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Me, Myself and Why: Searching for the Science of Self

By Jennifer Ouellette

A fascinating tour through the science behind who we are and how we got this way

As diverse as people appear to be, all of our genes are nearly identical. In Me, Myself and Why, Jennifer Ouellette dives into the minuscule ranges of variation to understand just what sets us apart. She draws on cutting-edge research in genetics, neuroscience, and psychology -- enlivened as always with her signature sense of humor -- to explore the mysteries of human identity and behavior.

Readers follow her own surprising journey of self-discovery as she has her genome sequenced, her brain mapped, her personality typed, and even samples a popular hallucinogen. Bringing together everything from Mendel's famous pea plant experiments and mutations in The X-Men to our taste for cilantro and our relationships with virtual avatars, Ouellette takes us on an endlessly thrilling and illuminating trip into the science of ourselves.

Barnes and Noble


Holly Watson
Viking Penguin Publicity Manager
holly.watson [at]

Listen to Jennifer chat with Ira Flatow on Science Friday.

Watch Jennifer on The Agenda with Steve Paiken:


"Science journalist Jennifer Ouellette's exploration of the science of self is an engrossing and often amusing tour of elite labs and edgy research." --Nature

"Ouellette is a smart, well-studied, and personable companion.... There are a number of approaches to defining a person, and this task has engaged philosophers, theologians, scientists, and pretty much everyone who has ever lived, at least since mirrors were invented. Ouellette looks at all of the methods listed above, and more, in trying to figure out who she is and what tools are at hand for firguring out who anyone is." --Wall Street Journal

"Tackling 'the science of self' could easily get tedious or even a little boring, but in the capable hands of Jennifer Ouellette, it's nothing but fun.... Her ability to make rather advanced theories interesting and relatable makes this a must read for those who have a passion for science but would rather be reading Joan Didion." --Bust

"It is hard to imagine a more delightful guide to the science of self than Ouellette. In Me, Myself, and Why, she uses all the devices of contemporary genetics, brain scanning and personality testing to delve deep into the formation of her own self." --Prospect

"Ouellette explores the concept of identity through scientific, medical, and psychological testing on her journey of self-discovery. She is an expert at communicating tough scientific concepts to broad audiences, and here she uses personal narrative to appeal to her readers as she skillfully recounts her experiences." --Psychology Today

"[A] writer with keen intelligence, curiosity, a spirit of adventure, and a sense of humor. Solid science well infused with readable history, pop culture and personal stories." --Kirkus Reviews

"An entertaining, insightful, and thoughtful reflection on our assumptions about ourselves and the mystery that is at the heart of the human story." -- Booklist

"From an author with a flair for making complex subjects simple comes a clear, direct tour of the biology of the self." -- Publishers Weekly

Selected Media:

Inquiring Minds podcast with Chris Mooney

WGBH Radio/Innovation Hub

Virtually Speaking Science with Alan Boyle

Talk Nerdy podcast with Cara Santa Maria

Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast

Science for the People podcast

Physics Central podcast

Interview with Uprising Radio

And check out Jennifer on Chaotic Awesome:

Table of Contents



1: What's Bred in the Bone
2: Uncharted Territory
3: Moveable Types


4: Three and I'm Under the Table
5: My So-Called Second Life
6: Born This Way


7: Feed Your Head
8: Ghost in the Machine
9: The Accidental Fabulist


Cover design and illustration by Jason Ramirez