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Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain: How to Retrain Your Brain to Overcome Pessimism and Achieve a More Positive Outlook Hardcover – June 5, 2012
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Every day I send my kids out the door to school with this admonition, you can choose to be happy.’ More often than not, they roll their eyes, but in Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain Elaine Fox (no relation) offers a scientific argument for my contention. After much research, and in comprehensive, but comprehensible detail, Professor Fox provides a mental map to the sunny side of the street. For optimists and pessimists alike, this fascinating book is a must read.”
Joseph LeDoux, author of The Emotional Brain and Synaptic Self
Every experience you have, from the most trivial to the most significant, alters the brain. Elaine Fox offers scientifically based advice about how to make the most of this, how to be in charge of changing your brain for the better.”
Drawing on a host of studies in neurobiology and genetics, as well as evolutionary and behavioral psychology, Fox explores the struggle between the parts of the brain associated with fear and pessimism and those associated with pleasure and optimism.... Fox introduces readers to many new concepts from experimental psychology and recent research on neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.... [A] welcome, if intellectually demanding, introduction to a key area of brain research.”
A psychologist looks at the influence that outlook a tendency toward optimism or pessimism can play in shaping the events in our lives.... An insightful addition to the self-help bookshelf.”
Fox brings to this book a wealth of knowledge and experience from her many years as head of the psychology department and Center for Brain Science at the University of Essex. She explains how the latest research in the areas of genetics, neurology, and psychology intersects and how it relates to optimistic versus pessimistic attitudes toward life.... Fox’s writing style will appeal to a lay audience with scholarly interests.”
It’s worth sticking with the hard science of Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain. Fox offers persuasive arguments that we are well on the way toward creating people and societies that will allow healthy minds to truly flourish.’”
New York Times
An informative new book on the science of optimism.”
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Let me begin with a word of warning for the self-help reader. This book is for you if you are interested in the `why is it good' and `how it works' questions. This is not a `do-it-yourself optimism-cookbook'. In this book you will find descriptive definitions of emotion regulation and rational optimism and theories + empirical studies that show why it is good for you and what happens when it is not there. You will find information about experiments and therapies that induce optimism bias but there is no step by step recipe.
I liked reading about scientific theories and experiments rather than getting a pep talk with a to-do list. I liked the balanced view - that you need two healthy systems, not just blind optimism. I liked the emphasis on engagement and `doing' rather than just `thinking'. I liked the non-linear model of a feed-back loop, triggered by very small cognitive biases (positive or negative), that generates significant dispositional differences. It fits well into a thought framework of systems and complexity. So this book gets 5 stars for content.
As for execution, I'd say no more than 3 stars. Most of the time I had to do some work to follow the ideas and get them organized; otherwise, it would have been just another book with some interesting anecdotes.Read more ›
Over all though, I was disappointed in the limited recommendations to come out of this book towards becoming more optimistic. This was confined to one short, final chapter and didn't really tell me anything new - meditate, practise focussing on the positive things, use mindfulness. There was a description of some psychological interventions which entailed subconscious brain retraining using responses to images, but no information was provided as to how to gain access to that type of therapy. This method has apparently been used successfully to treat PTSD sufferers, and the book suggested that it could be readily delivered via the Internet, but it seems this may not be available to the general public as yet.
The book read as though its intention was to explain the science to an average, well adjusted reader, rather than to someone specifically seeking help for pessimistic thinking. There are a number of short self evaluative tests in the book (the marking of which could have been better explained), and it is clear that the author thinks it just as likely that the reader will have an optimistic result as a pessimistic one.Read more ›
And I'm with the other reviewer. The audiobook's narration is annoying.
The PR people who titled the book were right on target. A book that actually does what this title promises would be a great book. But that's not the book Fox actually wrote.
The writing style is average. Not particularly engaging, and occasionally too complicated to follow.
I got this book based on the claim on the cover that it would provide tools, and it did not. The author was obviously overruled by the publishers marketing department.
If you are looking for tools to retrain your brain, look elsewhere.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read the book and really enjoyed it. I had to look up some new words and remember the abbreviations.Published 17 months ago by pam davis
Though the cover page indicates that this book shows “How to Retrain Your Brain to Overcome Pessimism and Achieve a More Positive Outlook,” I didn't get that out of it. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Mary Ann Parrish
The book is an in depth view of what we currently understand about the human mind. This book has me reading four other referenced books.Published 20 months ago by FatMan
Very interesting and well researched. Perfect for people without any training or experience in this area.Published 22 months ago by Kylie
Extremely interesting, I enjoyed it immensely and I have recommended it to several others who are interested in psychology and understanding what makes us tick. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Michael Ogden
This is a great wrap up of the science behind optimism and pessimism with well referenced data.
It does not contain any application though, so if you are looking for a... Read more
This book reads pretty much like a college literature review of research, nothing particularly engaging or really even new depending on how well you are already familiar with the... Read morePublished on October 7, 2013 by Raychel
I felt that I was becoming a rather pessimistic person. I saw this book touted on CNN.com and immediately purchased it; I was so excited to learn how to "retrain my brain to... Read morePublished on June 7, 2013 by stormtrooper
What's the weather like in your brain?
As Elaine Fox clearly demonstrates in _Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain_, our emotional climates and forecasts are deeply influenced by... Read more