of human emotion.

About the Author

Karl Deisseroth is the D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Stanford University. He is known for creating and developing optogenetics and hydrogel-tissue chemistry - advanced technologies for studying the function of the brain intact, allowing complex emotions to be studied at the level of individual cells. A member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering, Deisseroth has received numerous prizes for his discoveries, including the Kyoto Prize, the Breakthrough Prize, and most recently the 2020 Heineken Prize in Medicine. This is his first trade book.

Reviews

'I find myself at a loss for how to describe this remarkable work. Just as Karl has, through his laboratory, reimagined, and literally redefined how we view the human brain, he has reimagined and redefined what literary non-fiction 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
'There are some books that you read and forget. There are others that you read and think about occasionally. Then there are rare gems like Connections that you read, read again and find that the way you think has been irreversibly changed. Incredibly powerful' -- Sue Black, author of All That Remains
'Karl Deisseroth is a master storyteller. Armed with an abundance of compassion and curiosity, he takes us on a spellbinding tour of the mysteries of the human mind through a series of fascinating case studies. His graceful prose weaves a tapestry of complex ideas into memorable stories, each illuminated by cutting-edge science. A delight from the opening paragraph to the stunning conclusion, this book is an invitation to reverence for the complexity of the human brain and its relationship to the mind: a ticket to a state of wonder at the essence of our selves' -- Kathryn Mannix, author of With the End in Mind
'I've known Karl as a colleague, a scientist whose discoveries in the lab have been breathtaking and revolutionary. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised to discover he's also a stunning writer, his words guiding us to a profound understanding of the nature of human emotions, seamlessly invoking Ovid and optogenetics, Borges and basal ganglia as he takes on this journey. Projections is a tour de force' -- Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
'Karl Deisseroth intertwines neuroscience and human stories in a way that is altogether new: technical, lyrical, and deeply compassionate all at once. Through sharing what he's learned as a groundbreaking scientist and a psychiatrist caring for patients with severe illness, he reveals glimmer of what makes us human. This is a crucial book for anyone who loves science, anyone who loves someone suffering from a disorder of the brain, or anyone who, like so many of us, loves both' -- Lucy Kalanithi
'The writing in this exploration of what causes human emotion at a cellular level is extraordinarily good, inviting comparisons with the work of Oliver Sacks and Henry Marsh' (Editor's Choice) * Bookseller *
'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 *
'Unique and utterly riveting, Projections braids together three skeins from Karl Deisseroth's life: his painstaking clinical experience as a psychiatrist, dedicated to helping patients; his ingenious inventions in biotechnology that have ushered in waves of new insights into how brains work; and his life as a humble and caring social human being with a gift for crafting a spellbinding chronicle. This is a masterpiece written for each and every one of us' -- Patricia Churchland, author of Conscience
'Karl Deisseroth is already known around the world as a groundbreaking scientist who has pioneered dazzling new techniques for investigating the brain. In this enthralling masterpiece of a book, he demonstrates that he is also a perceptive psychiatrist, as well as a spellbinding writer who beautifully connects the inner feelings within all human beings to deep insights from modern psychiatry and neuroscience' -- Robert Lefkowitz, Nobel Laureate and author of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm
'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 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
'Deisseroth writes of heartbreaking and desperate medical cases with a doctor's knowledge, and a novelist's skill for narrative. I could not put this book down' -- May-Britt Moser, Nobel Laureate
'I've known Karl as a colleague, a scientist whose discoveries in the lab have been breathtaking and revolutionary. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised to discover he's also a stunning writer, his words guiding us to a profound understanding of the nature of human emotions, seamlessly invoking Ovid and optogenetics, Borges and basal ganglia as he takes on this journey. Projections is a tour de force' -- Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
'Karl Deisseroth intertwines neuroscience and human stories in a way that is altogether new: technical, lyrical, and deeply compassionate all at once. Through sharing what he's learned as a groundbreaking scientist and a psychiatrist caring for patients with severe illness, he reveals glimmer of what makes us human. This is a crucial book for anyone who loves science, anyone who loves someone suffering from a disorder of the brain, or anyone who, like so many of us, loves both' -- Lucy Kalanithi
'Unique and utterly riveting, Projections braids together three skeins from Karl Deisseroth's life: his painstaking clinical experience as a psychiatrist, dedicated to helping patients; his ingenious inventions in biotechnology that have ushered in waves of new insights into how brains work; and his life as a humble and caring social human being with a gift for crafting a spellbinding chronicle. This is a masterpiece written for each and every one of us' -- Patricia Churchland, author of Conscience
'Karl Deisseroth is already known around the world as a groundbreaking scientist who has pioneered dazzling new techniques for investigating the brain. In this enthralling masterpiece of a book, he demonstrates that he is also a perceptive psychiatrist, as well as a spellbinding writer who beautifully connects the inner feelings within all human beings to deep insights from modern psychiatry and neuroscience' -- Robert Lefkowitz, Nobel Laureate and author of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm

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