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Life Lessons from a Brain Surgeon: The New Science and Stories of the Brain Kindle Edition
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
*As heard on Chris Evans' Virgin Radio*
'You're amazing I could talk to you (Rahul) all day' Chris Evans
'This is a gripping new book' The Times
World-leading neuroscientist and neurosurgeon Dr Rahul Jandial draws on his years of work with patients suffering from the most extreme cases of brain damage, disorders and illnesses to reveal what they can tell us about the science of the mind.
From a languages teacher who has to choose whether to lose her ability to speak Spanish or English after brain surgery, to a former TV exec, now homeless, who discovers that his life-altering despondency is the result of a tumour, to a fainting teen who learns that deep breathing can mean the difference between life or death, these stories uncover the secret workings of the brain.
Blending cutting-edge research and beautiful storytelling, Life Lessons from a Brain Surgeon is a vital resource on the best ways to boost your memory, control stress and emotions, minimize pain, unleash your creativity, raise smart kids and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. This is a deeply practical and readable book, which will take you on an expedition through the anatomy of the most fascinating - and mysterious - of organs.
Rahul's new book Life on a Knife's Edge is out now.
- ASIN : B07GRDH1KJ
- Publisher : Penguin (June 27, 2019)
- Publication date : June 27, 2019
- Language : English
- File size : 2562 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 243 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #587,316 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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So if you read Neurofitness don’t buy this book because it’s the exact same.
However if you haven’t read either book, just pick one, it is a phenomenal read! Dr. Jandial presents helpful brain fitness tips in a straight forward and compelling way. You’ll learn a lot from this book!
So is there, as they say in Glasgow, a soapy bubble? Well, one issue is that the book has no solid identity. Not that skillful commentators cannot write successful genre-benders, viz part autobiography, part popular science, part futurology, part agony aunt for the soul, part health primer, part myth-busterama, part handy tips for a happier life. This is essentially the package we have here and it can become an ungainly, misshapen read.
It might well be true that Dr. Jandial could be the very best person with whom to talk about how best to avoid dementia, how best to adjust your diet, how best to parent your young, how best to organize your sleep, how best to regulate your consumption of alcohol or caffeine… But even for this super-talented guy this really does become a bit of a stretch. Even the big, big dollop of charm is not enough to fill every analytical cranny, as freewheelingly opened along the way.
The text is too full of “studies show that…” references to a very wide range of academic journals and their sometimes well-informed and/but sometimes rather early conclusions. No doubt that Dr. Jandial is well-read and well-intentioned but, bluntly, he tries to cover too much ground, at a cost of not a little definitiveness. For example, “research has shown”, he says (in the chapter The Older Brain), “that older adults have a greater sense of well-being and greater emotional stability than do teens or young adults”. The implication that the older we grow the wiser and therefore the happier we become is one of the most contestable ideas in the whole of social science. Especially if the claim is based on longitudinal self-reported wellbeing studies, then what we hear is a crescendo of deeply unreliable narration.
Imagine you have turned 75 years of age this very day. Coincidentally contacted by a respectable research agency, you are invited to rate your general level of personal happiness / life satisfaction on a scale of 1-10 (where 10 would equal totally blissed-out). You agree to participate. But a silent inhibition tugs at your guts. If you were to say that you are, in fact, dreadfully unhappy, will the whole world know that this whole life has ipso facto been a failure? And do you really want to admit this to yourself? Is it possible that you will give yourself a defiant score of : 8.2? Will it be just too demoralising and sad to answer : 4.9?
But let’s take another quick thought- bite : Just how regularly could, say, one spouse ask of another at any given dinner-time : Are you happy, darling? Asking it too often could get somehow dangerously irritating, no? And would one indeed be wise to ask it only in circumstances where an enthusiastic and unmistakable affirmative was bound to be forthcoming? In so many situations, how much does such happiness as we hold actually depend on limited disclosure and partial honesty? Happiness has no biology. It is a circumstance. And the gray and the bald are no more favored than the wrinkle-free.
More worryingly still, we do not need a brain surgeon to tell us that alcohol is not “a smart drug”. And we should not at all be concluding that there is a scientific consensus to the effect that moderate alcohol consumption reduces exposure to certain life-threatening diseases and conditions. How many people across the world this very day are really going to be told when visiting the doctor for a check-up : drink more alcohol or indeed start drinking alcohol? Every ad agency and trends analysis company knows that the drinking population will exploit each bit of pseudo-science that appears in the popular press - headlines like “Japanese study confirms that beer boosts muscle development in teenagers”. (We have made up this one). How often have we been drinking wine at a party for the man next to us to say : I read in the paper today that red wine is good for the heart? Or some such drivel? We need a heavy tincture of caution whenever drink is about.
However, it is impossible not to admire Dr Jandial’s overall effort here; the lesson is as provocative as it is humane. We who can but read his books would do well to hear a whole lot more from him. A lot of popular science deservedly gets a, er, kick in the head. But, some quibbles aside, this is good stuff - specially for the sexagenarians in our midst, them that want to become successful centurions.
The life story half of the book (and the two halves alternate throughout) has several interesting case studies. Many are the author’s own patients. Much of the text is also devoted to the anatomy of the brain. The anatomy “lessons” are told in an interesting and informative manner. The reader learns, for instance, that “Broca’s area” is not necessarily always where Broca said it was.
As a fair portion of the text is “standard fare,” Life Lessons does not deserve five stars but does deserve a solid four.
Top reviews from other countries
The stories are fascinating (though not all for the squeamish), and many of the tips seem useful - eg that the best way to memorise things is to keep testing yourself on them..
(Good news for people with diabetes taking Metformin, and people with high blood pressure taking statins - both these medicines apparently also protect against dementia.)
There is also a lot of explantions on various functions and parts of the brain, and it is easy to understand and not made more complex than it needs to be from a general book on the brain.
This is really a self help/mindfulness/wellness/etc. type of book interspersed with some very pointed observations, though these are often based on statistically dubious "research"
You will probably get something out of it though