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Spark Audiobook
Spark
Written by: 
John J. Ratey
Narrated by: 
Walter Dixon
Spark Audiobook

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

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Publisher's Summary

A groundbreaking and fascinating investigation into the transformative effects of exercise on the brain, from the bestselling author and renowned psychiatrist John J. Ratey, MD.

Did you know you can beat stress, lift your mood, fight memory loss, sharpen your intellect, and function better than ever simply by elevating your heart rate and breaking a sweat? The evidence is incontrovertible: Aerobic exercise physically remodels our brains for peak performance.

In Spark, John J. Ratey, M.D., embarks upon a fascinating and entertaining journey through the mind-body connection, presenting startling research to prove that exercise is truly our best defense against everything from depression to ADD to addiction to aggression to menopause to Alzheimer's. Filled with amazing case studies (such as the revolutionary fitness program in Naperville, Illinois, which has put this school district of 19,000 kids first in the world of science test scores), Spark is the first book to explore comprehensively the connection between exercise and the brain. It will change forever the way you think about your morning run---or, for that matter, simply the way you think.

©2008 John J. Ratey; (P)2008 Gildan Media Corp

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  •  
    Ingrid Putney, VT, United States 12-09-11
    Ingrid Putney, VT, United States 12-09-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This could change the mental health of our nation!"

    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?)

    20 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    06-08-10
    06-08-10 Member Since 2015
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    "Great Motivator for Exercise"

    Really interesting book. Learned so much about how the brain works, and my motivation to go out and exercise has really increased after finding out about how beneficial it is to mental health. I liked that a lot of the research in the book was quite new. Very eye-opening stuff.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana Swanzey, NH, USA 07-08-10
    Dana Swanzey, NH, USA 07-08-10
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    "Reason to work out--instant gratification"

    I've recommended this book to anyone that will listen. Ratey has gone on a fact-finding mission about the effects of exercise on mental health and acuity, and what was news to me was the same-day benefits of working out. I just reread (listened to) this book for the third time--it's very motivational when I'm trying to increase my level of fitness.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Yoshida 11-03-13
    A. Yoshida 11-03-13
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    "Exercise is good medicine"

    The simple message from the book is to do vigorous exercise daily or at least three times a week. Throughout the book is the science and stories about how exercise can improve the quality of life whether you're stressed or suffering from a disease. I think most people can relate to many of the topics in the book because they may be going through it or know someone who is, such as obesity, Alzheimer's, addiction, depression, and ADD. Even for topics that I didn't find to be relevant in my life, I found the scientific evidence fascinating. Whereas medication almost always have side effects, exercising isn't harmful. As long as people can keep slowly work up to a vigorous pace and do it consistently, they'll see that exercising is good medicine.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sylvia Logan, UT, USA 05-31-10
    Sylvia Logan, UT, USA 05-31-10
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    "informative"

    Scientific, informative, and enlightening explanation of the effect of exercise on brain chemistry. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or ADD, this book will help you understand more about your condition and how exercise can help you.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 11-21-11
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 11-21-11 Member Since 2009

    caffeinated

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    "Brain-numbing"

    Okay. Let me sum the book up for you. Exercise helps build stronger, better working brains. There's lots of research to prove this. There. I just saved you a credit. And a few thousand brain cells lost to utter boredom and a rather hard-to-listen-to narration.

    23 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 09-01-14
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 09-01-14 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

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    "Science of the obvious..."

    Exercise makes you feel better and perform better. Exercise is the best treatment for depression and can replace many meds with harmful side effects. About all that can be said about this is...it's about time!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan richmond, ME, USA 12-10-08
    Dan richmond, ME, USA 12-10-08
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    "Some real gems mixed in."

    There was a bit of really thought provoking info in here... but I felt like it was a little slow and dealt with depression way to much... if you are depressed, old, or a woman with PMS issues you might get a little more out of this book than someone who is none of those things... I enjoyed the science parts of the book and some of the studies discussed.. I wish there had been more of that.

    24 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich 02-18-16
    Rich 02-18-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Insightful and potentially life-changing book!"

    Fantastic information about how exercise is a key to not only physical fitness, but mental and emotional fitness as well. A must-read for anyone who wants to live longer, healthier and happier.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ergai Ta 03-10-15
    Ergai Ta 03-10-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Too technical, but useful"

    Useful book about brain and exercise. Way too many medical terms and details, maybe more suitable for medical students. Interesting nonetheless.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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