The Anatomy of Addiction: What Science and Research Tell Us about the True Causes, Best Preventive Techniques, and Most Successful Treatments
by Akikur Mohammad.
Tarcher Perigee, 2016 ($27; 272 pages)
Addiction is rampant. Millions of Americans use illegal drugs, and in 2014, 88,000 people died from excess alcohol consumption, says addiction expert Mohammad. In his new book, he reviews the developing science of addiction, how different addictive substances work and how such drugs impair brain function. He also explores the flawed tactics we currently use to treat addiction and proposes alternative strategies, such as correcting the brain's chemical imbalance and addressing the emotional urge to self-medicate, which together may prove more effective. Ultimately Mohammad emphasizes that addiction is not simply a behavioral issue; it is a chronic brain disease and must be recognized as such so we can find the best possible ways to help people.
The Mind Club: Who Thinks, What Feels, and Why It Matters
by Daniel M. Wegner and Kurt Gray.
Viking, 2016 ($29; 400 pages)
If we could only mind read, we would know how our first date or job interview really went. In reality, we understand little about what goes on in the minds of others, even those we think we know best. According to psychologists Wegner and Gray, “you can never be certain that other minds even exist.” The authors explore these uncertainties, weaving together personal anecdotes and research on human behavior and perception to try to unravel the mysteries of the mind.
The Prodigy’s Cousin: The Family Link between Autism and Extraordinary Talent
by Joanne Ruthsatz and Kimberly Stephens.
Current, 2016 ($28; 288 pages)
What makes a prodigy? Psychology professor Ruthsatz and journalist Stephens examine this question with great nuance. Through her own research, Ruthsatz has found that child prodigies tend to exhibit many traits associated with autism. To explain this overlap, she sets out to understand whether savants and individuals with autism share specific genes. The result offers an intriguing look at the nature of genius.