This book tells you exactly why you don’t even know the half of it

Does free will matter? When you get mad at yourself, who, exactly, is angry at whom? Is infidelity a genetic condition? And, speaking of the same, why do strippers make more money at certain times of the month? These are just a few of the questions that David Eagleman tackles in Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain.

Eagleman—a neuroscientist at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine and the subject of a recent profile in The New Yorker—spends most of his time studying the subconscious. (“Almost the entirety of what happens in your mental life is not under your conscious control,” he writes. “And the truth is, it’s better that way.”) These, of course, are deep and murky waters. But Eagleman, who is also the author of a fascinating novel called Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, has a nice way with anecdotes and explanations, and Incognito, which starts off a bit slowly but picks up steam as it moves along, ends up being delightful.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. This book tells you exactly why you don’t even know the half of it