Dr. Michael Merzenich has written an easy to read and very valuable resource on the latest information on brain plasticity (the idea that we are not hard-wired but soft-wired - it even includes a few pages on how he came to "see the light" in this area) and how we can use it to improve our lives at any age. It is important to understand that neuroplasticity can work to our advantage or disadvantage and he gives examples of each throughout this book.
Here are just a few of the valuable topics covered in this book: * 10 Fundamentals of Brain Plasticity. These are core principles including: "change is mostly limited to those situations in which the brain is in the mood for it", "learning-driven changes in connections increase cell-to-cell cooperation, which is crucial for increasing reliability", "initial changes are just temporary", and "brain plasticity is a two-way street; it is just as easy to generate negative changes as it is to produce positive ones" * His top ten list of changes that that have been demonstrated by the research to date * His 8 brain fitness rules including "try to work on a demanding level" and "find exercises that are inherently satisfying and rewarding" * As a runner, I really benefited from his 6 rules in planning one's exercise routines (and the need to vary the challenges we give our bodies as well as our minds) * His chapter on "Taking a Holistic approach to improving your life". This includes my favorite "Continuously enrich your life on small and larger scales."
Throughout the book he uses examples to illustrate the concepts in memorable ways. He discusses the impact of aging and the brain and how to limit and counteract the challenges that come with age. It is clear that Merzenich has a true passion for brain science and wants us all to use the information from brain science to enrich our lives and improve our well-being. I hope that you benefit as much as I did from reading this book and putting the ideas into practice!
Note: I also recommend reading the book by Norman Doidge "The Brain that Changes Itself" for some fascinating stories and examples of plastic changes that are truly remarkable