Top positive review
Comparing to the Third Edition
Reviewed in the United States on July 20, 2015
Since this edition is brand new at this writing, I'm taking the time to compare it to the wonderful third edition of the same text. The reason is simple: the old edition is now available for $3 US used, and the new is over $110. Even a completely sealed, code unused with CD of the third can be had for under $20 US from marketplace sellers from time to time, so the cost investment difference is significant.
Two reasons why some might try to sell you on this vs. the third: 1. It is for a class and the teacher insists that some of the exercises or animations are more up to date here or 2. You agree with the publisher that a "lot" has happened in Neuroscience since 2006.
I've gone page for page over the exercises, and unless your teacher is a real butthead, or paid by the publisher, they really are not that different in this edition! Besides, this is NOT a deeply technical text, it is a very student friendly overview that actually is a real pleasure to read. The authors are such good writers, that it reads like a novel, and both editions have been praised for making reading/studying a dopamine studded pleasurable experience, not a painful chore.
As far as all the new science: well, hmmm. There IS a lot of new research, which you can look up on the web. BUT, the genome stuff, and functional MRI, were abundantly present 9 years ago, and the fine illustrations in the Third (as well as this) can't be much improved by animation. The requests for "internalization" of brain images were not really changed in this edition, and the online material is updated, but the third's online is/was so good, as well as the CD for you auditory folk, that it was a hard act to follow.
Unlike many rushed out "new" editions, there IS significant work put into this new edition; it is not a scam like many other texts that rip us off every other year with "new." However, if you're reading it for self study, or even to augment a class with another primary text, the third should definitely be considered given the price difference. I write here for readers on a budget like me, if money is no object, I'd get this book over the third in a heartbeat, just for some of the web extras and some of the newer illustrations.
My two main interests, intelligence and pharmacokinetics of the brain, weren't expanded much between the two, so consider my biases in this regard also. I don't really get the publishers "DNA sequencing" comments, because most of the molecular presentation is very similar, and the new web references to newer research is, well, on the web! Again, if money is not a consideration, the new web material and citations ARE great, more up to date, and worth it. The real issue is that both of these fine editions are treasured NOT for their research depth but for their readability, and you can't improve much on that with the fine third.
For reference, I'm a roboticist and a member of the NENGO team in neural research. I use the third edition of this text in online neuro classes, then specific other texts in areas this introduces. IF YOU TEACH I will guarantee you one thing for sure: your students will LOVE you for EITHER edition of this text, as it is one of the most well written, enjoyable books in ANY field. It's like Bob Spetzler meets John Grisham, a real page turner. How many texts can you honestly say that about? Enjoy!