86 of 92 people found the following review helpful
PROVOCATIVE AND USEFUL: 5 STARS+,
This review is from: How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist (Hardcover)
I'm a professor of business at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and I have to say that I was blown away by this book, for the simple reason that I have a deep love for science, and a deep appreciation of meditation and spiritual practices. Like the previous reviews, I was surprised to see a neuroscience book be simultaneously recommended by Time Magazine and Oprah. I have followed Newberg and Waldman's research for years, and have actually used some of the focusing exercises they describe in their book to help my students do better in class. I think this is their best book yet, because anyone can use their simple exercises to help stay focused on their commitments, goals, and personal values. I plan to try out their new exercises, like Compassionate Communication, to see if I can improve social empathy with my fiance' as well as my students. I believe that they have solid documented research to show that the exercises in the book actually improve the sales potential of business people (this is based on a Stanford University study that taught a forgiveness meditation to executives at American Express). I recently found out that Waldman is conducting research at Moorpark College showing that sitting quietly or yawning for a few minutes before taking a class can improve student test scores by an entire grade point. This book goes beyond the normal self-help books because it is solidly grounded in Newberg's brain scan research showing how the simple exercises they offer in the book change the structure and function of the brain. Here are some of the points that particularly interested me:
1. Different parts of the brain construct different perceptions and experiences of the world, including one's concept of God.
2. Every human brain constructs a unique image and conception of reality and God.
3. Spiritual practices can be stripped of their religious beliefs and still benefit the brain. And they can also be adapted to traditions with different theological beliefs.
4. Meditation is good for everyone, whether you believe or disbelieve in God.
5. The longer you meditate, the more you change your brain in very positive ways.
I particularly like the research that showed how optimism, hope, faith, and positive thinking is the most important thing we can do to maintain a healthy brain.