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Brain Wash: Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships, and Lasting Happiness Hardcover – Illustrated, January 14, 2020

4.6 out of 5 stars 409 ratings

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From the Publisher

A letter from the authors

The first edition of this book was published in the United States just days before a new and deadly coronavirus swept the globe. The collective anxiety, panic, and stress that descended on society—on top of what people were already shouldering—has only made our message all the more relevant, potent, and needed today. It is a message that focuses on distancing ourselves from fear, enhancing our ability to make good decisions, finding stability in our thought patterns and actions, engaging in behaviors that build physical and mental resiliency, and recognizing the healing power of empathy. As we describe in Brain Wash, when we come from a place of empathy, everyone wins.

The Covid-19 pandemic raises an untold number of questions for which we don’t have full or satisfactory answers yet. We are only beginning to understand this virus’s biology and personality. Its rapid spread has exposed wide gaps in our knowledge and medical infrastructure, disparities among our communities, and the staggering impact of one person’s decisions on the health of many. At the same time, the pandemic has sparked worldwide solidarity and scientific collaboration.

Though the focus has primarily been on the direct physical consequences of the virus, it’s also clear that navigating this new landscape is causing widespread psychological distress. A March 2020 survey revealed that 36 percent of American adults were already experiencing a serious impact on their mental health due to the virus. When 1,210 Chinese respondents were polled on their mental health in early 2020, over half reported the psychological impact of Covid-19 as moderate-to-severe. Another survey done by the Harris Poll revealed that loneliness is rising sharply; 44 percent of Americans are lonelier now than ever before as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. And more than half of Americans (52 percent) wish they had tips on how to better take care of their mental health during this time. Given the degree to which lives have been changed to date, it’s likely we’ll experience psychological—and economic—aftershocks of Covid-19 for decades to come.

The truth is, we may have to learn to live with the physical and mental consequences of Covid-19 for a while. The good news is we each can take action today to address the challenge, thrive despite unpredictability, and preserve our health, safety, and wellness—especially mental wellbeing. This starts with optimizing the brain for clear, conscientious thinking. As a result of this process, we can allay fears and fortify our resistance to all manner of disease. The science-backed interventions we describe and show you how to apply to your everyday life—limiting news exposure, developing mindful practices, leveraging social media’s beneficial sources of authentic connection, creating healthier sleep and dietary habits, and spending more time with nature—will serve to renovate your body and rewire your brain for navigating this new normal as effortlessly and fearlessly as possible.

We have temporarily given up some freedom in our fight against this invisible enemy. But we retain the ability to choose how we show up in the world. Yes, we should acknowledge the struggles of the moment. But we should also look for opportunities for growth. When we invest in our thinking and our health, we bring the best versions of ourselves to all we do, and can more easily face the challenges ahead. We hope this book provides you with wellness and strength as we navigate this period together.

~ Drs. David and Austin Perlmutter, April 2020

Editorial Reviews


"Brain Wash provides the tools for each of us to live a happier, more contented life. Drs. David and Austin Perlmutter engage our most current understanding of neuroscience to reveal how the brain can be functionally reconfigured to distance ourselves from pervasive negativity and welcome empathy and compassion back into our lives. The choices we make each day in terms of what we eat, how well we sleep, and even how we interact with our digital world all contribute to our worldview. And central to the Brain Wash mission is maximizing these and other choices towards seeing and creating a better world."―Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, and author of The Healing Self

"We all know what it's like to feel distracted and overwhelmed. Brain Wash is an invaluable guide that's crammed with solutions for helping us to restore our focus, energize our bodies, and refresh our minds."―Gretchen Rubin, author of The Four Tendencies and The Happiness Project

"Brain Wash shows us how our ability to make the best decisions is literally being hijacked every day. But more importantly, Drs. David and Austin Perlmutter empower the reader with the tools to regain control over our decision-making and implement strategies to allow health, empathy and happiness to manifest. Brain Wash brings a healthy dose of compassion to the world."―Dr. Josh Axe, bestselling author of Keto Diet

"Inflammation, enhanced by so many influences of our modern world, dramatically reduces our ability to make good decisions and feel content. Brain Wash not only explores how this is happening, on a global scale, but also shows what we can do right now to take back control. From spending time in nature to choosing to consume one plant-based meal a day, Brain Wash provides the tools the reclaim and rebuild your brain's ability to make better choices and allow health and happiness to flourish."―Mark Hyman, MD, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Food and director of the Cleveland Clinic Ce

"What if there was nothing wrong with you, and so much wrong with the ways in which our dominant culture hijacks your decision-making? You'd want to know how to reclaim your mind, your biology, and your sense of balance. Brain Wash feels, at once, like a sympathetic recognition of our modern day struggle with tech and a science-paved path back home to ourselves. This is one of the most important topics of our time, and Drs. David and Austin Perlmutter have compassionately, intelligently, and creatively opened a vital dialogue."―Kelly Brogan, MD, author of Own Your Self

"This book was a total surprise. A father and son representing entirely different generations arrive at the same conclusion: that wellness fosters connection and this creates a meaningful life. Beautifully scripted and a bit like an adventure story, I kept wanting to get to the 'final message' of how being well makes us more loving and lovable. This is the endpoint where well-being takes us, and this is especially critical in our disconnected digital age with its constant distractions. Do yourself a favor and get this book"
John Ratey, MD, Harvard Medical School, author of Spark

"In a world where most of us are feeling rushed, tired, and burned out, Brain Wash reveals how even small changes in your lifestyle choices can dramatically improve your day, your mood, and even your life."―Melissa Hartwig Urban, Whole30 Co-Founder and CEO

"Brain Wash presents a road map for the relationship between how we think, feel, and behave and our lifestyle and environment. It is an artful and compelling manifesto on how to improve our mood, mind, and memory."
Jeffrey Bland, PhD, founder of the Institute for Functional Medicine and president and founder of P

"The message of Brain Wash couldn't be more urgent or timely. If everyone followed its advice, the world would be a happier and healthier place."―Catherine Price, author of How to Break Up with Your Phone and founder of Screen/Life Balance (scree

"Brain Wash is an important book that tackles a colossal modern challenge: the quest to reclaim our health and happiness from a world that encourages us to overspend, overindulge, and underthink. David and Austin Perlmutter are consummate guides who share a multitude of approachable, concrete, and down-to-earth solutions. Highly recommended."―Adam Alter, author of Irresistible and Drunk Tank Pink

About the Author

David Perlmutter, MD, is a board-certified neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. He is a frequent lecturer at symposia sponsored by institutions including the World Bank, Columbia University, New York University, Yale, and Harvard, and serves as an Associate Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including: the Linus Pauling Award for his innovative approaches to neurological disorders; the National Nutritional Foods Association Clinician of the Year Award; and the Humanitarian of the Year award from the American College of Nutrition. He maintains an active blog at and is the author of Grain Brain, Brain Maker, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, The Grain Brain Cookbook, and Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten.

Austin Perlmutter, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine physician. He received his medical degree from the University of Miami and completed his internal medicine residency at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland Oregon. His academic interests center on studying the effects of burnout and depression as well as preventive care and chronic disease management.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
  • Hardcover : 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0316453323
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0316453325
  • Product Dimensions : 6.25 x 1 x 9.63 inches
  • Publisher : Little, Brown Spark; Illustrated Edition (January 14, 2020)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 409 ratings

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 23, 2020
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The Occupier
4.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought....
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 17, 2020
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not a good quality book for me...
Reviewed in Canada on October 23, 2020
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