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Publisher's Summary

An astonishing new scientific discovery called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the adult human brain is fixed and unchanging. It is, instead, able to change its own structure and function, even into old age.

In this revolutionary look at the brain, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., provides an introduction to both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they’ve transformed.

©2007 Norman Doidge (P)2010 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

“A remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain.” (Oliver Sacks)
“Mind-bending, miracle-making, reality-busting stuff with implications for all human beings.” (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Russell
  • UNSW SYDNEY, Australia
  • 10-25-11

Intriguing insight into the workings of the brain

This is a great 'read' if you are interested in the way the brain works and particularly how the brain manages to repair itself or work around obstacles to keep the body functioning. Its also professionally narrated. It talks about perceptions, how the brain deals with pain (it "allows" pain signals for example) and what it does if the body loses an eye or a limb by remapping parts of the brain to compensate, or how, in some cases, it fails such as phantom limb syndrome. I found it fascinating and insightful and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has a keen interest in science and research or human perception.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Seminal review of the area

Loved it and reminded of our need to be honest with ourselves about our level of knowledge.

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Amazing, thought provoking stuff

What made the experience of listening to The Brain that Changes Itself the most enjoyable?

The concept of brain changes occurring from such unconventional treatments is truly fascinating.

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

The chapters on light and sound therapy and the scope of conditions they assist with.

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  • Jessica
  • Warranwood, Australia
  • 12-28-12

Remarkable

What an amazing book. I now feel like I can achieve anything. For so many people to accomplish so much with such adversity is unbelieveable

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  • N
  • Oakleigh South, Australia
  • 02-20-12

A dishonest book, it is not evidence based science

What disappointed you about The Brain that Changes Itself?

It started off promisingly, neuroplasticity is real, but the author distorts the topic so much that in the end you can't tell fact from fiction.

What was most disappointing about Norman Doidge’s story?

His personal biases, (he has many). For example he rams is unproven idea that god exists down your throat in a patronizing manner. He pushes these commercial entities making a buck off neuroplasticity with what seems to be an uncritical eye.and on and on... Just because he is an MD does not make him right.

Which scene was your favorite?

The girl who was born with half a brain and made good use of it, without any help.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Snake oil sales men will make a lot of money from this book, so I guess sadness that many people will be sucked in.

Any additional comments?

No additional comments.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Icewraithuk
  • 05-04-15

Interesting topic, strange focus

What did you like best about The Brain that Changes Itself? What did you like least?

I liked that the book did give examples of real world evidence of plasticity and of the changing of the scientific mindset

Has The Brain that Changes Itself put you off other books in this genre?

No, although I will likely not put myself through listening to the whole thing if I'm not enjoying it again

What about Jim Bond’s performance did you like?

Well read, nice voice and good pace

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No

Any additional comments?

This book focuses so, so much on the "problem". You hear about what was wrong with someone in graphic, lengthy detail. Some of it is really not pleasant and, to my mind, not relevant. There is a fair amount of academic excess - 10 pages to say what could be said in 1 page, but that wouldn't be such a problem if the author just got on with tellings us about the topic (brains adapting) and less about people putting a nail through their genitals... In print, you could easily skip past that stuff, much less able to do that if you're listening to it while driving.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Demetri
  • 06-25-15

Incredible learning experience

Strongly recommend this to anyone. It is a real eye opener on the brain. The concept of the "plastic paradox" is important for all of us to understand

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • D. Barnes
  • 04-28-15

very informative

A well written book and a fascinating subject. Highly recommended reading or a good audio book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Saffy
  • 08-30-13

A must listen

I do feel that this book would possibly be a better read than listen as it's something I would like to dip in and out of, choosing the most interesting parts. However as I am currently unable to read I am very grateful that it is available on audio. For anyone like myself, who has a chronic pain condition and a belief in neural plasticity- ie the brain's ability to change- this is a must listen. It is an inspiring listen and fills me with real hope and positivity. I especially liked hearing the stories of those whose lives have been transformed by neural plasticity and wish there were more of these.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • David Jackson
  • 05-12-16

Incredible, but not credible

I really wanted to like this book, and at first I did. Quite soon however, I started questioning it at a very fundamental level, to the point where I eventually felt that I couldn't really trust the conclusions. I felt it was sold to me as a means for a layman to understand a complicated area of science, but when looking closer I felt it really lacked a proper scientific approach. Every conclusion in the book was presented using such supreme certainty, in a field where virtually everything is up for debate. I just couldn't believe that the author could know all of that without even a shadow of a doubt.

Some serious warning lights finally started flashing when the author started bringing up Freud left right and center. I mean, perhaps the guy had some good points. But the author discussed Freud as if virtually everything he stood for had been vindicated by the theory of plasticity. Furthermore, like Freud, he kept using his narrow studies and anecdotes to justify a series of extremely moralising conclusions on society.

I didn't hate this book and it certainly inspired me to read more on the subject. However, I cannot recommend it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • bluelight123
  • 01-06-15

Informative, interesting and a pleasure to listen

This audio book is great if you struggle to read or don't have the time to read. It's informative, and interesting right until the end.
I'd recommend it to anyone interested in this topic.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • gemma
  • 02-02-17

Read by a robot?

I was keen to read this book and fascinated by the subject matter. However, my enjoyment was completely ruined by the reader. His robotic like voice did not flow, places inflections where they should not be and lacked rise and fall where they should be.... completely odd to listen to and very distracting. Disappointing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Miss
  • 06-08-16

Wow!

Extremely interesting, fascinating read. So much traditional medical knowledge is a load of rubbish! All doctors should read this book!

However, I would get a paper version. The narrator has such a monotonous droning way of speaking, and his intonation is so strange sometimes the meaning of the sentence is lost by emphasising the wrong word.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • charles knape
  • 02-09-16

Excellent revelations

Brilliant and massively informative I would recommend it to any one interested in phsychology or the mind

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kate Carey
  • 12-04-17

Great audio voice, felt very natural to listen to!

Great audio voice, felt very natural to listen to! Will listen again and get his other book.

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  • clare
  • 07-08-17

enlightening!

Everyone whether they're interested in Neuroplasticity for themselves or someone else, or not, needs to read this book. People need to start understanding the power of their brain and start looking for programs which will help them get their lives back. Complacency is not an excuse, when access to this kind of educational material is so easily available. MCS, CFSME, Fibro, all these things are a Limbic System injury, which is making the body sick, this injury/illness can be fixed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rowan
  • 08-27-17

Fascinating - if a little morally questionable

This is a great read. I was a little surprised and disappointed that a man as intelligent as Doidge seems totally nonplussed about the fairly egregious ethical violations described in this book in relation to animal welfare of test subjects. Stapling kittens eyes shut and stitching body parts of monkeys together is obviously shaky moral ground to say the least and at least some measure of representation for PETA's argument (as awful as they are) in a non sarcastic or dismissive manner was lacking in my opinion. This is a fascinating read though and a must for understanding our most powerful organ.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-08-17

mind blowing bringing in the winds of change

loved it.. challenging to fond beliefs. . uncomfortable truths cannot be denied. . make friends with your brain as it adapts to your thoughts .. and actions..

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-23-17

Great book, jarring narration

The book's content is phenomenal. There's so much amazing information and it's delivered in an easy to absorb way. But I found the narrator difficult to listen to. Every time I went back to listen more, it took a few minutes to get used to his delivery and accent.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-02-17

Eye Opening

Would you listen to The Brain that Changes Itself again? Why?

Yes. I need to keep being reminded of the plasticity of my brain.

Any additional comments?

As others have said, you do get used to the narrator after a while, so stick with it. It is worth it.

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  • Clare
  • 06-17-17

Life changing

If you could sum up The Brain that Changes Itself in three words, what would they be?

Insightful, Relevant, Inspiring.

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

The new psycho-cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz. The Brain that Changes Itself, like psycho-cybernetics, uses research, reasoning and real world examples to bring to life interesting facts about the human brain, and practical solutions to take control and optimise our use of it.

What does Jim Bond bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Jim's cool, calm tone made it feel very much like having a conversation with a friend.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The personal revolution within.

Any additional comments?

A really great read. I got so much out of this personally, both for me and for my family. I was particularly interested in the early developmental sections, which I have already begun to apply with great effect with my son. This is probably the most practically useful book I have ever read.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-27-17

The stories were fascinating

I loved the book and the narrator was great. All the stories were very interesting. Looking forward to the next book.

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  • D
  • 03-24-17

Fantastic

Where does The Brain that Changes Itself rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book was full of facts that lead onto other interesting books.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Chapter one - I love the solutions found for wobblers. Paul Bach-y-Rita is a legend.

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  • Peter J Stewart
  • 11-04-16

An eye opening book, audio needs improvement

I really enjoyed this book, learnt a lot about neuroscience and how much potential there is for the brain to tune itself, especially in adults.

However the audio needs attention, as it's missing a lot of treble and midrange, making it hard to listen to in the car (even with the high quality audio format)

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  • Jennifer
  • 09-25-16

What an eye opener!

I have already recommended this highly insightful and thought provoking book which covers so many aspects of this amazing organ. I'm keen to learn more.