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Maximum Brainpower: Challenging the Brain for Health and Wisdom Hardcover – June 26, 2012

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Soul Shifts
There are pivotal moments in the lives of all seekers when we realize that we’ve been traveling on our path of growth toward happiness and ful­fillment, but, simply put, we want to go faster.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780345526144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345526144
  • ASIN: 0345526147
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #779,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Dr. Shlomo Breznitz is, by virtue of his lifelong ingenuity, a rare combination of scientific creativity and sobriety, and decades of research on two of the most important areas of brain research—how to protect the brain from stress and how to develop it through mental exercises—one of the most suitable people on the planet to write this interesting, realistic, practical, clear book on what most people need to do to preserve and maximize their brain capacity. Written with technologist Collins Hemingway, Maximum Brainpower is a wonderfully helpful book, for young and old, on how to keep the brain invigorated and developing into old age. After reading it, you will understand what you must do for your brain, and why you must do it.”—Norman Doidge M.D., New York Times bestselling author of The Brain That Changes Itself
“Everyone knows the importance of physical fitness; less appreciated is the necessity of cognitive fitness. How do you maintain an exercised, stimulated, flexible brain? Start by reading this book.”—David Eagleman, New York Times bestselling author of Incognito
Maximum Brainpower is well written and each page stimulates the reader to read the next. Moreover, the topic itself—the brain and its secret powers—is profound, rich, and enriching. In other words: Because of its forceful suggestions, its analyses, and its wide knowledge, this book is well worth reading. And re-reading.”—Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and author
“Many of us are petrified of Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, and other maladies that impair the functioning of the brain. Breznitz and Hemingway can deliver no ‘magic bullet’ to prevent dementia. But their book does get you thinking about what you can do to develop and maintain your gray matter, build on the plasticity of the brain, and increase the likelihood that you’ll live not just a longer but a fuller life.”—The Huffington Post

“Most books about healthy brain maintenance just give you the ‘how’; this one tells you why. And it helps you do it.”—Rita Carter, author of Mapping the Mind

About the Author

Shlomo Breznitz is the founder of CogniFit, a company devoted to the goal of improving cognitive fitness. The author of seven books and many scientific articles, he has been engaged as a visiting professor by numerous leading institutions, including the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, and the London School of Economics.
Collins Hemingway is a writer and technologist who has co-written several books and written innumerable articles for the general public.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
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See all 12 customer reviews
We stop seeking once we find a good enough answer.
Lucille Zimmerman
We can engage in new activities...especially those involving physical exercise, which helps build the brain.
Janette Fuller
I can personally recommend the latter tip, as I have practiced this successfully.
Sarah Rehmatullah

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Book Fanatic TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is not a "how-to" book or even a practical guide as one would normally think about it. You aren't going to find brain exercises in this book. There is one section out of five that is called "What To Do". However, you can get a lot of useful information about the kinds of things you need to build and maintain a healthy brain from reading it.

It is a very thoughtful and well reasoned book on what is happening to human brains as they age, why our brain was not made for the modern world, why it is important to challenge our brain to keep it healthy, what kind of things allow us to be wise about life, and what kinds of things we need to do about it all.

The book emphasizes cognitive reserve - what it is and what kind of activity builds and preserves it. Cognitive reserve is basically extra capacity that is critical to maintaining brain function as we age. We all suffer from damage, deterioration, and shrinking gray matter and so it is critical to build and maintain this reserve. It may prevent or significantly delay even the most serious cases of dementia or Alzheimer's.

This is a fascinating read and keep me interested all the way through. Highly recommended.

A note on the one star review. People should not review and rate books they don't read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rob Mattheu on July 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book expecting that it would be a self-help book with lots of brain puzzles and exercises to help strengthen your mind. While Maximum Brainpower does offer some basic tips on how to strengthen your mind, it is more focused on explaining the research into the importance of working your mind and doing it in different ways so that it remains strong. It also discusses how the changes in society and technology have impacted our brains in ways for better and for worse, and addresses the concerns that too much technology and a society focused on constant change can have on our minds.

Most fascinating for me were the discussions about how not only can your brain can be helped by doing physical exercise but that your mind can be worked out (through challenging your brain in various ways discussed in the book) in such a way that the mind makes it easier to exercise. For instance, elderly people who have trouble with balance can build up their brains in such a way that the mind can compensate for activities that were once automatic (such as maintaining balance).

It's a great book and a quick read. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lucille Zimmerman on October 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Every so often I receive free books from PR firms in exchange for offering a review. Sometimes the books are interesting, and sometimes they are awful. In my quest to read my own stack, I put off reading the latest book I was mailed, but a few days ago I picked up, Maximum Brainpower: Challenging the Brain for Health and Wisdom.

Holy smokes! I couldn't put it down. Anyone who wonders what they can do to give their brain the best chance of aging well will want to read this book.

The book is written by:
Cognitive psychologist, Shlomo Breznitz, a visiting professor at several leading institutions including the London School of Economics and Stanford University. He's authored seven books and numerous scientific articles.
Colins Hemingway, a writer and technologist who has written books on business, emerging technologies and ethical principles, including Bill Gate's #1 bestselling Business @ the Speed of Thought.
Let me say up front, this book is not about mastering brain puzzles, improving memory, or raising scores on cognitive tests. This is a book about improving our ability to live in and enjoy the real world for as long as possible. The reason this brain book is different from others is that it reduces complicated information into simple ideas, and it gives people tangible help for greatly reducing brain breakdown (i.e. from Alzheimer's or strokes).

Some of the topics featured in the book deal with:

Why you should not rely on experts to set up expert systems. Experts cannot explain what they do because they do not make their decisions based on rule-based knowledge.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Janette Fuller on October 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Most people realize that a fit brain is likely the most important contributor to a long, healthy and active life. "Maximum Brainpower" discusses the brain in a way that is understandable, interesting and challenging. The book provides a lifelong strategy to keep the mind active and the brain healthy.

Did you know that?
(1.)Mental stress can have more devastating impact on us than physical stress.
(2.)Experts are often less mentally agile than jack-of-all-trades.
(3.)Hope is a major healing agent.
(4.)Mental exercises such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku are of minimal help in building brainpower.
(5.)A college education can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's by two-thirds. The main benefit of college is it provides more interesting and challenging career choices. The more challenging our life work, the more stimulated our brains become and the greater the cognitive reserves we build.

Dr. Breznitz states that we can't change what happened earlier in our lives, but at any age we can begin to engage our brains. We can take college courses NOW. We can learn new skills...a musical instrument or a new language. We can engage in new activities...especially those involving physical exercise, which helps build the brain. The greater the variety of our activities, the better it is for the brain. Every different thing we do stimulates our brain in different ways.

I learned a great deal of information from this book. The book grabbed my attention in the first few chapters when it explained that it is very difficult for us to "unlearn" something that is learned from past experience. The author stated we learn early and quickly but then tend to settle into relatively fixed attitudes for the rest of our lives.
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