Stroke of Insight

_wsb_177x266_PaperbackJill Bolte Taylor is a brain scientist at Harvard.   Taylor experienced a massive stroke at age 37 when a blood vessel exploded in her left side of her brain. As a brain scientist she was in a unique position to be able to understand the impact of such a stroke.

Rating of the book 9/10. This book has been the book that years ago got me passionate about what the human brain is, what it’s impact is not only human behavior but more importantly how we feel and experience the world.

The book focusses on the importance of the left brain (non-rational) in particular as Taylor “lived” in the non-rational brain for many years before getting back her full brain functions. Once released of the filter of the rational brain one comes to realize how critical emotions are to enrich and balance our lives.

Alone Together

Sherry Turkle is a professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT and has a PHD of Sociology and Personality Psychology at Harvard.

Overall I find that the book (Oct 2012) pictures well how new technology is impacting how we behave more often more intrusively than we would like to accept. I found the book provocative through it share listing of real life anecdotes yet not really able to synthesize the essence of the trends.

The book focusses on two distinct parts. In the first part, Turkle zooms in on the amazing evolution of “social robots” that are becoming more and more sophisticated in their ability to create the illusion of companionship. Turkle followed a young generation surrounded by many forms of social robots perceived by them as  “live” objects often providing better interaction that “real life” objects. Today the largest commercial application of social robots is for toddler day care and…. elderly care. In the second part, Turkle researches the “cyborg” younger generation,  networked “always on”, “tethered to the wireless web” enabling their ability to do multi-tasking, our twenty-first -century alchemy. Cyborgs are always looking for “moments of more” but quite often they are left with “lives of less” Continue reading