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Make Your Brain Smarter: Increase Your Brain's Creativity, Energy, and Focus Hardcover – January 1, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"I don't want to grow old and feel bad, either physically or mentally. That's why I exercise my body and my brain daily. I'm well into my eighties. I know that half my life is over, and that keeping my brain challenged is more important than ever. Thanks to the pioneering brain research being done by Dr. Sandi Chapman, we can have healthy and productive minds for far longer than we might have imagined." (T. Boone Pickens legendary entrepreneur, innovator, energy executive, and author of The First Billion Is the H)

“As someone who strives to learn more, communicate more effectively, and be more productive, and to strengthen my strategic thinking and creative innovation every single day, I wholeheartedly live by Sandi Chapman’s guide to making our brain smarter. The topic of brain health is critical to our future as we all want to continue to live strong, vibrant, impactful lives for as long as we possibly can.” (Melissa Reiff, president of The Container Store)

“As an athlete, I always knew the importance of training my body for optimal performance. It wasn’t until I met Sandi Chapman that I learned that the same is true for my brain. It has eased my concerns about my future health after spending more than ten years in the impact lifestyle of the NFL.” (Daryl Johnston, former Dallas Cowboy, NFL commentator, and business leader)

"The BrainHealth physical and the SMART program let me know how I could reach my full cognitive potential. These strategies revolutionized my life and could change the lives of millions. In the knowledge era, cognitive performance has never been more needed, but the distractions are great and growing. This book comes at the perfect time." (Donovan Campbell New York Times bestselling author of Joker One and the upcoming book The Leader's Code)

“SMART training truly changed my life. I can’t think of any other training I’ve had that has delivered benefits so quickly and deeply.” (Laura Sanford, regional vice president, AT&T)

“After partnering with Dr. Chapman, it was an eye-opener to see how easily brain health can be measured, and how important it is to maintain it at every age. Maximizing our cognitive functioning is attainable and an important step in making good decisions over the entire lifespan.” (John Migliaccio, AVP and Director of Research and Gerontology at MetLife Mature Market Institute)

“I’ve had annual physicals for over thirty years, so it made sense to check the top third of the body also. Taking the BrainHealth Physical gave me a sense of peace knowing that I had a baseline of my brain function and could measure any issues that arise in the future.” (Lyda Hill, a philanthropreneur)

“When I learned of the research of Dr. Sandi Chapman, I immediately realized her work could be transformational in accelerating the brain performance of employees at all ages. As the global leader of human resources, I am always looking for ways to expand the diverse talents of the different generational age groups that all too often go underdeveloped. Both companies and the individuals will be the beneficiaries of better brain health.” (Cynthia Brinkley, Vice President of Global Human Resources, General Motors)

“The profoundly effective program outlined in Make Your Brain Smarter uses relatively simple and straightforward strategies to empower learners. The program allowed my son to believe in himself, created a level playing field for him to pursue his dreams, and utilized his talents without barrier deficits. We have seen a dramatic improvement in his brain performance, and I know the strategies will continue to have a positive impact on his life and continued success for years to come.” (David Waldrep, entrepreneur and father whose son participated in teen high-performance brain training)

About the Author

Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth, is a Distinguished University Professor at The University of Texas at Dallas. With more than thirty years of innovative discovery, she is recognized as a leading thinker in transforming how people, young and old, can build a smarter brain.

Shelly Kirkland, public relations director at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, brings national attention to the cutting-edge research facility dedicated to understanding, protecting, and healing the brain.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451665474
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451665475
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #767,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am constantly on the lookout for ways to improve cognitive skills as a way to stay fresh, current and sharp at work and at home. Just to set the baseline, prior books I have read and liked on the topic include Smart Thinking: Three Essential Keys to Solve Problems, Innovate, and Get Things Doneand The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

I bought this book after reading the glowing reviews and the sample pages in the preview. The book starts off with great promises and a very exciting premise - that cognitive skills or core executive function is a very distinct capability from mere intelligence or IQ, that there are three distinctive processes that lead to improved cognition, namely developing strategic brain habits, strengthening integrated reasoning skills, and improving creative or innovative thinking, and lastly, that there are specific practices you can follow to see a tangible improvement in your own level of core executive function.

The first section of the book posits that the frontal lobe is the seat of executive intelligence and that this faculty can be improved. the second section is the core of the content and describes how to improve the three core processes of strengthening strategic brain habits, enhancing integrated reasoning and innovative thinking. The next the sections are special cases of the same principles, and talk about how these principles apply in different age cohorts, and in individuals with brain damage.

So far so good.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There were multiple reasons why I gave this book a relatively low rating. The most important of which, is that the author seemed to have a difficult time explaining her concepts. I found a few take away nuggets, but felt like I was panning for gold to bring them to light. There is also a lot of repitition, so much so, that each "new" topic as one progressed through the chapters sounded a lot like a repeat of the earlier material. Even the examples, were just a rewording of what one had just read instead of adding some take away details one might apply to their own circumstances. And one last comment, too much of the text was taken up with promotional (motivational?) verbage that gave one the feeling that you were being sold snake oil.

I would not recommend this book to anyone who is looking for some insite as to how one might increase their brain's creativity, energy or focus.
Comment 22 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book out of curiosity and came away with a whole new understanding of what "smart" is. Once I realized that smart isn't about IQ, but rather how you use and grow your brain's frontal lobe connections, the exercises and processes detailed in the book became a real inspiration. Luminosity is fun and games, "SMART" is much deeper and more powerful. I honestly feel that I now have a method for continually developing my brain's effectiveness regardless of age. An unexpected bonus was the section on each generation now in the workforce and how they each uniquely think and communicate. I never thought that the daily grind of managing communication/motivational issues in the workplace were so readily transparent and solvable. And finally, my daily productivity and energy levels have increased remarkedly now that I concentrate on "elephants" and no longer pride my self on multi-tasking. Excellent set of "tools" that every executive should know and share with staff.
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Format: Hardcover
Make Your Brain Smarter by Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman is an effort to show how to increase your brain’s creativity, energy and focus. Chapman begins by stating that there are two main ideas in her book: 1) neuroplaciticy, the ability of the brain to reorganize and create new neurons and neural pathways; and 2) the importance of the frontal lobe which is the cognitive command center and is responsible for higher order thinking, strategic thinking and insights. She indicates that the are three key frontal lobe processes that are responsible for higher order brain function and provides numerous examples of how to develop them. They include: 1) strategic attention—being able to filter out unimportant information and focus on what is essential; 2) integrated reasoning—putting ideas together in new ways; and 3) mental flexibility or the ability to be innovative.

Chapman provides nine strategies for such development. These include 1) zoom in—pay attention to the details of a situation; 2) zoom out—the ability to go from the details to the broad picture; 3) zoom deep and wide—incorporating the principles and lessons learned into broader applications. Three additional strategies are used to improve the ability to innovate: 1) Brainpower of the infinite—practice lots of innovative ideas; 2) Brainpower of paradox—reflect on how things could have been done differently and 3) Brainpower of the unknown—value curiosity and ask what if? A third set of strategies relates to how one thinks. The Brainpower of None is the idea that if you take a break from thinking about something the answer may come to you. The Brainpower of one is the notion of focusing on one thing at a time and not engaging in multi-tasking.
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