9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2007
I have read many of Ilchi Lee's books about the Brain Education method. This one strikes me as the most straight-forward and friendly. It is a quick, fun read, and it offers really practical advice, and the exercises are a very enjoyable. Unlike other books and training methods, which tend to focus only on skills related to the neo-cortex, this method really takes a much more of a holistic approach by looking at the brain in relationship to a person's entire life. It really encourages and facilitates a brain-aware lifestyle, as apposed to just the development of academic skills.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2008
Written by President of the Korean Institute of Brain Science Ilchi Lee, Principles of Brain Management: A Practical Approach to Making the Most of Your Brain lives up to its title with its simple, straightforward advice for mastering and making the most of one's brain. Chapters discuss how to deliberately create life-affirming good habits, improve one's sense of hope and fulfillment, raise one's personal energy levels and much more. Simple breathing and relaxation techniques are also touched upon. "There may indeed be some biological barriers to overcome as we get older. The brain's connections do become denser and slower as we fill the brain with the experiences and knowledge of a lifetime. However, most people lose a great deal of neuroplasticity simply because they choose not to use it. For that reason, I encourage you to use and challenge your brain as much as possible. You will find that, in the end, developing your brain is the same as leading a vital, fulfilling lifestyle." Recommended exercises for the reader round out this very highly recommended self-help guide for readers of all backgrounds.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2008
'Principles of Brain Management: A Practical Approach to Making the Most of Your Brain', by Ilchi Lee
Since the mid-eighties, I always seem to have this unquenchable thirst for books about optimum brain performance, especially from a holistic approach.
During those early years, my personal favourites included 'Build Your Brain Power', 'Eat Right, be Bright' followed by 'Brain Workout' & 'Smart Food' in subsequent years, all of them by a neuro-surgeon husband-&-science-writer wife team, Arthur & Ruth Winter.
Naturally, during the intervening & ensuing years, I have also devoured works from other experts, like Dharma Singh Khalsa, Lawrence Katz, Andrew Weil, just to name a few.
I have stumbled upon the work of the Korean-born Ilchi Lee on the net. He seems to be quite a colourful character, & has built quite an extensive global outfit in brain training, plus an understandable tint of controversy, judging from what I read on the net.
Among his many books, I have recently acquired & read his 'Principles of Brain Management: A Practical Approach to Making the Most of Your Brain'.
[I have his other newer book, 'In Full Bloom: A Brain Education Guide for Successful Aging', in my shopping cart with Amazon.]
Compared to the Winters, whose books have that "more physical, concrete, tangible" feel in their stuff in addition to a broader spectrum, Lee's book has that "slightly murky, touchy-feely" kind of stuff, more slanted towards the philosophical & spiritual perspective.
This is not to say that the author's stuff is less credible from the intellectual standpoint.
In fact, I am most impressed by the author's artful blending & skillful machination of all the widely recognisable ideas & concepts from both Eastern & Western disciplines about the mind, which culminates into his trademarked brand, BEST (Brain Education System Training) 5 Programs for the last quarter of a century.
In a nut shell, this book has captured the essence of the BEST 5 by laying out 26 practices or practical drills, under 5 progressive stages, for readers to follow.
The 26 practices form the book's entire collection of yoga-like exercises, combined with meditation, challenging physical movements & stimulating intellectual drills under the 5 over-arching stages.
I note that the author's principal premise is generally sound & valid, because studies have shown that the brain can continue to develop & repair itself, even in old age, & that with simple daily exercises & the right kind of mental stimulation, we can learn to strengthen & maintain our brain power to near maximum capacity throughout our lifetime.
In his book, each practice is prefaced by a brief explanation.
The 26 practices are then dove-tailed to suit the 5 over-arching stages, which run from "sensitising" [developing sensory awareness/managing stress response] to "versatilising" [gaining flexibility/adaptability], "refreshing" [creating positive outlook/releasing negativity], "integrating" [maintaining physical & emotional balance] & "mastery" [building transformation].
What surprises me most is that the diet or nutrition element is missing from the BEST 5.
Frankly, I have enjoyed myself while playing or experimenting with some of the practices, which are very easy to implement & follow.
Given a choice, I would relabel the first practice in the book, which the author has labeled as 'Know Thyself', which I thought is somewhat of a misnomer, even though I would fully concur with the author that the exercise is an excellent precursor for many good things to follow.
[Interestingly, in a de-stressed mode, we not only change the pattern of activity in our nervous system, but also reduce the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. When there is less cortisol, there is more DHEA, the so-called fountain-of-youth hormone known to have anti-aging effects on our body system.]
From a tactical perspective, I would prefer the 'Freeze Frame' method in place of the author's suggested method. [Please read Doc Lew Childre's 'Freeze Frame: Fast Action Stress Relief'.]
I would even recommend the reader to get hold of a 'Biodot' to serve as a handy reality check.
To conclude his book, & also to my pleasant delight, the author has introduced over 20 pages of appendix, plus a bibliography, to explain the philosophical & scientific foundation of his BEST 5.
His 'Unified Brain' model comprising the two dimensions, laterality & top-down or triune, is certainly interesting.
I would have thought that a third dimension, i.e. front to back, from pre-frontal cortex to the back of the head - creating an imaginary trajectory of future memories through present experiences from past history - would make it more complete as an unified brain.
Notwithstanding what I have said so far, I want to point out that this book is still worth reading, especially for those just looking for a simple guide, with no frills, to develop mindfulness & also to unlock the brain's full potential.
Reviewed by Lee Say Keng, Knowledge Adventurer & Technology Explorer, October 2008
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2009
I was disappointed with the Principles of Brain Management by Ilchi Lee mainly because it was too short and did not introduce me to any concepts I had not already read elsewhere.
The book presents many standard exercises for self development in a straightforward and seemingly easy to implement manner. However, most of the topics were only given a page and a half in this book. And most of those topics are better addressed by an entire book devoted entirely to the subject. For example- One of the topics which is less than two pages long ends by telling you to identify a habit and then not do it for 21 days thereby letting the brain make new neural connections. Not nearly enough information was given to be of any help to someone actually trying to change a habit. By contrast, Julie Morgenstern, in her book Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck, does an excellent job exploring the issues such as how habits were formed, what purposes they serve, and meaningful advice on how to approach changing the habit.
I was also disappointed to find no references to any studies or research.
As alternatives to this book I would recommend Human Technology also by Ilchi Lee or KI In Daily Life by Koichi Tohei.