What We Are Reading Today: Physical Intelligence by Scott Grafton

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Updated 13 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Physical Intelligence by Scott Grafton

Elegantly written and deeply grounded in personal experience —reminiscent of works by Oliver Sacks — this book gives us a clear, illuminating examination of action intelligence, the fundamental relationship between the physical world and the mind, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

Using behavioral neurology and cognitive neuroscience as a lens, Scott Grafton accounts for the workings and the design of the action-oriented brain, bringing to light the action intelligence inherent in all of us and which is always busy solving problems of physicality: Ever wonder why you don’t walk into walls or off cliffs? How do you decide if you can drive through a snowstorm? How high are you willing to climb up a ladder to change a lightbulb? 

Grafton draws from the insights and discoveries of engineers who have learned to emulate the sophisticated solutions that nature created for managing incredibly complex behavior, and demonstrates the relevance of action intelligence with examples that each of us might face.


What We Are Reading Today: The Angel and the Assassin by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Updated 18 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Angel and the Assassin by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

A thrilling story of scientific detective work and medical potential that illuminates the newly understood role of microglia — an elusive type of brain cell that is vitally relevant to our everyday lives, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

Until recently, microglia were thought to be merely the brain’s housekeepers, helpfully removing damaged cells. But a recent groundbreaking discovery revealed them to be capable of terrifying Jekyll and Hyde behavior.

Under the right circumstances, however, microglia can be coaxed back into being angelic healers, able to repair the brain in ways that help alleviate symptoms and hold the promise to one day prevent disease.

Award-winning journalist Donna Jackson Nakazawa began her investigation with a personal interest — when diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder years ago, she was convinced there was something physical going on in her brain as well as her body, though no doctor she consulted could explain how the two could be interacting in this way. 

The book offers us a radically reconceived picture of human health.