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Book Review: Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

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Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman is an excellent book which covers the intricacies of the human brain. Eagleman presents some interesting perspectives about how the brain operates under variable conditions and circumstances in real life.

Eagleman explains that mentation is not under conscious control. The author’s explanation is related to perception. People know from personal experience that the outer boundaries of what we see can escape our consciousness or personal awareness. For instance, a person on a fast moving train may not be able to see the details of the objects and people in the periphery despite the fact that all of them pass within sight momentarily. Eagleman explains this phenomena and points out that men tend to be more visually driven than women.

The brain can conjecture or hypothesize about what’s out there; however, this process is just a guess. In everyday life, people are more likely to believe a statement to be true if they’ve heard it before or experienced it in some way. In addition, Eagleman explains that the brain has competing factions which are in contention to regulate and monitor behavior. There are two systems in the brain. The first is automated and intuitive while the second operates on rules, reflection and analysis.

Eagleman presents an interesting discussion about Freud. The classic id is the instinctive part of human behavior. The ego is realistic and organized while the superego tends to be critical, judgmental and moralizing. Eagleman’s idea of the brain is expressed in important contrasts between rational and emotional systems which compete in complex behavioral ways and manifestations.

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain is an important work on the intricacies of how the brain operates in making choices to regulate and monitor our behavior.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.