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Synopsis

When journalist Dennis Cass was nineteen years old his stepfather, Bill, suffered from a psychotic break. Cass tried to commit him to a mental institution only to watch Bill escape from a cab en route to a Harlem hospital and run raving down the streets of Manhattan. Some fifteen years later, a bout of writer's block turned Cass's thoughts toward the brain.

A complete stranger to science, Cass immersed himself in the world of neuroscience, subjecting himself to brain scans, psychological tests, and scientific conferences, as he attempted to gain a better understanding of ADHD, anxiety, stress, motivation and reward, and consciousness. Then things got a little weird. What began as a more clinical effort to understand himself soon became a personal and emotional journey into the fragile, mysterious workings of the mind and the self.

Head Case is a charming, hilarious, and at times harrowing memoir of scientific experimentation. It's a story of science and society, of fathers and sons, and of how the past lives on in the present. Along the way the book asks timeless questions: What do we know about ourselves? What can we know about ourselves? And how much self-knowledge can a single person handle?

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