I don't often re-read books and have never listened to an audio book twice, but I found this book so fascinating and informative that I listened to it twice in a row. This book presents some startling evidence that exercise is not just good for our bodies, but how it actually alters and improves our minds through documented brain changes that take place after even a small amount of exercise. Presented in an accessible format, Ratey shows how doing what we were naturally built to do - move - is some of the best medicine we have, for both physical and mental ills - as well as a way to improve performance on mental tasks. While it would help to have some familiarity with basic neuro terms (like knowing what a neurotransmitter or a synapse is) it's not absolutely necessary' as he does a good job of simply explaining terms as he uses them. I am fascinated with "brain stuff" and have studied a fair amount in this area but learned more from listening to this book than I have from academic books that are specifically about how the brain works (perhaps having the examples of how movement and brain function interact helped to explain the brain part better). I think the listeners who found the book repetitive may have been expecting something other than what he provides here. The "news" comes right up front: exercise has a remarkable effect on the brain and our ability to think. This book provides the evidence, not a flashy sideshow of "breaking headlines". The evidence presented is a steady stream covering many different aspects, from effects on working memory to how exercise influences the treatment of ADHD, addictions, alzheimer's and many other conditions. The narrator generally does a good job, in well modulated tones, although he consistently mispronounces a few key terms (it drove me nuts to hear "hypothalamus" pronounced "hippothalamus" over and over - aren't there "editors" who listen to these audiobooks before releasing them?)
Fascinating but with practical, useful information as well. As a neuroscience geek, I really enjoyed the book, especially its integrative approach with everything that's known about brain plasticity.
The narrator is excellent as well.