David Presti, Ph.D., is an interesting guy.
He is a practitioner: For more than a decade, Presti worked as a clinical psychologist in the treatment of addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco. His areas of expertise include drugs’ effects on the brain, the treatment of addiction, and the scientific study of the mind and consciousness.
He is a teacher: Presti has decades of experience teaching neuroscience, from classes filled with Tibetan monastics in India to stateside courses at UC Berkeley and UC Berkeley Extension. At Berkeley, he serves in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, and teaches Behavioral Health Sciences courses at Extension, where he was named an Honored Instructor.
David Presti is also an author and researcher. His latest book, Foundational Concepts in Neuroscience: A Brain-Mind Odyssey, hit the presses in early 2016, and is shaped by experiences he’s had as a Berkeley professor. “For more than 20 years, I have taught a class on introductory neuroscience at UC Berkeley,” he recalls. “That class is the framework for this book, which is intended to offer a thorough description of how nervous systems work and how they relate to our behavior and mind.”
But this isn’t just another dry textbook culled from years in front of the classroom. All those years of teaching prompted Presti to create a text that was engaging and accessible to anyone interested in learning about the brain. Acknowledging perceptions about academic texts, he insists, “This book is the antidote: comprehensive and exacting, while affable, hopefully fun to read and notably inexpensive.”
If that isn’t enough, Presti’s enthusiasm for the book’s subject is contagious. “Study of the brain is one of the most exciting areas of contemporary science,” he relates. “Stories related to brain science appear in the news media practically every day, and popular books on the brain are abundant. Basic knowledge about the human brain and what we know and don’t know about its operation is increasingly important for all educated folk.”