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Think Smart: A Neuroscientist's Prescription for Improving Your Brain's Performance Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 30, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not a self-help or feel good book. It is real practical science from a careful source. I wish I had this book when I was thirteen, but I am making use of it decades later. Then I could have used his description of the adolescent and adult brains. I like his writing style and the organization he employs.
Dr. Restak starts off Part One with a little scientific context so we can more fully appreciate his developing program in Part Two: how to care for and use our brains. First we take care of the whole body as an organic system. Proper diet is a real foundation; transfats and weight in general do matter. The next realm is physical activity. Seems all so simple, but he makes his case in a direct way you do not see everyday in other health discussions. And he addresses that most un-American of activities -- sleep. We have been dang near the most sleep deprived nation on Earth for decades now. He points out that we worry more after not enough sleep.
Once you give yourself a fighting chance by addressing fundamentals, you can address mental performance. Memory in its many aspects (even sense memory), creativity, games and more all explore the different dimensions of brain capacity or performance.Read more ›
Restak informs the reader that the brain is shaped by individual experiences in life; thus, environmental enrichment leads to enhancement in the human brain. The book is divided into chapters designed to discuss various aspects of brain functioning, including:
1. diet and exercise.
2. specific steps for enhancing performance
3. technology to enhance brain function
4. fashioning the creative brain
5. impediments to optimal brain function and how to compensate for them
Those who keep current on their reading may find that they know some pieces of Restak's book. For example: exercise regularly, avoid trans fats, and get your Omega 3's.
The real merit in this book is that it compiles what appears to be the latest research into a single, well-organized location. Given the spotty nature of the disclosure of scientific advancement in the news cycle, I found this book to be a great way to fill in the gaps of what I already knew. Moreover, the book offers some tangible means by which to improve cognitive function.
At first I thought I would never be motivated to do the exercises mentioned in the book. Some of them are a bit awkward or involved for me (spend 10 minutes "memorizing" a coffee cup?).Read more ›
I must confess that when I ordered this book I was hoping for a more technical and detailed presentation especially since the author was a neuroscientist. However, the book is too general and superficial to be of lasting value. Much of the information here is old hat and experimental works cited are not referenced for further follow-up should you so desire. I can honestly state that I did not find anything in the text that I was not already aware of and I am by no means a professional in psychology or neuroscience. The presentation reminded me of reading a National Geographic article without the pretty pictures.
All in all a good basic overview but with not much meat in the soup.
To be honest, a decent amount of the advice is things we (should) already know - of the "use it or lose it" variety. The sections on improving memory and fostering and increasing creativity both come down to Restak suggesting interesting exercises we can all do to enhance these skills. Like the world of physical exercise, the best way to bolster prowess is to exercise our faculties.
Not all of the suggsetions, though, are common sense. The first section - on "care and feeding of the brain," summarizes the current nutritional and health research on the brain. How much sleep is good? What foods are good? How much will exercise help brain function? etc.
Even the two use-it-or-lose-it sections mentioned above depart from what many see as common sense; they operate on the premise that memory, intelligence, attention-focusing, and creativity are not fixed capacities, but can be substantially improved by the right efforts. While this premise is controversial and the jury is far from unanimous (Restak doesn't offer convincing evidence to the contrary), there is certainly evidence showing that memory and reasoning skills can be improved by exercise. Restak goes a long way in giving us good suggestions of exercises we can do to strenthen our mental faculties.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Think Smart by Dr. Richard Restak provides a great deal of practical information about how we can improve the functioning of our brain. Dr. Read morePublished 20 days ago by John Martin
The author has written 23 books, this is usually a bad sign unless the person is a great genius. It means either that the person is spreading his talent too thin or is writing the... Read morePublished 23 days ago by doug korty
This guy is spot on.
Dr. Richard Restak is the real deal. I've already done a background check on this guy, and he is legit. Read more
A book that can help you think clearly, enhance and improve your relationship to a healthy life. This book is truly a Neuroscientists Prescription to improving the Brains... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Eliseo Garrido
Phenomenal read, the types of things we ALL should know about. Really we should be applying this level of knowledge to our daily lives, more important to our youth / during... Read morePublished 15 months ago by SwissCheez
The book not only offers the science and theory of the brain but also gives many very practical ways one can pursue to improve brain health. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Timothy
A must read for those who want to know how your head really works and how we can traverse the superhighways this best gift to mankind. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Lorman