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Making a Good Brain Great: The Amen Clinic Program for Achieving and Sustaining Optimal Mental Performance Hardcover – October 11, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In order to make muscles grow, one must eat right, exercise and force the muscles to do new things; the same is true of one's brain-which is just one of the things to learn from this short but informative audiobook from one of the world's leading experts on how the brain works. Works of this sort usually aren't well suited to audio, and this one is no exception. Unless listeners are studiously taking notes while listening, they will need to find a hard copy when the time comes to apply Amen's advice. However, Amen's friendly and warm narration relates the precepts of his brain-boosting program in a way that makes them easy to understand and absorb. The audiobook becomes repetitive when Amen tries to reinforce certain points, but this production is otherwise enjoyable and will leave listeners eager to implement some of the strategies outlined. Amen is a renowned keynote speaker and frequently appears on TV, so there's no surprise that his engaging and exuberant style makes this a fascinating exploration of how the brain works.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“This book is wonderful. It gives the reader great understanding and hope that changes in oneself can be made. If you put these changes into action, a happy and healthy brain is yours.” —Bill Cosby

“Each of Daniel Amen’s books contains special nuggets that can be found nowhere else, as well as a wealth of useful, general information that he brings together under one roof. This book offers excellent advice as well as a great deal of new information. An extremely useful and easy-to-read book.” —Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of Delivered from Distraction and The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness

Making a Good Brain Great is the long-awaited synthesis of a true visionary’s work. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in self-improvement, and especially parents and other caregivers of children—this book is a gem for those of us who want to raise healthy kids.” —Michael Gurian, author of The Minds of Boys and The Wonder of Girls

“The most important gift we have to share is wisdom. In this timely book, Dr. Amen shows us how to create a great brain so we can make the world a better place.” —Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., president/medical director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Foundation, and author of The Better Memory Kit and The End of Karma

“A must-read for those who live by their wits.” —Dennis B. Alters, M.D., child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry, and author of Wizard’s Way

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; First Edition edition (October 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400082080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400082087
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I was professionally educated during a time when little was really known about the brain and exactly how it works. We were taught that the brain essentially remains the same throughout life and that once an area of the brain was damaged, that was it: the brain did not repair itself, grow new cells, or transfer abilities from one area to another. Furthermore, the idea that the brain needed "exercise" to remain healthy and productive was considered just a crazy notion. I remember professors of psychology telling us that memory ability was pretty well fixed and there was nothing that we could do to improve our memories, so forget about memorizing anything in an attempt to "exercise" such a faculty. How times have changed!

Over the past few years, I have read and often reviewed a number of new books -- many of them on the cutting-edge -- which have reported on or summarized the latest research in brain science and allied disciplines. I am impressed by the amount of work done in brain science during the past few decades and even more impressed with the findings. There is no question about the importance of the research. As Dr. Daniel Amen points out in his new book, "Making a Good Brain Great," our brain is involved in everything we do, it is the most complicated organ in the universe, and our brain can be changed so we can improve our lives. And he provides a program, the "fifteen days to a better brain," to do just that: improve our lives.

This is a very practical book, intended for everyone.
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. Amen begins this book by stressing the importance of the brain. The brain is where "you" reside. It's the seat of loving, living, being, learning, thinking, working.... The brain weighs three pounds, but uses 30% of the energy the human body consumes. Yet, the brain is a fragile miracle housed in a thin-walled bony bowl. It's easily damaged by physical trauma, emotional trauma, drugs, disease, and poor dietary habits.

Because of the brain's fragility and the common disregard for it, brain dysfunction is so widespread that it's normal. Perhaps it's because we don't see our brains, but most of us never address the issue of actually caring for our brains. Many brain-related problems are preventable. With a healthy brain, you can fully engage in life, meet its challenges, and be happy. Few of us choose this option, and that's probably due to a lack of good information on the subject.

Dr. Amen has analyzed thousands of brain scans. Consequently, he's been able to correlate specific brain dysfunction with specific actions people take. He has been able to go beyond observing outward behavior to observing inward behavior--how the brain responds to what is done to it.

What are some ways you may be drilling holes in your boat as you float along in the sea of stupidity? To avoid sinking, become familiar with these and don't do them! Here are some paraphrased examples from Dr. Amen's book:

Doing cigarettes. Whether you have one in your mouth or someone else does, you are still breathing in the same chemicals. The resulting vasoconstriction reduces blood flow through the carotid arteries, but also reduces blood flow through the brain's blood distribution system.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think the two top reviews are very well written, so I am not going to revisit the same territory. In essence, I agree with everything they said. This book is loaded with sound advice, good references, supplement recommendations, etc.

What I wanted to add is that it is a very readable, practical and enjoyable book for anyone. For anyone with a brain (all of us!), it's an inexpensive investment in return for a lifetime of benefits. Dr. Amen focuses a lot on prevention of problems, especially those related to aging and the brain. As a former biochemist, his suggestions make sense and I have implemented them in my own life.

If you are on SSRIs (e.g. Zoloft), have ADD/ADHD or other issues, there is a lot of value added material about how certain supplements can be VERY helpful and as effective as some drugs. He also includes warnings where it is appropriate and they seem to lean on the conservatie side.

I don't have any reservations about this book or the credibility of the author. It's a "no brainer" decision from my perspective, I don't know of one that is better and I read a lot!
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Format: Hardcover
This book is not at all what I had expected from the title but is a fascinating book with some of the most up-to-date research on how to take care of your brain. We tend to equate the brain mainly with memory and so it is a natural assumption that this book is about memory. Quite the opposite it is truly a book on making the brain run at its best and healthiest. The book is divided into two parts with the first one dedicated to changing the way you look at your brain and what can harm, or help it and why you should care. The information includes healing your brain system and new knowledge from the field of imaging including fascinating explanations and photos of SPECT imaging. The author includes explanations of the SPECT images and how they reveal many different problems. This section is about changing your brain and changing your life as a result. The second part of the book digs into how you can help get your brain in top running order and keep it there. It includes things like foods that contribute to brain health, mental exercises, perception, using music to stimulate the brain, stress reduction techniques, brain aging and using supplements. Daniel G. Amen, M.D. Is a highly respected expert in the field and provides a very interesting tour or the brain's normal as well as abnormal functioning. This is one of the best books available today on brain health and how any individual can take charge of the health of their own brain. Making a Good Brain Great is highly recommended.
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