In Search of Memory
is Eric R Kandel's account of his life as a scientist studying the workings of the brain, but as well as giving details of his own investigations he includes the relevant scientific background, thus making the book a useful resource for learning about this subject. The autobiographical approach helps to make the science more accessible, and it also shows how success as a scientist often depends what you choose to study - choices that may be difficult and against the advice of your colleagues (such as using the marine snail Aplysia
for the study of memory), but which in Kandel's case lead to him being awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine.
The autobiographical approach means that the book is not really suitable for those wanting an overview of recent neuroscience- its more suited to those wanting to see how our understanding of the brain has progressed. In particular it illustrates the two sides of the study of the brain - the psychoanalytic approach (Kandel started his career as a psychoanalyst) and the more reductionist approach of studying the biology and chemistry of the brain, which formed the basis of his scientific research. Kandel shows how these two approaches may at long last become reunited.