How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why it Matters



Gordon M. Shepherd


Columbia University Press, 2012


ISBN: 978-0-231-15910-4

I purchased this book for two reasons: the title was very provocative and because it was written by Gordon Shepherd. I am familiar with Gordon Shepherd because he wrote the textbook "Neurobiology", which I read nearly cover to cover when I was an undergraduate student and working in the Laboratory Of Neurobiology And Experimental Microsurgery (Department Of Medicine, Javeriana University Bogota, Colombia). It was my first in depth view of neuroscience which ultimately convinced me to pursue my PhD in neuroscience.


This book will give you a very good summary of what the olfactory system is and how it works, but it is rather superficial. I suppose that this is enough for general audiences but from time to time the book feels like it rushes through different topics leaving the reader wanting for more. Nevertheless, I think this book is a great introduction to the student that wants to know more about the olfactory system; plus it is written by one of the scientists in the world that helped define olfactory circuits. This book will compellingly convince you that olfaction is much more complex than we are taught to believe. In particular the book defines the difference between orthonasal and retronasal olfaction and how in particular retronasal olfaction defines human behavior. Don't know what these terms mean? Then check out this book!