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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

4.0 (440 )
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4.2 (219 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Xopowo Montreal 07-09-12
    Xopowo Montreal 07-09-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Informative and interesting"
    Where does The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Interesting science, but too many personal references to anxiety about aging.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    A little less emphasis on assuming the reading is in middle age and panicking about getting old.


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

    I'm not sure


    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    How exercise helps create new neurons. The brain is plastic and can grow new cells, and science is finally overcoming the dogma decreed in 1913 that the brain can't change.


    Any additional comments?

    The book often referenced getting old and then made a point about how the aging brain is actually not as badly in decline as we presumed. This had the ironic effect of creating anxiety by starting with the assumption that we all worry about aging. I'd rather she just explain the discoveries and tone down all the personal concerns. I'd mention it once on the back cover, to pique the interest of older folks who really have started to worry about dementia, but don't harp on it throughout the book and alienate younger people.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine Canada 06-28-12
    Elaine Canada 06-28-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thesis could be an essay albeit worth hearing"

    An easy listen due to quality reading and interesting research. Concepts are somewhat belaboured. I would have preferred a faster pace. That said, the content is more than worthwhile. I have recommended the book to several friends.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Biblioangel Chicago, IL United States 05-24-12
    Biblioangel Chicago, IL United States 05-24-12 Member Since 2011

    bibliphile

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    "A MUST read for anyone over 30-something!!"
    Where does The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I will read this book many times over - and not just because I'm middle-aged. This book is really fascinating, inspiring, and gives me hope that it's not all down hill from here. I intend on buying a copy to send to all of my friends and family.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mo Maumee, OH, United States 05-05-12
    Mo Maumee, OH, United States 05-05-12 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    "We aren't all on the road to dementia!"
    Would you listen to The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain again? Why?

    Yes - There were parts I'd like to review one more time.


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

    The age bracket for the "new" midlife age span.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The going into the basement story - How we all can relate!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    too scientifc for a film


    Any additional comments?

    This book was great for reassuring a large amount of us out there that are caregivers for parents with Alzheimers that there is hope. Those names that just won't come - well that's because the brain is working better in other areas. It was great to listen to some scientific data that backs this all up.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 07-28-10
    Jane Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 07-28-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful! Positive information and Great Narrator"

    This was a great listen! The writer describes why aging brain is not that bad. Although memory declines, older brains are more positive and are better in dealing with a variety of situations. At times, I find the book repetitive, but I think this is done so that the points can really hit home. I really like the ending where she talks about her friends and the roses. What a great way to end the book! The narrator did a great job and brought the book to life!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Shoreline, WA, USA 05-02-10
    Mark Shoreline, WA, USA 05-02-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "both personal and /w sci info"

    i am really enjoying this book, i wonder if there is also a reading of the teen mind book here?

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arne Kortrijk, Belgium 01-31-12
    Arne Kortrijk, Belgium 01-31-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting but not amazing"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I wouldn't know. The book is interesting in some respect, but it seems to repeat the same idea too often.


    What could Barbara Strauch have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Repeat less.


    What about Nona Pipes’s performance did you like?

    The book was well read.


    Could you see The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No, not really.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Kasumigaura city, Japan 07-03-12
    Paul Kasumigaura city, Japan 07-03-12 Member Since 2013

    Burmeister

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very interesting"

    I have really enjoyed listening to this book.
    I found it very interesting and well written.
    Very informative and instructive.
    The narration is very good.
    Highly recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Churchill Anaheim, CA USA 06-18-12
    J. Churchill Anaheim, CA USA 06-18-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Great information but quite redundant"
    What did you love best about The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain?

    Great information about how the brain works in middle age


    What did you like best about this story?

    Good data


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

    Very good inflection and narration


    Any additional comments?

    There are waaaay too many examples of forgetfulness. We know already since most listeners already experience these difficulties. The book is very good but could have been lightened up a bit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Forest Hill, MD, United States 06-09-11
    Charles Forest Hill, MD, United States 06-09-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "Good, but needs to be abridged"

    There are some good ideas in there and its interesting, but the author continually restates her points over and over -- changing her words a little and using a different example. Enough is enough, say what you have to say and move on to the next topic. I'd say as much as 2/3rds of the book could be cut out.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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