Customer Reviews: Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time
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on October 2, 2011
I've been reading Rick's newsletters for years now, in which he first presented many of the ideas and practices that have been further developed and beautifully set forth in this book. I've read hundreds of self-help and "spiritual" books over decades without ever having felt obliged to write a review of even the really good ones, but this book is truly special. First of all, the author deeply knows whereof he speaks. That is the actual neuroscience of how to rewire one's brain--and therefore one's life experience--to attain much greater happiness, true well-being, peace with one's past, compassion for oneself and empathy for others--and therefore automatically making the world a better place. There's no filler here, only the real stuff that matters. This book is like having a true friend who has walked the walk, and who really cares about you, right by your side. A great gift to give yourself and anyone else!
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on October 17, 2011
In Just One Thing, neuropsychologist and meditation teacher Rick Hanson presents you with 52 simple practices for changing your brain, and changing the way you live your life. His focus is on cultivating what is positive, but this is not just some "feel good" collection of helpful hints -- there is real substance here, pared down to what is essential for building on your strengths, becoming more resilient, and coming to peace with your emotions. I enjoy referring my patients as well as my friends to Rick's work -- his work is warm, engaging, and well-informed by his training in the brain-behavior relationship.
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on June 2, 2012
I ordered this book about a week ago to help with some severe anxiety( as a result I've been having some uncomfortable health related side effects). I'm honestly no more then 29 pages in and feel as if its helping.

I have coupled the exercises in this book with a new daily yoga regime, and already I'm finding myself more at ease, more accepting of myself, and more patient with my kids. Its really helping.

The simplicity of this book is key. We're not aiming for enlightenment here, just peace of mind and a state of physical and mental lofty goals, just a sense that things are okay.

Most exercises (so far) involve gently rethinking things, and letting oneself feel the positive moments in life. The writing is based on neuropsychological research, which means the aim is to really reshape the pathways of the your brain...making permanent long term change.

This book is a valuable tool for anyone who is anxiety prone, prone to depression, or just prone negative self talk. This is one I will always carry with me. Wonderful, simple stuff! My thanks to the author!!
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on January 23, 2012
Dr. Rick Hanson first established himself as a pioneer in contemplative sciences with his previous book, Buddha's Brain. As he states on his website, "Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and other great teachers were all born with a brain built essentially like anyone else's. Then they used their minds to change their brains in ways that changed history." Seeking to explore, educate, & inspire ordinary humans that they too, can achieve greatness, Buddha's Brain was born. Buddha's Brain became wildly successful in the Western world, employing endorsements amongst psychologists, meditation teachers, scientists & scholars alike; it is now enjoying success worldwide, as it is now published in 20 different languages. As a follow up, Dr. Hanson has now published Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time.

Just One Thing is a crowning jewel amongst contemplative science works. Building off of the great teachers- Jesus, Moses, the Buddha- the book offers tiny tidbits of knowledge that can lead to big changes in the brain; changes Dr. Hanson calls a "buddha's brain". Despite what many associate with the label (religion), a "buddha's brain" is for anyone who wants be truly happy and effective, including those who appreciate the more secular applications of science. In fact, the book steers clear of discussing religion, and instead discusses methods for seeing reality. Dr. Hanson begins by educating the reader on our brain's "negativity bias"; that in fact our brains are wired to place more importance on negative news than positive news. For folks who automatically took this to be bad news, fear not. We can change the brain's bad news bias, by simply choosing to see the good on a regular basis. Dr. H explains how whether we realize it or not, our minds are always changing, for better or for worse. Once we have an awareness of this, we can dedicate time to ensuring that any changes that occur are for the better, by making conscious decisions. The book offers over 50 simple, easy to understand (and employ!) brain training practices that allow you to become a more fully conscious individual. Each practice stems from ancestral wisdom and is supported by a plethora of research into positive psychology and modern neuroscience. By taking a few moments a day to implement these simple tools into your daily life, you can reduce stress, increase your emotional resilience, have healthier relationships, and find your center in wellness & unconditional happiness.
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Just One Thing is a fantastic resource! I am a psychotherapist and author specializing in eating problems - I help people break the diet/binge cycle and become attuned eaters. The 52 easy-to-read strategies offered in Rick's book - such as take in the good, have compassion for yourself and relax anxiety about imperfection - are the "perfect" practices for my clients who are looking for ways to calm their anxiety without using food.

I will also be keeping this book on my own nightstand! While I already practice meditation daily, the wisdom in these pages are gentle reminders about how to live life more fully and joyfully. I'm a big fan of Buddha's Brain, and Just One Thing is a wonderful complement - thank you, Rick!
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on March 16, 2012
In my work as a psychotherapist I rarely recommend self-help books, because most of them aren't worth the paper they're printed on. But once in a while a book comes along that really has the power to change our lives for the better. One such book is Just One Thing, by Rick Hanson. Rick is both a neuropsychologist and a meditation teacher, and he uses the new findings of neuroscience to show how very simple mind-training techniques, practiced for just a few minutes daily, can radically improve our well-being.

The science behind the practices involves a simple principle: every time you use your mind you alter the structure of your brain. Everything you pay attention to, everything you think, feel and want, every time you react to what happens to you - all of these things sculpt your brain. Busy regions of the brain get more blood flow, and little-used neural connections wither away. "Neurons that fire together wire together" - every time you repeat any mental activity, you strengthen it and make it easier to become a habit.

What this means is that if your mind regularly focuses on worries, anger, or self-criticism, then your brain develops neural structures supporting anxiety, low self-esteem, and impatience with others. But if you regularly focus your attention on noticing that you're all right now, not taking life personally, cultivating gratitude, or letting go - then gradually your brain re-shapes itself to support calm strength, self-confidence, and inner peace. So, for instance, regularly taking the time for mindfulness pauses activates the part of the brain that puts the brakes on negative feelings, and thus lifts mood. Other practices, such as taking in the good, feeling safer, relaxing anxiety about imperfection, or filling the hole in your heart, support and increase your sense of security and worth, resilience, effectiveness, and well-being.

This book is very user-friendly. Each chapter title names a specific practice, and the rest of the chapter, which is never more than a few pages, tells you why to do it, and then how to do it. The practices themselves usually involve actions you take in your mind, such as reflecting, concentrating, or focusing your attention, and they only take a few minutes to do per day. But doing them regularly gradually re-shapes the brain to reduce stress and unhappiness, and to develop positive qualities. They're exactly like physical exercise; any single time you work out, not much changes, but over time your health and strength improve.

We all understand that we have to make effort regularly over time to do things like learning how to drive a car or play basketball, but we typically think the mind should just work fine on its own, without any effort or discipline. Rick Hanson shows us how some very down-to-earth actions can turn an unruly mind into one that is focused, strong, and happy. I recommend this book highly.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon November 14, 2011
This book was an amazing resource. With 52 simple practices that you can do to change the way that you think and live, this book is one that I would highly recommend to all. The book was insightful, down-to-earth and easy to read. Each idea that is shared is so easy to utilize in one's life and the chapters are short and easy to understand as well so you are not lost in translation. One of the best things in each chapter is the relevance to everyday life, as the author uses real examples to illustrate his points. This is a great read for all!
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on May 13, 2012
This little gem will rebuild your brain.

This is an instructional guide in the sense that it asks you to spend time thinking about and practicing some meditative task. But it is not a rote self-help book. You don't fill out forms or read silly, upbeat admonitions. It doesn't tell you to think positively or worry about what you "put out into the universe". In other words, it is neither a product of the self-help industry nor is it an addition to the magical thinking literature. It's serious therapy.

Every chapter teaches you a practice that leads you to examine yourself, accept yourself, grow and be happier. Amazing. The practices are grounded in contemporary psychology and Buddhism, but there's nothing religious here. What I like the best is this: the chapter titles tell you to do something e.g. get more sleep. Then, the first section in each chapter is titled "How". That's novel. Most personal care/self-help books just say: get more sleep, be nicer, eat well and love your neighbor. I've gotten to the point where I think of the self-help industry as the personification of the mother in our collective unconscious who is telling all of us, "For G*d's sake, just eat your vegetables."

Anyway, Rick Hanson doesn't just tell us what to do, but he tells us how. Helpful. Life-changing.
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on April 1, 2012
This is one of my favorite Buddha books for people trying to understand some basic and complex teachings of Buddha. The lessons are short and easily discussed
as we have done in a meditation discussion group. Excellent for the beginner as well as the long time Buddhist to help resimplify their practice. I enjoy Rick
Hanson and his ability to simplify teachings for easier dissemination into our daily lives.
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on December 5, 2011
Books on living more mindfully can sometimes be written in ways that I find off-putting -- sometimes too dense, sometimes as if they're written in code, or for me, "too spiritual". Just One Thing completely avoids all of the usual traps, and allows you to take a small bit as a time, hang out with it, and work it into your daily life. It appeals to the intellectual side of me that likes to know why or how something works - the author is a neuropsychologist as well as a meditation teacher. He manages to convey it all like he's a friend, not an "expert" or some boring lecturer. I'm planning on giving this to friends as gifts - we could all need a little mindfulness for the holiday season, and this is just the right dose.
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