This time around, we’re talking to Jonah Lehrer of The Frontal Cortex.
What’s your name?
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
I pretty much live inside a gaggle of words. I spend my entire day either writing or reading so I can write more. HBO and Netflix are my main escapes.
What is your blog called?
The Frontal Cortex
What’s up with that name?
It’s the brain area where it all comes together.
How long have you been blogging, anyway?
Where are you from and where do you live now?
Born and raised in the mean streets of Los Angeles. I now live in Concord, NH, which is pretty much the polar opposite of LA.
Would you describe yourself as a working scientist?
I worked as a lab tech for several years, before I realized that I was incapable of being a good scientist. I was the guy who would mess up mini-preps from a kit.
Any educational experiences or degrees you’d like to mention?
I was lucky enough to get a Rhodes scholarship, which allowed me to spend two glorious years studying all sorts of wonderfully useless things.
What are your main academic interests, in or out of your field?
Neuroscience and 20th century literature.
The last book you read?
The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud. And I just started The Echo Maker by Richard Powers.
What’s your greatest habitual annoyance?
My cockatiel nipping at my fingers while I type. I know he means well, but it still drives me crazy.
Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Lily, from To the Lighthouse. And Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.
Your favorite heroes in real life?
What’s your most marked characteristic?
Curiosity, I hope.
What’s your principal defect?
Too many to count.
What quality do you admire most in a person?
Somone willing to change their mind.
Who are your favorite writers?
Woolf, Proust, Auden. Nonfiction? I’m a sucker for pluralists and pragmatists: William James, Louis Menand, Isaiah Berlin, Oliver Sacks, Malcolm Gladwell.
What would you like to be?
To be honest, I can’t imagine a better job than writing about science.