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The Master and His Emissary


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About the Author

Iain McGilchrist is a former fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, where he taught literature before training in medicine. He now lives on the Isle of Skye, where he continues to write, and lectures worldwide.


“One of the few contemporary works deserving classic status.”—Nicholas Shakespeare, Times (UK)

“Persuasively argues that our society is suffering from the consequences of an over-dominant left hemisphere losing touch with its natural regulative ‘master’ the right. Brilliant and disturbing.”—Salley Vickers, a Guardian “Best Book of the Year”

“A landmark. . . . It tells a story you need to hear, of where we live now.”—Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

“McGilchrist describes broad [intellectual] movements and famous figures as if they were battles and soldiers in a 2,500-year war between the brain’s hemispheres. . . . A scintillating intelligence is at work.”—The Economist

“A veritable tour de force, gradually and skilfully revealed. I know of no better exposition of the current state of functional brain neuroscience.”—W. F. Bynum, Times Literary Supplement

“Clear, penetrating, lively, thorough and fascinating. . . . I couldn’t put it down.”—Mary Midgley, The Guardian

“A seminal book.”—Ervin László, Huffington Post

“A fascinating book. . . . [McGilchrist] is a subtle and clever thinker, and unusually qualified to range with such authority over so many different domains of knowledge.”—Harry Eyres, Financial Times

“A beautifully written, erudite, fascinating and adventurous book.”—A. C. Grayling, Literary Review

“Fascinating and elegantly written.”—Grethe Hooper Hansen, Association for Humanistic Psychology in Britain Magazine

“A densely researched and entirely thrilling examination of the difference between the two kinds of thinking typical of the right and left hemispheres of the brain.”—Philip Pullman, New Statesman

Winner of the Scientific and Medical Network Book Prize 2009

Shortlisted for the Bristol Festival of Ideas Book Prize 2010

Longlisted for the Royal Society Book Prize 2010

“A profound examination.”—Philip Pullman

“Iain McGilchrist’s ideas about human capabilities are among the most provocative I’ve encountered—and I mean provocative in a positive sense.”—Howard Gardner

“A dazzling masterpiece . . . comprehensive and profound.”—Norman Doidge

“A marvellous and highly original synthesis of ideas on how the division of labour between the two brain hemispheres can provide key insights into human nature.”—V. S. Ramachandran

“Unbelievably rich. . . . Of absolutely crucial cultural and intellectual importance.”—Louis Sass

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