Mr. Doidge lays out the story of how the brain is able to rewire itself with some specific yet very simple training in a clear, layperson-friendly way. It reads like a really good mystery novel, only the story is true. By the end of the book I was so awe-struck by what neuroscience has been able to do with these discoveries for people who have suffered brain injuries and strokes and even how to improve things like dyslexia and comprehension. I read this book hard-cover first, then bought the audiobook to experience the information in two different modes so that I could get as much out of it as possible for my own thinking process improvement activity. This should be read either with or before Dr. Amen's Change Your Brain Change Your Body. The two work together quite by coincidence. Five stars without reservation.
Although the author is accomplished in his own field, this book is nothing but a string of anecdotes which serve as a front for selling you products.
The main premise of his book is false. He sets up a 'straw man' of scientist who believe that brain function is limited to specific areas that can not be changed. He then puts up people who believe in 'neuroplastiticity' as the good, open minded scientists who believe that the brain can change. However, it has known been known for decades that people's brain change with time due to aging, new experiences, feelings and learning. His straw man in preposterous.
He also does not provides scientific support for his theories. He tells stories of individucals who seem to have been helped by machines, but there is no indication if you used the machine on a 100 people, how many people would actually have been helped. In his first example, a woman who 'wobbles' due to a side effect to gentomycin, a machine helps her stop wobbling. However, there is no evidence that the brain is changed or how it is changed. It also not known if this device would work on someone else similarly effected.
The author leads you to believe that everything can be cured with neuroplasticity concepts, Alzheimers, dyslexia, autism and the list goes on. Yet, there is not any proof that these are possible.
One of the author's heroes is Dr. Merzenich. But his support may be commerical. The author shamelessly pushes products from Posit Science - a company founded by Dr. Merzenich. These products are very expensive (something he does not mention) and they are unproven and unapproved by the FDA.
Last, his description of animal experiments is callous and unnecessary. It is not clear if review boards were involved in the conducting of these cruel experiments. These sections in the book are disturbing in their own right and more disturbing in how they reflect the views of the author.
This book does a great job of bringing the reader up to speed on recent developments in neuroplasticity. It sounds like a boring, technical topic (which it can be), but this book (and its reader) make things easy to understand. I was informed, entertained, and encouraged about my own aging process.
I love this book and the information its offers is great, it helps me understand why I feel the way I do, and taught me that I can change myself. The vocabulary this books uses is easy to understand and makes it very accessible. Great book, highly recommended.
However, the presentation of lengthy case studies might not be for everybody, nor is the historical context the author provided.
A promising subject is made unbearable by descriptions of nauseating experiments on animals such as sewing a kittens eyes shut and mutilating primates to deprive of the use of their limbs. The author describes such experiments as "brilliant" and "ingenious" rather than scientific sadism. It is truly regrettable that despite the advances of this century, that we have been unable to move beyond such primitive and barbaric techniques.
Dr. Doidge has made what could be a very boring topic interesting. Even chapter 2 about the connection between the mind and human sexuality and sexual diviations was interesting and informative. One of the best things about this book was his discussion of the ability of a woman with mental shortcomings to build an amazing life after teaching herself how to learn in spite of those very shortcomings. I have listened to this book twice, and have ordered the printed version.
I was a little more than half through a 34 hour road trip when I started this book and by the time I arrived at my destination I didn't want the trip to end because I had yet to finish this fantastic book. It has amazing insight into how the brain works. I finally had some explanations to some of my own problems as a child with learning and ways to fix it!
Great book about the secrets of brain function. Interesting and informative. Worth the read.
If you like books about the brain this is for you.
None in particular
none in particular
The overall discussion of neuroplasticity
I originally bought this book (the paperback version) because I'm really into neurology. But like most books, I read the introduction and a bit of the first chapter and that was it. I never thought I'd get through it all as it seemed so scientific, unlike others I'd read. When I saw it on here, downloaded and listened to it suddenly it all made sense! I'd really suggest this one for those who can't finish the book or just think it sounds too challenging to read. I will no doubt give it a second listen!