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The Brain That Changes Itself: Personal Triumphs from the Frontiers of Brain Science | [Norman Doidge]

The Brain That Changes Itself: Personal Triumphs from the Frontiers of Brain Science

In this revolutionary look at the brain, best-selling author, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., introduces both the brilliant scientists championing this new science of neuroplasticity and the astonishing progress of the people whose lives they've transformed.

Introducing principles we can all use, as well as a riveting collection of case histories, The Brain That Changes Itself has "implications for all human beings, not to mention human culture, human learning and human history."

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Publisher's Summary

The discovery that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains - even into old age - is the most important breakthrough in neuroscience in four centuries. In this revolutionary look at the brain, best-selling author, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., introduces both the brilliant scientists championing this new science of neuroplasticity and the astonishing progress of the people whose lives they've transformed.

Introducing principles we can all use, as well as a riveting collection of case histories - stroke patients cured, a woman with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, learning and emotional disorders overcome, IQs raised, and aging brains rejuvenated - The Brain That Changes Itself has "implications for all human beings, not to mention human culture, human learning and human history." (The New York Times)

©2008 Norman Doidge; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio

What the Critics Say

"Fascinating. Doidge's book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain." (Oliver Sacks)
"Readers will want to read entire sections aloud and pass the book on to someone who can benefit from it....Links scientific experimentation with personal triumph in a way that inspires awe." (The Washington Post)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1231 )
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Performance
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  •  
    E. 07-23-08
    E. 07-23-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "astounding and inspiring"

    Amazing, incredible, inspiring! The best book on the workings of the mind! Dr. Doidge, author, is your personal private detective, hunting down the modern day heroes of the neurological profession, to unveil systematically the research that can relieve suffering for everyone from birth to death, disabled to normal to genius to diseased. Along the way he refers to patients who have benefitted from research relevant to each chapters topic. Highly enjoyable!

    14 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tandgn Mesa, az, United States 07-01-08
    Tandgn Mesa, az, United States 07-01-08 Member Since 2012

    My Opinion's for your review, Thank You!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting information on brain activity"

    I enjoyed this book because it was not hard to follow. The case studies were quite interesting and reviling on how the brain can heal itself through the will of the individual of said brain. To me it shows what faith, will power, and action can accomplish. There is uncomfortable subjects and information in the book but i felt it showed the positives of brain power more then the negatives. Cool Book.

    14 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 10-01-13
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 10-01-13 Member Since 2008

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Informative..."

    Neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to renew and repair itself, is the new byword in the world of brain science. It was thought until recently that brain cells were the only cells of the body that did not rejuvenate; it was believed that the brain was fixed, "hard-wired" in ways that were unalterable; that brain damage was permanent; that the aging brain was doomed to senescence and cell death. We know now that none of these things are true. In these amazing case studies, the truth behind neuroplasticity is brought to light in a dramatic and enlightening fashion. An important, scientifically sound, yet easy to understand book on modern brain science.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Yoshida 12-16-13
    A. Yoshida 12-16-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brain - the amazing organ"

    This book looks at neuroplasticity from many angles -- how the brain can be rewired whether young or old, due to genetic defects, illnesses, or accidents. It is a muscle that can be strengthen through mental exercises. Although this book is more about the concept of neuroplasticity (not the application and how you can increase your brain functions), it is still filled with a lot of useful information. By repeating an activity, you can build pathways in your brain. As the pathways deepen, it becomes easier to perform that activity. This is good if you're working on math problems and can calculate faster and faster. This is bad if you start to drink and associate the release of stress with drinking alcohol more and more. This is also a great book if you're fascinated by how the brain works. It makes you want to do brain training because you know your brain can do so much more.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jayram San Diego, CA, United States 07-24-10
    Jayram San Diego, CA, United States 07-24-10

    Love listening to everything in science, astronomy, neuroscience, education and creativity.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "outstanding naration and writing"

    Dr. Norman Doidge weaves in this book, many interesting and important scientific breakthroughs about understanding brain and treating some of the most common brain disorders (stroke, compulsive disorder etc). Some of the information in the chapter on Lover brain was quite astounding, but most of the chapters in this book shows very important research breakthrough about brain. I strongly recommend this audiobook because the narrator has done an excellent job in convening the essence of the book. Must listen...

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon TWIN LAKES, WI, United States 12-29-13
    Brandon TWIN LAKES, WI, United States 12-29-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Skepticism Required"

    Writing:
    I found this particular book somewhat difficult because of the vacillating nature of its quality. When its author is simply providing denotative descriptions of studies in neuroplasticity, he does so elegantly, engagingly, and cogently. However, when he extrapolates beyond the direct presentation of previous studies and enters the realm of his own speculation, he seems dangerously swayed by confirmation biases and, at times, completely unable or unwilling to consider alternative interpretations of the data. Additionally: much of the book reads as an uncritical, unsupportable love letter to Freud that the reader, with time, comes to suspect is the author's personal attempt to justify a counseling career spent practicing Freud's version of psychoanalysis despite mounting evidence that the vast majority of Freud's hypotheses have been shown to be demonstrably false. Indeed, the sections of THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF that are most scientifically questionable are those in which Doidge steps away from neuroscience entirely to describe case studies of his own personal patients---studies in which he treats all of his perceptions and gut intuitions as incontrovertible facts.

    I feel the need to reiterate, however, that those parts of the book that share neurological studies are really very strongly worth reading. I might even be pressed to call them requisite reading for anyone interested in neuroplasticity--even those already versed in it.

    On the whole, this book is quite worth reading, though its overall quality varies. The good parts are marvelous, the bad parts are terrible, and there really isn't much in between. I do recommend it but only with the warning that heightened criticality and skepticism will be necessary to sort out the gold from the pyrite.

    Performance:
    Jim Bond is a wonderful narrator with a calming, avuncular voice and style, and for these qualities, he deserves high marks. However, it is evident from both his pronunciation and phrasing that many of the concepts broached and vocabulary used in this book were not familiar to him at the time of his reading, and therefore, pronunciations of common neuroscience words are strange and sometimes obfuscating (e.g.: Bond pronounces amygdala as "ah-mig-DAH-la", and his reading gets glassy when discussions get technical). Additionally, though not all folk will find this distracting, Bond has a rather pronounced whistle to his sibilant consonants, and has a high probability (estimated: 70%) of whistling on any given "S". I personally found this distracting, but not so terribly that I set aside the book.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kevin kohut 07-14-08
    kevin kohut 07-14-08 Member Since 2015
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    "interesting, but anecdotal"

    I appreciate books that delve into the intricacies of the brain and mind. While I appreciate the concept - the elasticity of the brain - as well as the fact that it is a "pop science" book, I think the author erred by focusing too much on his interpretations of scientific experiments, while including "loads" of anecdotal stories.

    Interesting, but too much filler.

    13 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Schaffer New York 12-02-08
    D. Schaffer New York 12-02-08 Member Since 2014

    Bones

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    "A Must"

    An easily read owners manual for yur brain. The writing keep you moving and the subject matter while deep in nature is so very inviting.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leo Free Fort Worth, TX USA 07-16-08
    Leo Free Fort Worth, TX USA 07-16-08 Member Since 2008

    Art Scents

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    "A bit Thick for my Brain"

    Hey, but I actually got some encouragement from this volume and will continue to ingest as much as I can. Earlier portions were more palatable for me. As I continued into mid-chapters it began to get a little 'speaking-in-tongues' for me to grasp. I will keep trying because my brain is plastic!

    8 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Aylmer, Ontario, Canada 07-06-08
    Michael Aylmer, Ontario, Canada 07-06-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "a nauseating experience"

    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.

    51 of 101 people found this review helpful
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