Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

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Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
Book cover
AuthorDavid Eagleman
PublishedMay 31, 2011, Pantheon (US), Canongate (UK)
Media typeHardcover, paperback, audiobook, e-Book
ISBN0-307-37733-4 978-0307377333

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain is a 2011 New York Times best-selling[1] nonfiction book by American neuroscientist David Eagleman,[2] an adjunct professor at Stanford University.[3] The book explores the juxtaposition of the conscious and the unconscious mind, with Eagleman summing up the text's themes with the question: "If the conscious mind—the part you consider to be you—is just the tip of the iceberg, what is the rest doing?"[4]

In Incognito, Eagleman contends that most of the operations of the brain are inaccessible to awareness, such that the conscious mind "is like a stowaway on a transatlantic steam ship, taking credit for the journey without acknowledging the massive engineering underfoot."


Incognito appeared on the New York Times best-sellers list intermittently in 2011 and 2012. It was named a Best Book of 2011 by Amazon,[5] the Boston Globe,[6] and the Houston Chronicle.[7]

The book was reviewed as "appealing and persuasive" by the Wall Street Journal[8] and "a shining example of lucid and easy-to-grasp science writing" by The Independent.[9] A starred review from Kirkus Reviews described it as "a book that will leave you looking at yourself—and the world—differently."[10]

In July 2011, Eagleman discussed Incognito with Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report.[11]


  1. ^ Inside the NYT Bestseller's List, New York Times Sunday Book Review, June 10, 2011
  2. ^ David Eagleman and the Mysteries of the Brain, The New Yorker, April 25, 2011.
  3. ^ Eagleman homepage at Stanford
  4. ^ see Incognito's mini-website (under Eagleman's official website)
  5. ^ Best Science Books of 2011
  6. ^ "Boston Globe: Best Books of the Year 2011". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on May 21, 2012. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  7. ^ "Bookish: Best Books of 2011". Archived from the original on April 27, 2019. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  8. ^ The Stranger Within, Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2011
  9. ^ Incognito review, The Independent, April 17, 2011
  10. ^ Kirkus Reviews - Incognito, April 15, 2011.
  11. ^ Colbert Report: David Eagleman, Aired July 21, 2011.

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