The Tailored Brain

From Ketamine, to Keto, to Companionship, A User’s Guide to Feeling Better and Thinking Smarter


By Emily Willingham

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$38.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 14, 2021. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

A candid and practical guide to the new frontier of brain customization

Dozens of books promise to improve your brain function with a gimmick. Lifestyle changes, microdosing, electromagnetic stimulation: just one weird trick can lightly alter or dramatically deconstruct your brain.

In truth, there is no one-size-fits-all shortcut to the ideal mind. Instead, the way to understand cognitive enhancement is to think like a tailor: measure how you need your brain to change and then find a plan that suits it.

In The Tailored Brain, Emily Willingham explores the promises and limitations of well-known and emerging methods of brain customization, including prescription drugs, diets, and new research on the power of your “social brain.”

Packed with real-life examples and checklists that allow readers to better understand their cognitive needs, this is the definitive guide to a better brain. 

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  • "Fascinating and timely."
  • “This searching guide to better brain health….effectively punches holes in unproven practices.”
    Publishers Weekly
  • “In a field characterized by junk science and false promises, Willingham offers something radical and unique—a book about improving your brain that layers rigorous science upon a moral center of kindness and empathy. The Tailored Brain is for people who want to think better and be good doing it. It’s also hilarious.”
    Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes
  • “We all want to know what neuroscience can teach us about changing our minds to make us better people—for ourselves and our world. But that research often lacks clarity, and the literature of wellness and self-improvement is full of woo and nonsense. Luckily, we have Emily Willingham. She’s an ace, and The Tailored Brain turns a cacophony of information into actionable, life-changing music.”
    Adam Rogers, author of Full Spectrum
  • “Willingham is one of the smartest science journalists working today. In The Tailored Brain, she skillfully identifies evidence-based ways to lift our moods and sharpen our minds and calls out dodgy marketing claims about brain health. The Tailored Brain also explores how storytelling hones our empathy skills, eases mental burdens, and points us toward creative problem-solving. A must-read for anyone interested in brains and cognition.”
    Christie Aschwanden, author of Good to Go
  • “Willingham invites you to connect your brain with hers, and what an amazing and profitable connection it is! She makes the science of the brain engaging, accessible, and relevant, from stress and anxiety to cognition, emotions, and so much more. With thoughtful, evidence-based action plans for optimizing your own mind-body connection, this is a timely and much-needed book.”
    Dr. Jen Gunter, author of The Menopause Manifesto

On Sale
Dec 14, 2021
Page Count
304 pages
Basic Books

Emily Willingham

About the Author

Emily Willingham is a journalist and science writer. She is the author of Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis and coauthor of The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resource for Your Child’s First Four Years. Willingham is a regular contributor to Scientific American. She lives in Marin County, California.  

Learn more about this author