pardon my amygdala (murffy) Fri 27 Feb 04 11:47
>sounds like hypomania to me Uh oh. I must be sick. Any good drugs that can cure me? What if I don't want to be cured?
Steven Johnson (stevenjohnson) Fri 27 Feb 04 12:02
Thanks for the plug and nice words about Fresh Air -- it deposited Mind Wide Open at #3 on the Amazon bestseller list today, which is pretty funny. Just Da Vinci Code and South Beach Diet separating me from the top slot! Interesting to hear some of you resonating with my dopamine story. I think Jane gets it right the way she describes becoming conscious of these patterns. They don't go away, exactly, but their effects seem strangely subdued by recognizing them, by expecting their arrival. In a sense, you can plan your day around them, or your work cycle. On this tour, for instance, I found that there was something very draining, and no doubt dopamine related, about going out and doing my little performance about the book, particularly for a crowd, but also for a media interview. I'd get amped up for the interview or the talk, and then feel totally flattened afterwards. Now, normally, I'd have scheduled a bunch of work at the hotel afterwards, but as I started to recognize the pattern -- and as my schedule got increasingly booked -- I started blocking out time explicitly to just sit around and recoup: take a nap, schedule a massage, watch TV, etc. The up-and-down cycle was still there, to a certain extent, but I'd figured out a way not to fight the down part of the cycle...
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Fri 27 Feb 04 16:19
How do you keep up with what's happening in neurology? Are there any web sites you'd particularly recommend?
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 27 Feb 04 19:20
Today would normally be the wind-down of this discussion, though of course everyone is welcome to keep the conversation going as long as you'd like... and I don't think we've quite had closure, anyway. But I do want to step in and thank Steven and Mark for baring their brains over the last couple of weeks!
Uncle Jax, the Nicest Asshole on the Well (jax) Fri 27 Feb 04 19:49
I just wanted to ask Steve if he'd ever read the novel "Doctor Pascal" by Emile Zola. Some funny 19th-C. ideas about neurochemistry in that book from a time when the science was just being discovered.
gary (ggg) Fri 27 Feb 04 20:27
picked up a copy at city lights, where it's prominently displayed in its own little, face-out row on top of new arrivals ... ... the dopamine thread is very interesting too. There's a resonance to something Daniel Goleman talks about, wherein the "set point" gets reset (through emotional intelligence) and so, in a sense, rewiring. ... and so now Steve knows that when he's bumped from his #3 throne at amazon by some flash-in-the-pan fluke (later, rather than sooner, we hope), he won't go pig out on a cartonful of reese peanut butter cups ...
Jeff Loomis (jal) Sat 28 Feb 04 00:32
Re: hypomania, like you said it's a good thing in moderation. It's funny how some research correlates it with larger amygdala and other research smaller amygdala. But there does seem to be a connection there. Of course there are drugs, but they don't really cure you, even if you'd like to be cured. Just enjoy.
pardon my amygdala (murffy) Sun 29 Feb 04 13:38
I'll do my best. Thanks Jon, and thanks Steven for your time.
pardon my amygdala (murffy) Sun 29 Feb 04 13:43
Oh, another thing, that Amazon.com sales rank has got to be a dopamine curse for book writers. Something they ought not to pay attention to, but how could they possibly not pay attention to it. I know I couldn't.
Steven Johnson (stevenjohnson) Sun 29 Feb 04 19:27
Down to #20 on the Amazon list... Too distraught to post here... Must... get... more... dopamine....
pardon my amygdala (murffy) Mon 1 Mar 04 11:42
If your expectations have been reset to 3 or better, I'd say you're in trouble.
jane hirshfield (jh) Mon 1 Mar 04 21:57
And to think I leapt for joy on breaking under 1000. Which I only learned about when an evil friend looked and tipped me off. I think I peaked in the 600s or 300s or something. One thing about them selling the used books now, it really destroyed my ongoing rankings for backlist titles. Every one of them took an enormous dive from where they'd sat steadily for years. By the way, I just got a new book by Michael Shermer which might be of interest to those who read Mind Wide Open--it's about the biological bases of ethics, morality, etc. He's starting his book tour today, and I heard him give a private preview talk about it yesterday. (Hope it's not bad form to mention another book, Steven, in your topic.)
gary (ggg) Tue 2 Mar 04 19:50
Amazon.com rankings aren't just the top books of the year (and I read that there are now 150,000 books published, in English, in one year) -- -- rather, they're rankings out of the entire Amazon.com catalogue, which is to say, of all the millions of books in print (I think it's like 5 million).
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