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146 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ticket to a Higher Quality of Life: Buy Yesterday
I found this gem of a book in a Dallas, TX bookstore before the official release date. As an educator with post graduate work in teaching children how to think as they learn (cognitive learning specialist), I loved Dr. Siegel's tag line "Inspire to Rewire". That is exactly what the book teaches you to do. I now work as an educational consultant and a parenting...
Published on January 14, 2010 by Mary Ann Lowry

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616 of 660 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not primarily about mindfulness therapy
I began reading "Mindsight" eagerly because I have a strong interest in mindfulness therapy and Siegel comes highly recommended. I found, however, that I could never get really engaged in the book. I pushed forward and read the whole thing, because Siegel obviously knows his stuff and writes in a clear and easy manner. But I didn't find what I was looking for...
Published on February 17, 2010 by Kristin


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616 of 660 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not primarily about mindfulness therapy, February 17, 2010
I began reading "Mindsight" eagerly because I have a strong interest in mindfulness therapy and Siegel comes highly recommended. I found, however, that I could never get really engaged in the book. I pushed forward and read the whole thing, because Siegel obviously knows his stuff and writes in a clear and easy manner. But I didn't find what I was looking for.

It took a while to figure out why this book was not for me. Three reasons:

First, this book isn't primarily about mindfulness as its title suggests. Siegel has his own well-developed system of therapy. It includes mindfulness, yes, but also a lot of neuroscience, interpersonal therapy, and psychoanalysis (i.e., using insights about one's upbringing to bring about a cure.) Though the word psychoanalysis is never used, it seems to me that it is the dominant strand in his system.
For example, he writes, "With mindsight I was able to make use of the reflections that arose from that conflict [a run-in with his son] to arrive at more clarifying insights into my own childhood experiences."
So because mindfulness is not the main theme, or for some other reason, it is not very thoroughly developed--certainly not as much as in many other books I've read. Hence my disappointment.

The second problem I had is that the bulk of the book is made up of clinical cases (stories of the lives of the author's patients and the therapy he does with them) and stories from the author's life. I find that a few such cases in this kind of book can be illuminating, but reading one story after another becomes tedious.

Third, this book is not directed at helping the reader use the techniques that are mentioned.

None of these observations are meant as criticisms--just some information for anyone trying to make a decision. But if you are mainly interested in mindfulness therapy and would like to use it in your own life, I would recommend "The Mindful Way Through Depression" -- a clear, insightful, and practical book, written by researchers in the field.
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146 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ticket to a Higher Quality of Life: Buy Yesterday, January 14, 2010
I found this gem of a book in a Dallas, TX bookstore before the official release date. As an educator with post graduate work in teaching children how to think as they learn (cognitive learning specialist), I loved Dr. Siegel's tag line "Inspire to Rewire". That is exactly what the book teaches you to do. I now work as an educational consultant and a parenting consultant. It is so evident that people are holding onto thoughts that are keeping them in their own prison of the mind due to the rigid or chaotic thinking and lack of cohesive brain integration. While working with a client, who was struggling with parenting issues, she began to develop Mindsight and understood the leftover issues keeping her trapped in a rigid mindset. After applying Dr. Siegel's suggestions to overcome the brain's rigidity, she realized that she received a message from her childhood implying that she was responsible for everything and everyone. We were both "inspired to rewire" her thinking, as it was apparent that she was learning to see her own rigid views on life. After three sessions, she began to change her own views on parenting and responsibility. For the first time in her life, she understood her story.

This book belongs in the hands of everyone in the helping profession. It's also written in such a way that your clients/parenting students, spouses, friends can use the meditations and other suggestions by Dr. Siegel to begin to rework their story into a cohesive narrative. Boomers will love this, as they search for reasons why their lives may not be working. Dr.Siegel's suggestions for rewiring take time, but I'm convinced they are well worth the time involved. There appears to be a better life awaiting all, who are dealing with confusion or a weak sense of self. His teachings illustrate how to rewrite a new autobiography in a way that makes sense. The book is a huge prescription for a happier more resilient life. An added bonus is the fact that the book offers Mindsight exercises designed to foster enjoyable relationships with those in our families and circle of friends.

I'm pleased to recommend this book to my colleagues and friends. Mary Ann Lowry, M.Ed.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindsight, April 28, 2010
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I have read several other books authored by Dr. Siegel including the Developing Mind, The Mindful Mind and recently read Mindsight. As a neuropsychologist and clinical psychologist, I found the previous two books as well as Mindsight to be excellent in terms of bringing neuroscience and psychotherapy together in a very humanistic and readable manner. Many books about neuroscience are very technical and dry when it comes to practical application of science and theory. Dr. Siegel's presentation in Mindsight is very readable and practical with lots of wonderful examples of his thinking and the science behind his approach to psychotherapy which lets the reader adopt or adapt many of his strategies into their practice or their lives very easily. Even after 35 years of clinical practice, I have found that Dr. Siegel's approach has had a significant influence on how I conceptualize and understand my patients. I would highly recommend Mindsight to my colleagues and to my patients as I feel it would be very meaningful and useful to both.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Changing., March 27, 2011
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This book was recommended to me by my therapist who I have been seeing for decades. It helped me in ways she was never able to. The question always is - How do I change? - when you are finding that you are not living your life effectively. This book is all about how you can change from the inside. The bottom line is meditation and body scans to increase awareness and to connect with your physical, emotional and mental self. There are the terms neuro plasticity and mindfulness that I investgated after reading the book. It is all about the new science of the brain and how we are capable of of helping ourselves to heal in significant ways. The stories in Mindsight were excellent in explaining the variations of how peoples lives can be impacted and healed by these techniques. That was great, a story a chapter.Explains in detail how the brain works, and what is happening when it doesn't. It was good for that.

But as others have said the book was short on explaining how the details of the techniques are actually employed or saying how you can apply it to yourself. So my search did not end, it was just started with this book. Happens that I have a another book already on my shelf. I think I bought it soon after it was published in 1990 on someone's recommendation but never read it - Full Catastrophe Living - by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He had a clinic where they developed an 8 week course to implement these same ideas currently receiving attention now. His book is a practical guide to mindfulness meditation and healing - using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness. It is a jem. I rediscovered it because it is recommended for a local 8 week course offered at Swedish Hospital (Seattle). Such classes may be offered elsewhere, if not, Jon Kabat-Zinn's book will help. Also the teacher and developer of the Swedish class - Carolyn McManus also has a great website with tapes that would help with the healing process utilizing these techniques.

So Mindsight is a good book but not an endpoint. It takes a village.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing, solid science, easy to read, January 29, 2010
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Mindsight is a life changing, well researched, easy to read book. Life changing because Dr. Siegel explains the science of the brain in an understandable way so you can apply it to everyday life. Knowing how your brain works is a game changer when you are trying to improve your life, parent or help other people improve their lives.

Mindsight is a fantastic resource for teachers, because knowing how the brain learns; why your connection to your kids helps learning; and, why kids lose it when they get frustrated (and what to do about it) changes the way you deal with them in a positive way. I know because I teach and use Mindsight to train teachers.

It is a valuable resource for therapists, because teaching people how their brain works gives them hope and a huge amount of power in their own lives. I know this from my own experience as a psychologist.

Mindsight, written in two sections, combines factual presentation with captivating story for an integrated reading experience.

Buy and read Mindsight. You will need to own it, because if you are like me, you will put it down - mull it over - go back pick it up - and re read parts. I've been having this long term dialog with Mindsight since I read it, I think you will too.

Kirke Olson, PsyD[...]
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where are we coming from?, November 24, 2010
By 
Zanriel (NW Arkansas) - See all my reviews
I just got finished with this book, and I found it quite fascinating on many levels. I didn't always agree with the author's materialist/reductionist views, emphasizing the brain's role in thoughts and behavior, but considering that's the dominant stance in mainstream medicine, science, and psychology, it's totally understandable. However, he managed to balance it fairly well by emphasizing the mind's power, through awareness, to "rewire" the brain.

He describes the three aspects of well being: Mind, brain, and relationships, and how to reach that state through integration, self-observation, acceptance, and awareness. He spends a fair amount of time describing various practices and exercises for achieving those states, and a lot of time describing the underlying mechanics and practical applications. He talks about the FACES qualities of integration: Flexible, Adaptive, Coherent, Energetic, and Stable. He talks about how we all travel down the river of integration, one bank is chaos, the other is rigidity, and that striking a balance between the two allows us to flow more easily through life. He talks about integrating the various levels and regions of the brain (brain stem, limbic system, right, left), along with memories (how to deal with painful memories, how memories form beliefs), and temporal integration (looking at the past, present, and future in a healthy way).

The subject matter was well organized, easy to digest and understand, and made sense on a lot of levels. Basically if you took Ekhart Tolle's "Power of Now", tossed in a bit of Ken Wilber, and applied it to psychology and relationships, explaining everything from a neurological perspective, you'd come pretty close to the general vibe of Mindsight.

I'd highly recommend it to anyone. It's not the whole picture, but it's a pretty significant contribution. It covers a lot of material, and breaks a lot of concepts down into easy to grasp terms. I'm looking forward to reading it again, and I have a list of friends and family members who I wish I could get to read it. Good stuff.

I would give it 5 stars, but I knocked off one star because he tends to overemphasize the influence of the past, society, parents, and family on human behavior, and the reductionist/materialist philosophical tone (downplaying or ignoring the transpersonal, spiritual dimension, or couching their effects in neurological terms). I agree with another reviewer as well that it could do with a bit more emphasis in specific exercises. It's not exactly a step by step how-to guide; it paints a picture and gives you a few hints, but leaves it to you to figure out how to arrive at the destination. It's a good map, but as a guidebook, it's somewhat lacking.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Old wine in new bottles, June 27, 2012
By 
Jerome Beck (Santa Rosa, CA , USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The actual method set out in Siegel's books is nothing new: it's to count to 10 so you can stand back from your emotional and physiological turmoil and think about what you're doing before you act out your impulses. Not bad advice but nothing new either.

The author's material on the frontal lobes of the brain is interesting but his material on the Triune brain is old. Frankly, Siegel could easily have written his advice without the gratuitous brain science. He seems to reify the mind as something apart from the multiple electrochemical communication and control systems that make up the body which seems a step backward in the history of science.

Frankly, it's hard to understand all the positive reviews a number of which seem to have been written by his co-workers and colleagues.

I'm sure that Norton, the publisher of his academic treatises, is happy to sell books but it's mostly verbal fluff that will be forgotten in a decade.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Important Book You May Ever Read, April 30, 2011
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"Mindsight" explains in a charming and accessible way 1) the hard science behind how the brain works, 2) how different childhood experiences may affect what parts of your brain are "offline," functioning, or over-functioning, 3) what healthy, integrated functioning looks like behaviorally and 4) proven, self-healing ways to bring all parts of your mind and brain together for a balanced, fulfilling experience of self.
This is the clearest, most healing book on behavior I have ever read, and reread.
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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really difficult to read and nothing new, December 28, 2010
I do not recommend picking this up. It is extremely academic, case study driven and a summary of other significantly more helpful books (see the Mindsight appendix).

A quick summary of the book is: do aerobic exercise, keep your mind active, write in a journal, meditate and focus on where you want yourself to be (see Tony Robbins or Wayne Dyer).

I too was excited to read this book, expecting new insights in to the application of mindfulness and healing the mind. There was nothing new but the neuroscience to prove what thousands of years of meditation and yoga have already proven out.

Unfortunately I felt like I was rereading all of the meditation and yoga texts I have read since the 1990's. He even reinvents the exact meditations from one of Jon Kabat-Zinn's books. While the assertions and research he refers to are interesting, I have read them before in an easier presentation.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the book to read for 2010!!!!, January 22, 2010
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Mindsight may be one of the most important books to read for 2010! Siegel cleverly guides us on a journey of hope and potential through vignettes based on interesting people. At the end of the book, our perspectives have shifted, and we have tools to change our lives and relationships for the better.
In the introduction, Siegel suggests:
"Within each of us there is an internal mental world...that is a wonderfully rich place, filled with thoughts and feelings, memories and dreams, hopes and wishes. When this inner sea seems to crash in on us, threatening to drag us down below to the dark depths, it can make us feel as if we are drowning....Mindsight is a kind of focused attention that allows us to see the internal workings of our own minds. It helps us to be aware of our mental processes without being swept away by them, enables us to get ourselves off the autopilot of ingrained behaviors and habitual responses, and moves us beyond the reactive emotional loops we all have a tendency to get trapped in."
Mindsight can also increase our capacity to savor joy and realize that our life can become better and better.
If you have not heard Dan speak, go find him on YouTube. Some of the most influential and highly respected people in the world are listening to Dan! I am glad he has written Mindsight!
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