Difficulty: 6 (Moderate)
Main Idea: The brain can change itself (duh!)
Recommended For: Must read for any fan of Popular Science. Also, a great intro to the field of neuroplasticity for anyone who is interested in that.
A very comprehensive look at neuroplasticity and the human brain. Doidge takes a tireless, journalistic approach to the subject as he interviews many top neurology experts including Edward Taub, the creator of CI therapy to rehabilitate stroke victims back to fully function people, Michael Merzenich, the founder of Posit Science, a program that exercises the brain to perform better in a vast array of areas, and V.S. Ramachandran who cured the phantom limb phenomena where by an amputee still feels pain or an itch where his amputated limb used to be. Mixed in with these leaders of the industry are compelling case studies such as the women born with half a brain, miraculous stroke patient recoveries, and numerous, telling animal studies. All of which make a powerful case for the huge impact that the brain’s plasticity has on our lives. Doidge tackles the issue of neuroplasticity from all angles, not just from a medical perspective. He has a chapter in using brain plasticity for self improvement, and explains studies showing that imagination is almost as good as real life practice. Socially, he examines the media and technology’s impact on our brains. Evolutionarily, he explains that we went from cavemen to business men largely in part due to neuroplasticity. Historically, he looks at ancient philosophers who intuited that the brain is plastic. Overall, this book is fascinating. Every chapter he pulls out another interesting case study, or another interview with a brilliant mind, or another interesting point. Because the book is so broad, I did find it drags sometimes. This book is awesome in that it really proves that neuroplasticity is real. I am coming from a point of self improvement, and I would have liked to see more study in that field. Nonetheless, this is a great book to aware you on the amazing power of your brain. After having read this, I am definately looking out for ways to apply this to self improvement.
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