About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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August 30, 2006

The Naked Brain and the Naked Truth About the Neurosociety

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Posted by Zack Lynch

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I have been writing (and rewriting) a book titled Our Emerging Neurosociety: How Brain Science Is Shaping Business, Politics and Culture. Over the past four years, I've published articles in academic journals, given numerous interviews and traveled the world speaking at conferences about the socio-political implications of neurotechnologies.

So, I was very, very suprised recently when I ran across a book to be published in September with an eerily similiar title (The Naked Brain: How the Emerging Neurosociety is Changing How We Live, Work, and Love) and later chapter content (according to information at the Library of Congress). While I hate to give blog space and increased attention to this author, I felt I had to say something here if only to mitigate confusion. The truth is, at first, I was outraged at being ripped off - whether by author, publisher, or editor I do not know. After some time for reflection, I am torn because I coined the term 'neurosociety' with the sole purpose of creating a sensible 'meme' that might capture the popular imagination and help galvanize a conversation around the profound social implications that neurotechnology represents for humanity. Having "neurosociety" in the book title represents a win for the concept but unfortunately the narrow breadth of issues covered in this book which appears to be told from an academic perspective doesn't do the 'neurosociety' justice. So it's a win for brand, but loss on the content.

To set the record straight on the web, I've taken the neurosociety domains that I had been reserving for my book and used them to explore some of the highlights of the neurosociety. For those of you waiting on my book, I can only say that it is still a work in process but that it will be worth it. Lastly, a warning to bloggers, watch out for your intellectual property.

Comments (9) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurosociety


1. Kensai on September 1, 2006 3:34 AM writes...

Ι've been reading your blog for some time now, Zack, and it's a shame to see that others have taken advantage of your efforts to inform the general public and interest groups of the coming "Neurosociety".

As far as it concerns me, the impostor's book will be blacklisted from my shopping cart. I'm waiting for the real thing! :)

Bloggers' intellectual property is another big issue, especially if an author is making forward-looking statements.

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2. Richard Petty on September 1, 2006 10:29 PM writes...

Dear Zach,

My heart goes out to you.

I've been reading, enjoying, recommending and linking to your blog for nine months, and you are clearly the "real deal" in terms of thinking creatively about some of these new phenomena.

It's no consolation to tell you that I've had the self-same thing happen to me several times. I've not seen the new book, and though it may be a worthy effort, I worry that it will fall into another category. Most people know that it was the academic work of Deborah Tannen - amongst others - that provided some of the underpinning to the Men are from Mars series. Yet she gets no mention.

The good thing about that last example, and why it is so relevant to your book, is that John Gray's popular work had the effect of introducing the world to Deborah's important contributions.

Twenty years ago I made a serious blunder: I trashed a whole manuscript because I thought that someone else had beaten me to the punch. In reality, the other book had a few of my bullet points and none of the supporting material. It became pretty clear once the other author started speaking about his book, that his understanding was at best rudimentary.

I implore you to continue to assemble your manuscript, and not to make my youthful error. The people who really need your information will find it fast enough, and it won't be difficult to work out who created and who publicized.

Good luck!

Kindest regards,


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3. Koldwyn on September 4, 2006 10:25 AM writes...

For someone with your insight, about neuroscience and technology, I am surprised by a blogger warning.

I am shocked that you think you were ripped off.

The term "Neuro" and "society" are not exactly wacky phrases no other human could have come up with.

I think what is interesting is exploring the links neurolinguistically between two parallel minds linked not just by ideas or conceptual frameworks but by links in hypertext.

But sadly your response was one of typical of defending the"invincible center" and used far more resources from the primitive brain than that of say the paleo-mammalian part your society of neuro-technological artifacts will seem to produce.

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4. Suzanne on September 5, 2006 11:19 AM writes...

Hello Zack

My name is Suzanne from Australia, and I recently subscribed to your site and have been enjoying the ride ever since.

I don't believe you should have any real concerns regarding this assumed 'theft' of intellectual property. After all, it's information and information only becomes valuable when shared. This is an awesome compliment for it serves to make your work even more credible!

AND, then there is the most powerful force in the universe, that of 'karma'. Karma has a way of working things out, be patient and wait for karma to do its thing....and it will.


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5. Steve on September 5, 2006 2:54 PM writes...

Zack, if you're so concerned about the use of the term "neurosociety" and you feel that you should have some ownership over the use of it, then you need to take the necessary steps (and pay the necessary fees) to TRADEMARK the term.

You seem like a very intelligent person with a lot of great insight on the neuroscience industry. However, the fact that you feel the need to put together a separate website devoted to this issue belies a level of insecurity and "territoriality" that one would NOT expect from an industry expert.

My advice - stop the petty whining and "venting." It does nothing except undermine your perception in the community. Instead, defend your intellectual capital (and profit potential) by staking your claim legally.

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6. rsk on September 8, 2006 9:38 PM writes...


Highly creative individuals (such as yourself) who are open and freely share ideas are often copied by those who believe they can capitalize on a "borrowed" idea and gain some notariety from it. I recently felt some reluctance about sharing some novel ideas for fear that they would be stolen. I was reminded by a wise friend, that while someone may be able to preempt the announcement of that idea, what is missing is the depth or richness of concepts and the history that no one else can lay claim to. My friend would say "let them steal the idea, they can't develop it or implement it the way you could... and besides you will come up with 10 more ideas."

So while someone can "borrow" a concept or title, the missing element is you. There is no competition.

I look forward to your book.

Best regards

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7. Manuel Seitz on November 23, 2006 6:50 AM writes...

London-born rapper Sway is to be honoured at the BET Hip-Hop awards in the US...

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8. Dimitri Lowry on November 24, 2006 2:24 AM writes...

London-born rapper Sway is to be honoured at the BET Hip-Hop awards in the US...

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9. Aldo Platt on November 24, 2006 8:25 AM writes...

Pop trio Atomic Kitten will reform to play a concert in support of jailed Liverpool football fan Michael Shields...

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