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  • The Master and His Emissary

  • The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World
  • By: Iain McGilchrist
  • Narrated by: Dennis Kleinman
  • Length: 27 hrs and 15 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (59 ratings)

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The Master and His Emissary

By: Iain McGilchrist
Narrated by: Dennis Kleinman
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Publisher's Summary

In a book of unprecedented scope Iain McGilchrist presents a fascinating exploration of the differences between the brain’s left and right hemispheres and how those differences have affected society, history and culture. 

McGilchrist draws on a vast body of recent research in neuroscience and psychology to reveal that the difference is profound: the left hemisphere is detail oriented, while the right has greater breadth, flexibility and generosity. 

McGilchrist then takes the listener on a journey through the history of Western culture, illustrating the tension between these two worlds as revealed in the thought and belief of thinkers and artists from Aeschylus to Magritte.

©2010 Iain McGilchrist (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about The Master and His Emissary

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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating book - some flawed philosophy

Excellent and rigorously scientific exploration of hemisphere differences.

I rate it less than five stars because it engages in victim-blaming of Galileo, in the way that many Catholics do; 'it was his own fault for having a prickly personality'. Pretty disgusting excusing of threats of torture, for the 'crime' of publicising evidence that went against the Church's dogma.

Also, he fails to properly understand Dawkins, offering a truncated and dismissive recounting of memetic theory, without properly engaging with it - save to decry it as being based on Left- hemisphere reasoning, which isn't really an argument. One gets the feeling that the author has ulterior motives for disagreeing with what he calls 'the Dawkins Delusion' - I suspect McGilchrist is a theist and for some reason chooses to hide this from the reader.

There were other philosophical arguments in the second half of the book which I personally found disagreeable but were less egregious.

A great book in the first half, where it bases its reasoning in science, but weaker in the second, where the author goes into history and philosophy. Always remember to think for yourself and question where the author might be coming from.

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12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Very thought provoking

it's long, but it needs to be, makes sense of alot of things we see around us. I hope more read it and consider it's impacts.

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3 people found this helpful

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Difficult but well worth it

A very dense work but full of insights. It will require many ‘readings’ to get the full benefit and be just as interesting and enjoyable each time

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2 people found this helpful

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Excellent book worth the time and money

McGilchrist writes in high English, and comes across as long winded especially in the second half however the content is not lacking his overview of the left and right half’s of the brain with clinical examples is on point shedding light on the current political leftist situation as more akin to a mental illness then a life style chose, contrary to popular beliefs.

Suggestion to the author, omit referencing to the quantum physicist as it does nothing for their egos and if memory serves me correctly they are over due in their completion of that fusion machine.

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Took me 6 months to get through, incredible, life changing.

Despite only understanding ~60% of this book, I ‘grasped’ the main ideas. I think I’ll need to do a write-up of what I got out of it for my own personal development.
Iain writes clearly and links concepts together with ease. Some of the historical art and philosophy sections seemed a bit lost on me, but were overall insightful. The ideas he presents touch on every aspect of human experience. This illuminates many areas of conflict within my our thought-life, society, and nature itself, increasing empathy and understanding along the way. Strap yourself in and get started with this great book!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Worth the effort.

This is a very important and insightful book. The reading starts off hard to bear, heavy, monotonous and lacking proper spaces, but does lighten up a bit and move toward more natural intonation as it goes on. The content is definitely worth the perseverance.

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Relief from Scientism

great balance to the predominance if scientism. We are more than meat and electricity. some bits were a bit dry but overall very enjoyable. i learned a lot

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Though provoking and extremely well researched.

One of my favourites - be warned this book is very dense and very long but some how it didn't feel like a struggle to finish it. I have a good background in the science / medical aspects of which there is a lot in this book. But there is also an extensive discussion on the nature of the hemisphere differences in the history of the artistic and scientific revolutions in Europe. I found this very educational. However, the author has a more sympathetic view to a more traditional theistic world view and seems to overstate the advantages and gloss over the problems associated with more 'traditional' societies.

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Brilliant

Like all the great authors, McGilchrist produces a great work that helps the reader see the truth compared to the programmed reality we find ourselves in. Recommended pre-reading: Nietzsche, Girard, Dostoevsky.

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Fantastic

Wow what a book of amazing knowledge… such an in-depth look at everything, recommended reading/listening… I will be repeating the experience as once was definitely not enough to digest even parts of it… thank you

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