Nice things people have said about “The First Brain” – Updated

Nice things people have said about “The First Brain” – Updated

If you have read The First Brain, I would ***really*** like to hear from you, especially what can I do better. If you have any questions about it just leave a comment or send me an email at

A candid review at the place that ends in “-azon” would be great! Remember, I want to hear the good the bad and the ugly.

Thank you!


I feel so blessed!

If you are a reader of my blog, you know that my first book came out last April.  You’ll have to forgive me for incessantly talking about it.  After all, The First Brain is kind of my 4th child! (after these three beauties):

my kids

Not bad, huh?

Anyway, the thing is that I discovered that I love writing; I was not expecting to discover it at this stage of my life and I intend to enjoy it to the fullest. Please remember that TFB is a popular science book. I wrote it specifically with laypeople in mind; I hope everyone can enjoy it. I basically use flatworms as a vehicle to explain brain science and general neurobiology, as well as pharmacology…


I intend to keep writing even if nobody reads me. Of course, it is better if I am read, though, and one of the best rewards about it is when people, especially people you respect, have good things to say about your words. I am very grateful of the reviews left by readers at a website whose name ends with ‘-azon’, as I am of the reviews left by colleagues and established science writers. Here are some of them:

From the website that ends with “-azon:

“After reading the book I came away wiser with the knowledge of our evolutionary history. Dr. Pagan sheds light upon subjects that many of us take for granted–only to find that we have a deeper genetic history. It is not only fun to explore but will make us reflect on a more creative path. I could only wish that there were more books written similar to it. Highly recommended!”

-Mr. John Jaksich
Blogger at The Silent Astronomer and DecodedScience.

“Professor Pagan takes us on a fascinating journey looking at these tiny flatworms, with their remarkable ability to regenerate and their astonishing longevity. This book has got something for everyone, including details about a curious experiment with zombie planarians. If you’re looking for an informative, enjoyable, easy-to-read non-fiction book exploring the origins of the brain, then I highly recommend The First Brain: The Neuroscience of Planarians.”

-Mr. Peter Cawdron, Author of:
Galactic Exploration
Little Green Men
Blogger at Thinking Sci-Fi

“This book is written in an engaging conversational style. Dr. Pagan entwines history, philosophy, scientific methods, and the joy of scientific investigation while clearly explaining the role of planarians as model animals for studying a variety of topics, such as regeneration, neurobiology, and pharmacology. This book can be read at many levels. If you want to go deeper into the topics, he provides helpful footnotes and an extensive bibliography. I highly recommend this book, especially for budding scientists.”

Dr. Vida Kenk


Other sites with reviews of the book:

“I would like to see so many more books like this, from scholar-teachers in science. Many of us who teach at liberal-arts colleges are too strapped with obligations to write a book like this, but it would be great to have a library of books written by these teachers, and Pagan’s would be an excellent acquisition for the biology shelf. Could this book start a movement?”

Dr. Ben MacFarland
University Professor, Blogger at Arrow Through the Sun; upcoming OUP author.

From the Teaching Biology website

“This is a pretty remarkable book. Extremely readable for a lay audience, yet providing more than enough depth for an advanced undergraduate looking to specialise in planarians or comparative neuroscience. The first two broad parts may seem irrelevant or tacked on, but they are a critical aspect of the book, as its goal is not only to educate about flatworms, but to inspire us into becoming better scientists. Kudos to Pagán’s writing.”


From the back cover of TFB:

“There are few good books about the evolution of the brain, but this is one of those few — a journey along an ancient byway of the animal kingdom which shows just how blinkered and vertebrate-obsessed neuroscience has become. In The First Brain we learn that planarians have an array of frankly bizarre features with very real implications for the origins of our own cerebral majesty. By the end of this appealingly personal and reflective book, Pagàn has cogently argued that it is only by studying his favorite cannibalistic worm that we can truly understand ourselves.”

-Dr. David Bainbridge; Author of:
Beyond the Zonules of Zinn: A Fantastic Journey Through Your Brain
The X in Sex: How the X Chromosome Controls Our Lives

“Flatworms are about as alien to us as an animal can be, but they finally have an ambassador. Pagan’s engaging book walks us through why flatworms aren’t aliens at all, and why they have the distinction of being the first animals on Earth having a ‘brain.’ …A brain in many respects like our own.”

-Dr. Mark Changizi; Author of:
The Brain from 25,000 Feet: High Level Explorations of Brain Complexity, Perception, Induction and Vagueness
Harnessed: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man
The Vision Revolution: How the Latest Research Overturns Everything We Thought We Knew About Human Vision

“Reading Oné Pagán’s The First Brain is a pleasure akin to sitting in the company of an especially engaging and erudite scientist as he tells of research (his own and others) on his favorite subject: in this case, the wondrous animals you and I call flatworms and biologists call planarians. Dr. Pagán’s enthusiasm for science, neurobiology and the aforementioned creatures is utterly contagious. If you begin the book (like me) not recalling exactly what a planarian is, you’ll close it wondering why you and everyone you know aren’t talking, thinking and writing about them all the time.”

-Dr. David Toomey; Author of:
Weird Life: The Search for Life That is Very, Very Different from Our Own
The New Time Travelers: A Journey to the Frontiers of Physics
Stormchasers: The Hurricane Hunters and Their Fateful Flight into Hurricane Janet

In the Journal of Child Neurology:

“I highly recommend this book to any clinical pediatric neurologist, neuropathologist, or basic neuroscientist with an interest in evolution and who keeps an open mind toward novel phylogenetic perspectives of the origin of the human nervous system, in addition to the novel practical research opportunities provided by this unique animal.

Dr. Harvey Sarnat; Author of:
Evolution of the Nervous System
Malformations of the Nervous System, Volume 87: Handbook of Clinical Neurology
Child Neurology
Pediatric Neurology, Parts I, II, and III


In Foreword 1 of TFB:

“So remember back to when you were a child and you hadn’t heard the word science yet. You were just curious about who you were, what was around you, what everything else was. So you looked, poked, or whatever else you did, to fi nd out. Forget that this natural curiosity might have been lost, or suppressed, by school, by other demands, or by the seemingly imposing terminology of science. Want to get it back? Want to take up where you left off ? Want to feel like a kid again? Then just read this book. And, yes, it is okay to smile while reading a science book.”

Dr. Robert R. Raffa; Author of:
Netter’s Illustrated Pharmacology
Principles in General Pharmacology
Drug-Receptor Thermodynamics: Introduction and Applications


If you want to know more of my scientific research you can click here.

Want to see what my blog is about? Go here for some other posts. You can also subscribe to my blog! Just go to the “Home” page, right hand side.

Comment here or send me a message if you have any questions! My email is:

The cover of the First Brain >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>tfb-cover1

For more details about my book, click here for my author page.

For my Facebook page click here.

My Twitter name is @Baldscientist

For the customary disclaimers go to my “About” page.


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