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The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind | [Barbara Strauch]

The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind

A leading science writer examines how the brain's capacity reaches its peak in middle ageFor many years, scientists thought that the human brain simply decayed over time and its dying cells led to memory slips, fuzzy logic, negative thinking, and even depression.
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Publisher's Summary

A leading science writer examines how the brain's capacity reaches its peak in middle age. For many years, scientists thought that the human brain simply decayed over time and its dying cells led to memory slips, fuzzy logic, negative thinking, and even depression. But new research from neuroscientists and psychologists suggests that, in fact, the brain reorganizes, improves in important functions, and even helps us adopt a more optimistic outlook in middle age. Growth of white matter and brain connectors allow us to recognize patterns faster, make better judgments, and find unique solutions to problems. Scientists call these traits cognitive expertise and they reach their highest levels in middle age.

In her impeccably researched book, science writer Barbara Strauch explores the latest findings that demonstrate, through the use of technology such as brain scans, that the middle-aged brain is more flexible and more capable than previously thought. For the first time, long-term studies show that our view of middle age has been misleading and incomplete. By detailing exactly the normal, healthy brain functions over time, Strauch also explains how its optimal processes can be maintained.

Part scientific survey, part how-to guide, The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain is a fascinating glimpse at our surprisingly talented middle-aged minds.

©2010 Barbara Strauch (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Strauch tackles [loaded questions] with all the scientific instruments at her disposal...the latest findings neurological, biochemical, and psychological, with an illuminating dose of anecdote thrown in." (New Scientist)

"Provocative....A contender for every parent's reading list." (Newsday)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (429 )
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4.0 (213 )
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4.1 (210 )
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Cathy West Chester, PA, USA 05-18-10
    Cathy West Chester, PA, USA 05-18-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Grown up Life"

    Wow, this book really helped me understand those lapses in memory and plans to help keep the synapse sharp. It's actually very hopeful. Listen and learn

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandre OEIRAS, Portugal 07-02-12
    Alexandre OEIRAS, Portugal 07-02-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This book increases self confidence on our brain."
    Would you listen to The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain again? Why?

    Yes, whenever I think my brain is decreasing its performance and making me feel old.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The original ideas transmited by the author in a very friendly way of writing.


    Have you listened to any of Nona Pipes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Sunnyvale, CA, United States 08-05-11
    Joe Sunnyvale, CA, United States 08-05-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better towards the end"

    This book is pretty short, but the first couple hours were repetitive and seemed to go on forever. That part can be can be summarized as: 1.) Middle aged people misplace their keys and forget why they went to the basement; 2.) Middle age people have experience and patience, so they are really valuable; and 3.) All the author's friends and associates are professionals and have graduate degrees. I guess that makes them even more valuable in spite of losing their keys and forgetting why they went to the basement.


    A couple hours in, she gets into a substantive review of some pretty interesting science around brains, dementia, and the care and feeding of our brains. The last three or four hours make up for the first couple.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane United States 02-22-11
    Diane United States 02-22-11 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lightweight and repetitive"

    This book contains some interesting ideas, but they are repeated ad nauseam. Okay, okay! Even my middle-aged brain has got the point. Please move on. This would have been better as a magazine piece.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darene Faulkner 04-16-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Amazing information! What hope and encouragement!"

    I loved the book and how it was easily understood. The narrator also brought the material alive!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rami 04-05-15
    rami 04-05-15
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    "Enjoyable!"

    Already past 70 and having dealt with physical issues (back problems,, heart issues, vertigo) each condition was strong enough to immobilize me. Somehow I came to the conclusion that only a sharp brain will help me survive and function. Everything mentioned in this book works. Brain training, cardio workout, education, nutrition + social contribution, it worked beyond believe (didn't have expectations)...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristin J. Johnson 02-06-15

    Three-time published author

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    "Required listening"

    The book is incredible, the narrator even more so. Her middle aged brain shows off its gifts in full spades. Her delivery is relentlessly cheery and warm, as if an old (middle aged?) friend is having a chat with you, the listener.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer S. Leblanc Houston, TX 01-18-15
    Jennifer S. Leblanc Houston, TX 01-18-15 Member Since 2010

    goodlifecpa

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful research"

    The writing is so good and lends itself well to audio. I was particularly impressed with the analogies used by the author. Overall, made the research much more approachable and interesting for non-scientists.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Conner Vincent, AL USA 01-09-15
    Bill Conner Vincent, AL USA 01-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Untapped resource."

    Encouraging. If HR departments knew how to use these skills older workers possess the world would be a better place.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronald E. Newlon NEW YORK, NY, US 12-23-14
    Ronald E. Newlon NEW YORK, NY, US 12-23-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I am younger than I thought"
    Where does The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very good - near the top of the list


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain?

    The exersice and brain function study and explaination


    What does Nona Pipes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She does a very good job narrating the story. She has mild inflections to show character shift. This type of book does not really have characters and other readers make the mistake of acting. I would listen to her read again.


    What insight do you think you’ll apply from The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain?

    That I am younger than I thought and that my brain can be helped with exersice. There is no such thing a a mid life crisis.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked this book

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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