The Second Brain

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A Book Review by the staff of

The Second Brain : A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestines (Your Gut Has a Mind of Its Own), by Michael D. Gershon, M.D. (Harper Paperbacks; HarperPerennial Ed edition, New York, 1999)


Sure, it's a little embarrassing and maybe even un-American to admit to book-learning outside the necessary training in Biblical truth, especially when the subject of the book in question is so obviously sciencey. However, this book deserves more leeway than most in the pro-research-agenda genre, because its subject matter redeems it from the flames of hell.

I actually read this book before Our Glorious Stephen instructed us all to use our guts to feel the way to truthiness, so when Professor Dr. Colbert suggested looking up the truth of his assertions about guts and nerve-endings in books (and in guts), I thought, "Well, there is a book about that." Then I felt guilty about being a factinista, and I decided to keep quiet.

Second brain cover

Now you can look it up in a book.

The day has come, though, for me to make a clean breast of it. I can keep quiet no longer: Stephen called it, once again. This book confirms his rightness on all questions of guts.

Dr. Michael Gershon, the founder of "neurogastroenterology," is a brain-and-gut-and-gutbrain doctor who does research on the Enteric Nervous System (or ENT), which is the the part of the human nervous system that lives in the gut. In this book, Gershon shows scientifically that "gut feelings" are not mere metaphors, but do, in fact have a biological basis in the ENT. The gut, it turns out, has a biological “mind” of its own -- a gut-brain, so to speak -- and as such, it is an important site of sensation and sense-making.

So this is all good, in terms of making a case for the factinistas, Ivy-League intellectuals, scientists, and other snobs who might try to tell you that you should be "thinking" with your "head" instead of feeling with your gut. Unfortunately, this book is not available in an audiobook format, and the writing itself may be boring to your gut. Your gut already knows that it doesn't need your head to tell it what to do. Which means, I guess, that this book is kind of a waste of time.

But it is good to be able to point to it, and say, "Oh yeah? Well what about that?" Plus, it's pretty heavy (I have the hard cover), so it's also good for hitting people who insist that "thinking" is better than "feeling" over their obnoxious, know-it-all heads.

Review SummaryEdit

ABall1ABall1ABall1: Scientific proof that Stephen is right.

BEARsquBEARsqu: Scientific.

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