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Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp Hardcover – November 17, 2009


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Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp + National Geographic Engage Your Brain Collection + Brain Games
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (November 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426205473
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426205477
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael S. Sweeney is chair of the Journalism Department at Logan State University in Utah. He is the author of several books including National Geographic Complete Survival Manual.

Richard Restak, M.D. is a neuropsychiatrist and clinical professor at George Washington University. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Brain and the host for the acclaimed PBS series The Brain.

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Customer Reviews

Great pictures and photographs.
Izabela Malewicz
His simple and entertaining language made the book an easy read, and the organization of each chapter made the topics flow together well.
Emma
Great primer for high schoolers and older people.
J. Shah

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Joan Cousins on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I ordered this book and "The Human Brain Book" by Rita Carter and there is no comparison. "Brain: The Complete Mind" has a prettier cover but the content is far more superficial and the illustrations are not nearly as educational and engaging. You will get a lot more enjoyment as well as understanding from "The Human Brain Book." The Human Brain Book
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Spudman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Michael Sweeney and many others have stated that the brain needs to be challenged and exercised in order for it to grow and to remain sharp. It's one of several reasons why I read such a book, a book that explores the incredible machine that is our brain.
When I first explored this hefty 340 page heavyweight volume, I thought I'd just enjoy the pictures and only read passages and snippets of interest. Midway through the first chapter I was hooked and never looked back.

I'm just an average potato brained reader with no science background or passionate interest in science but with a late life interest in this natural wonder that lives within each and every one of us. The book informs, challenges, and offers topics to think and reflect upon. It covers the physiology of the brain, the history of what man has learned about it, current knowledge and possible future breakthroughs.

Throughout the book are many supplementary pieces of information that support, explain, and enhance the text. In the beginning of Brain the reader is introduced to these extras: tables, charts, flow charts, sidebars, fact boxes, and fast facts. After interrupting myself too many times from the flow of the main text to read these extras, I found it easier and more enjoyable and efficient to read the sidebars first.

Two of my favorite chapters are near the end of the book - Learning and Memory and The Aging Brain. I found quite a bit here to apply to my own brain and to share with my students.

Anyone with an interest in the workings of the brain or anything related to the human brain should find "Brain" a fascinating, stimulating, and educational read. Even if you don't have the desire to read such a book cover to cover, it's a great book to add to you personal library.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Haseeb on August 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The strongest points of this book are that it contains some really good information on current developments in neuroscience and explains some things well in words, but doesn't contain enough diagrams and illustrations which are important for brain books. The explanation on how LTP takes place in words for example is excellent but when explaining things like this, most books on the brain have diagrams to illustrate this concept. The reason I was able to understand and appreciate the explanation is because I've read and studied other books on the brain. When terms like NMDA receptors and calcium channels are used, they should be accompanied by diagrams. Otherwise, most casual readers will be lost. Casual readers may be able to memorize the information in words, but they won't be able to visualize what is taking place.

On page 259, there is a three dimensional MRI image of the brain with Broca's and Wernicke's areas highlighted in different colors as well as the visual cortex. Two of those areas they have highlighted however are wrong. Broca's area is correctly indicated, but Wernicke's and the area which is suppossed to be the primary visual cortex are wrong. The area they have highlighted for wernicke's area is actually the primary auditory cortex and the area they have highlighted for primary visual cortex is Geschwind's territory (which isn't even mentioned in the book).

The error combined with the fact that there are too few diagrams and detailed explainations and illustrations made me give this book 3 stars. Despite the fact that the book "The Human Brain" by Rita Carter contains numerous errors, it is a much better book than this one and you will be able to learn much more from it.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Shah on January 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The book covers a lot of ground, background and current research. The layout is refreshing, unlike many books that bore you with terminology geared towards a neurosurgeon. The many sidebars, anecdotes and personalities mentioned make the book engrossing. The illustrations are informative and the description of terms is lucid. Great primer for high schoolers and older people. One of the best introductions for those looking to study neuro-whatever. For those who want a free book, search "Brain facts by the Society for Neuroscience" (The web link is removed by Amazon). However, Brain: The Complete Mind is much more interesting and worth the price.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Emma on December 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book Brain: The Complete Mind, written by Michael S. Sweeney, is an elegant and informative book I would recommend to any beginning and/or intermediate neuroscientist. I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars since although it is a typical scholarly book, it captivates and intrigues the reader by relating everyday situations to the healthiness of the brain. Not only that, but Sweeney offers tools and tips to train and support your brain so that it maintains healthy neuronal connections no matter your age. This book looks at the history of neuroscience and how research and information have accumulated over the years to uncover the complex properties of the brain. It offers in-depth information that ranges from basic anatomical principals, cellular aspects and pathways, to general information on how to keep the brain sharp and healthy. The book is written in an easily understood contextual language so that even the inexperienced neuroscientist can pick it up.
Brain: The Complete Mind is extremely informative and covers all elements of the brain including learning and memory, the nervous system, motion, and our state of mind. The chapters I personally found most interesting dealt with neuroscience history, brain development, perception, awareness, and age. Sweeney begins by covering the history and anatomy of the brain and the neuroscientists behind the discoveries. Sweeney describes the important structures (neurons, cerebrum, cerebellum, etc.) and early pioneers such as Ramon y Cajal who documented the existence of synapses.
In another chapter, Sweeney discusses the evolution and development of the brain.
Read more ›
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