An Interesting Science-Heavy Book

4.5 out of 5 stars

I’ve heard bits and pieces about the work done by Berns and team on social media and news outlets in the last year or so, but it was really awesome to hear the words from the actual person performing these scans and tests.

The only reason this lost a partial point was that it felt like Berns would go off on tangents about the science and history of something instead of continuing to talk about what he was originally set out to talk about.  This happened in about every chapter and after a while, I knew it was par for the course so I just sat back and tried to enjoy his explanation of the whys before he got back to the new science he was doing.

Overall, I think that this book would be enjoyed by dog and animal lovers alike.  I’m a bit of a speciesist (he does a small part on this in the book) towards dogs and I was a little sad that the entire book wasn’t just about dogs — but I understand the reason that Berns didn’t do that. The science and the studies of other animals in here were fascinating.  Especially the ways that he was able to prove (or help prove) that certain animals had something that was long believed to not exist.

If you are interested in the science behind what it’s like to be a dog — this book is definitely for you. If you’re looking for a light-hearted “science-light” book, this one might not be for you.  Sure, Berns uses a lot of comedic relief, but I think the book is meant to be mostly scientific with an air or entertainment.

Joe Hempel does a great job with this book.  This is not the first (or last) science non-fiction book I’ve listened to by Hempel.  He’s able to bring an air of knowledge and understanding to the words of these authors.  I look forward to more non-fiction books from him in the future.

Book Description:

Audiobook: What It’s Like To Be A Dog by Gregory Berns (Narrated by Joe Hempel)four-half-stars
What It's Like to Be a Dog: And Other Adventures in Animal Neuroscience by Gregory Berns
Narrator: Joe Hempel
Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
Published by Tantor Audio on September 29th, 2017
Genres: Non-Fiction, Science
Pages: 321
Format: Audiobook
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What is it like to be a dog? A bat? Or a dolphin? To find out, neuroscientist Gregory Berns and his team began with a radical step: they taught dogs to go into an MRI scanner-completely awake. They discovered what makes dogs individuals with varying capacities for self-control, different value systems, and a complex understanding of human speech. And dogs were just the beginning. In What It's Like to Be a Dog, Berns explores the fascinating inner lives of wild animals from dolphins and sea lions to the extinct Tasmanian tiger. Much as Silent Spring transformed how we thought about the environment, so What It's Like to Be a Dog will fundamentally reshape how we think about-and treat-animals. Groundbreaking and deeply humane, it is essential reading for animal lovers of all stripes.

I received this book for free. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

About the Author:

Gregory Berns is a distinguished professor of neuroeconomics at Emory University, where he directs the Center for Neuropolicy and Facility for Education and Research in Neuroscience. He is the author of several books, including the New York Times bestseller How Dogs Love Us. He lives in Atlanta.


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