As a psychology major in the late 70's and early 80's it seemed that every textbook for every class included the story of Phineas Gage. He was the guy who had a tamping iron accidentally blasted through his cheek and out the top of his head while working on a railroad explosives crew in 1848. There were always illustrations, daguerreotypes, and a gruesome description of his injury. (As I read the Wikipedia page about him right now, I get a little sparkly thing at the back of my eyeballs, and I'm not easily grossed out.) As students, what always blew our disco-studded minds was that Gage lived. Not only lived, but seemed mostly normal. However, as we all know, "normal" has a lot of gray matter near the edges.
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons is Kean's newest book. His first one, The Disappearing Spoon was super good, and very easy to read even if one may have gotten a C in high school chemistry. This one promises to be just as good, thanks in part to Phineas Gage. And I like brains better than the periodic table anyway.