Biblio-Treasures: “Fowler’s Self-Instructor In Phrenology.”

Though I have very few books I could designate as “collectible,” I do love collecting books, as the photos of my bookshelf demonstrate. Though books are predominately for reading (duh), owning books designed in a creative fashion, first editions, signed copies, or just plain hard-to-find volumes are something I love to add to my collection.

Last week, I added this to my list of treasures:

This book is awesome, mostly because I think pseudosciences are fascinating.  Phrenology was this “science” that said that different parts of the brain function as different abilities and emotions, and you could tell how good your abilities in those areas were by measuring the corresponding section of your skull. Obviously, this theory was completely disproven, though it did break at least a little bit of ground as far as neuroscience goes in theorizing that emotions originated in the brain.

That’s what’s awesome about pseudoscience: it often leads to real scientific discovery. While some scientists would scoff at such a book as this (it IS pseudoscience, after all), it would probably do them good to look at it and remember where all science and study begins: in curiosity. Without curiosity, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

The book comes with a map of the brain and the corresponding areas to measure your head. You’ve probably seen this image before, but the maps often looked like this.

What’s really awesome about Fowler’s Self-Instructor In Phrenology is that you can measure your own brain, score yourself, and find a “business adaptation” for your findings. Part of me finds this whole idea hilarious, sure, but it’s also fun for me to find a treasure like this.  I certainly don’t plan on selling it now, but maybe I will down the road one day.

What about you? Do you have any books in your collection that you treasure because of their value?


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