Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pg. 99: David J. Linden's "The Compass of Pleasure"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good by David J. Linden.

About the book, from the publisher:
A leading brain scientist's look at the neurobiology of pleasure-and how pleasures can become addictions.

Whether eating, taking drugs, engaging in sex, or doing good deeds, the pursuit of pleasure is a central drive of the human animal. In The Compass of Pleasure Johns Hopkins neuroscientist David J. Linden explains how pleasure affects us at the most fundamental level: in our brain.

As he did in his award-winning book, The Accidental Mind, Linden combines cutting-edge science with entertaining anecdotes to illuminate the source of the behaviors that can lead us to ecstasy but that can easily become compulsive. Why are drugs like nicotine and heroin addictive while LSD is not? Why has the search for safe appetite suppressants been such a disappointment? The Compass of Pleasure concludes with a provocative consideration of pleasure in the future, when it may be possible to activate our pleasure circuits at will and in entirely novel patterns.
David J. Linden, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His publications include The Accidental Mind, his book that "seeks to explain how brain evolution has given rise to those qualities that most profoundly shape our human experience."

Read about the collection of short stories Linden called "knee-slapping funny, surreal and profound all at once," at Writers Read: David J. Linden.

Visit the official The Compass of Pleasure blog.

The Page 99 Test: The Compass of Pleasure.

--Marshal Zeringue