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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

4.2 (1172 )
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  •  
    Chi-Hung Riverside, CA, USA 01-01-09
    Chi-Hung Riverside, CA, USA 01-01-09 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting, accessible and helpful"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-15-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazingly interesting"

    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.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bradford Naples, Florida, United States 06-16-13
    Bradford Naples, Florida, United States 06-16-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Amazing!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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!


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    buckeye West Lafayette, IN, United States 05-10-13
    buckeye West Lafayette, IN, United States 05-10-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Terrific read"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie Hensley Indiana 05-06-13
    Jamie Hensley Indiana 05-06-13 Member Since 2014

    music ~maniac~girl

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    "Excellent for those into neurology"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Brain That Changes Itself to be better than the print version?

    Yes!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Brain That Changes Itself?

    None in particular


    Which scene was your favorite?

    none in particular


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The overall discussion of neuroplasticity


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KP Oakland, CA 04-13-13
    KP Oakland, CA 04-13-13 Member Since 2012

    There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating!"

    This book was fantastic. The author was just scientific and scholarly enough to keep me reading and enjoying it without getting bogged down and losing my interest.


    The basic premise of this book about the science of neuro-plasticity is that scientists used to think that brain functions were fixed and certain parts of the brain were always in control of the same set of behaviors. However modern scientists have found that our thoughts, actions, and feelings can be processed in different parts of the brain and are NOT tied to a fixed location. The notion that the brain is "plastic," or malleable is a fairly new one, and it holds so much promise for many areas – stroke victims, senior citizens, people with OCD, children with learning disorders to name a few. The discoveries shown in the book have totally changed what we know about the brain, and the impact on our lives and our future has been - and will continue to be -huge. The case studies used by the author to demonstrate all of this are fascinating. The chapter about the sexual masochist and how his brain was wired so that pain actually caused sexual arousal was only one example of the sometimes bizarre case studies. Most were a lot more “normal” than this but still definitely held my attention.

    I found it particularly interesting that the scientist who did many of the neuro -plasticity experiments in the beginning of the book, Michael Merzenich, is also the person who founded Posit Science, the company that sells the “Brain Fitness” program that is advertised a lot on KQED/public television. After reading this book, I am convinced that that program is a worthwhile one and that I ought to get on the bandwagon!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andres Marin Florida, USA 01-31-13
    Andres Marin Florida, USA 01-31-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Will change the way you think and live"

    This book is amazing, forget all you have learned (if you are old enough) about the brain, the way it is wired and how it can not be changed.

    I bought the book to learn a little about brain recovery after a friend's accident. It was worth.

    We learn that the capacities he supposedly lost could be recovered with training, and that children with learning problems could progress.

    I didn't like the moral discuss the author gives in certain chapters, but if you can ignore those very personal opinions you will enjoy the book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Westford, VT, United States 12-10-12
    Jonathan Westford, VT, United States 12-10-12
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    "Practicing Plasticity"
    Would you listen to The Brain That Changes Itself again? Why?

    Yes, this book is full of wonderful examples that I'm sure would have greater impact an meaning with a second listen. Not only that, but the great ideas are more likely to fully insert themselves into our plastic brains with more repetition.


    What other book might you compare The Brain That Changes Itself to and why?

    Spark, Thinking Fast and Slow, and How We Decide are three recent books I've read that relate to the subject matter here, neurology and how it affects our lives.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia El Portal, CA, United States 09-06-12
    Cynthia El Portal, CA, United States 09-06-12
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    "fascinating book!"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Each chapter is a bit different, and super interesting.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The reader is a bit too...cerebral, but I guess it goes with the territory of a science-y book.


    Any additional comments?

    Terrific book for anyone interested in neuroscience but who doesn't have a biology or science degree. Very accessible to anyone.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William SALEM, OREGON, United States 05-21-12
    William SALEM, OREGON, United States 05-21-12
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    "Excellent information about neuroplasticity"
    What did you love best about The Brain That Changes Itself?

    Outstanding information that explains how the brain is able to improve itself, gives examples, and provides information about how to use this information.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Brain That Changes Itself?

    There were many... but, I think the two that stand out: How to increase neuron density of the brain, and the formation of habit. The line that stands out from the book, and that helps understand how the brain restructures itself was "Neurons that fire together, wire together."


    Which character – as performed by Jim Bond – was your favorite?

    I do not think this question is applicable...


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was fascinated and intend to listen to it more than once. It is a bit long (about 11 or 12 hours), so re-listening will allow me to get information I may have missed.


    Any additional comments?

    If you have interest in the basics of the brain, and want to understand how to have a healthier brain, this is a valuable book

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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