This book is like many other books when talking about how the brain works and how its functioning could be enhanced (e.g., exercise, do new things, and solve problems). It is different in that looks at the advantages and disadvantages of the middle-aged brain. As we age, we may not be able to remember things or solve math problems as quickly as we used. Because of this, people think the middle-aged brain is declining. Surprisingly, the book reveals that the middle-aged brain can be at its peak. The brain has reorganized since its youth. It has built up patterns of connections and it acts and thinks differently. It is smarter, calmer, and happier. When a young worker is freaking out over a problem, an older worker is thinking, "Calm down. We've gotten through worse problems than this. First, let's figure out how bad the situation is." The middle-aged brain is using both sides, whereas the younger brain is using the untamed emotional side.
This book reassures us that as we age, our brain does not necessarily become progressively worse. We have more experience and knowledge, which have been applied repeatedly over time, strengthening connections in our brain. We make better judgments and decisions. It could be called wisdom, intuition, or gut feeling; these snap judgments come from our years of experience. We need to appreciate the advantages of a more mature brain rather than focus on the one negative aspect (forgetting things). It is also important that we exercise and keep our brain in top shape.
This is an amusing book of old wives' tales and parental guidance that are confirmed or dispelled. Remember waiting an hour after you eat before going swimming? False! In fact, competitive swimmers eat in between long workouts to maintain their energy level. Should you "starve a fever and feed a cold?" No. Just eat when you're hungry and get plenty of rest whether you have a fever or a cold. Should you go with your first answer on a test because your gut feeling is probably right? Again, no. You tend to remember the instances where you switched from a right answer to a wrong answer. However, studies reviewing where answers were erased and changed, it was just as likely to be switched from wrong to right. I would recommend this book to parents who don't want to pass down the same misinformation they received from their parents.