Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves

 
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In this fascinating and far-reaching book, Newsweek science writer Sharon Begley reports on how cutting-edge science and the ancient wisdom of Buddhism have come together to reveal that, contrary to popular belief, we have the power to literally change our brains by changing our minds. Recent pioneering experiments in neuroplasticity–the ability of the brain to change in response to experience–reveal that the brain is capable of altering its structure and function, and even of generating new neurons, a power we retain well into old age. The brain can adapt, heal, renew itself after trauma, compensate for disabilities, rewire itself to overcome dyslexia, and break cycles of depression and OCD. And as scientists are learning from studies performed on Buddhist monks, it is not only the outside world that can change the brain, so can the mind and, in particular, focused attention through the classic Buddhist practice of mindfulness.

With her gift for making science accessible, meaningful, and compelling, Sharon Begley illuminates a profound shift in our understanding of how the brain and the mind interact and takes us to the leading edge of a revolution in what it means to be human.

“There are two great things about this book. One is that it shows us how nothing about our brains is set in stone. The other is that it is written by Sharon Begley, one of the best science writers around. Begley is superb at framing the latest facts within the larger context of the field. . . . This is a terrific book.”
–Robert M. Sapolsky, author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

“Excellent . . . elegant and lucid prose . . . an open mind here will be rewarded.”
–Discover magazine

“A strong dose of hope along with a strong does of science and Buddhist thought.”
–The San Diego Union-Tribune

Customer Reviews:

  • Train your brain, change your mind?
    Sharon Begley has a tale to tell, comprised in part "history of science" narrative, part recounting of research, and small part (implicit) comparative religion. Her subject is neuroplasticity of the brain. Conventional wisdom held that we were born with a finite number of brain cells and hardwired connections, and when they were gone, that's it. She weaves together the research of different scientists as they discovered that we can indeed grow new brain cells and connections between them, we can train parts of the brain to take on new tasks, and we can even train our minds to change our brains to change our attitudes. Binding the narrative together is the 2004 Mind and Life Conference at Dharamsala, where scientists engaged the Dalai Lama and a host of Tibetan Buddhist monks with their research findings and explored connections in Buddhist thought.

    This is by no means a self-help book, although I am finding it helpful. As a personal safety skills trainer, I am always looking for ways to enhance my clients' learning experiences. I am particularly interested in how people can train to better work through fear, post-traumatic stress, and ready recall of safety skills under stressful circumstances. While Begley is not handing over a set of drills to do in seminars, as I read this book I was coming up with ways to make exercises more effective, and why. That's worthwhile for me.

    (I'm giving this book 4 rather than 5 stars only because I felt the writing could have been more concise.)
    ...more info
  • Good, important popular science, but too verbose.
    This is not a self help book, but popular science of the best kind, carefully, objectively describing the scientific concepts and research which support the idea that at any age your brain can be modified for the good. In particular stroke victims can achieve physical recovery by "rewiring" the brain so that movement is controlled by neurons adjacent to those destroyed, or even directly by the pre-motor cortex (usually used only to plan movement) or by the comparable areas in the other side of the brain, so that, e.g., both left arm and right arm might be controlled from the left side of the brain. The research described pertains primarily to scientific understanding, but also to practical results.

    The book goes well beyond rehabilitating stroke victims. Your pre-frontal cortex, which is important to the emotions you experience, might potentially be modified so that not only may the ill be helped, but the "normal; e.g., normal people's "happiness point" might be elevated, they could be become more secure and compassionate (psychology tells us the two go together), etc.. This and other discoveries fit well with Buddhist views. As it happens, the Dali Lama is very interested in Western science, and has encouraged some of the research described. Begley is interested in him and Buddhism, so that this is a complementary focus of the book.

    Much as I liked Begley when she was science writer of the Wall Street Journal, and much as I learned from her book and was influenced by it, I did not enjoy it as much as I should have. I found it unnecessarily verbose. It is true that for a long time neuroscientists strongly resisted the idea that the brain could be rewired, but I don't think the lay person intuitively finds the idea hard to accept, at least as it pertains to motor control. Yet Begley writes as if she has to keep hammering the idea home, and also spends too much time in describing some of the animal experiments: for example, a few pages could almost be completely summarized by saying that if you keep the auditory nerve of one ear, in a ferret baby, from reaching the cortex , the visual nerve of one eye will attach to the auditory part of the cortex, and light on that eye will be interpreted as sound (ferret is trained to react very specifically to sound).
    ...more info
  • Avoidence Attachment to this Book
    It gets tougher and tougher to pick books that meet my reading interests. I confess that to a large extent I rely on reviewers in a couple of the larger newspapers: New York Times, Seattle Times, Chicago-Sun Times, London Times, etc. I also read the Amazon buyer's reviews. Occasionally I will watch PBS or listen to PR in their book review programs. Still it seems that more and more frequently my expectations about a book seems to have been misled. I read the reviews in Amazon and wonder if one or two of the more glowing ones are proffered by the kin and friends of the author or the publisher, and the negative ones might be by envious writers or curmudgeons. Obviously I'm paranoid, as those antics would never happen in the pristine world of publishing. Anyway, the consistently best feedback I receive comes from friends and family; incidentally, who also share they have the same dilemma as I.

    Sharon Begley's "Train Your MIND ... Change Your BRAIN" title has the implicit marketing gesture of a "how to" book to start you on an exciting and noble voyage of the sharing of revolutionary discoveries and techniques to enhance your mind and physical abilities ... NOT! Wow, did I misinterpret the intent of the author/publisher.

    Once again, here is an author and publisher whom, I believe, have collected some other people's scientific labors and papers in an exciting and amazing field of neuro investigations, and then collates and regurgitates them in an endless cycle of kindergarten repetition that quickly fills page after page whose intent seems more designed to give some heft to their hardback rather than to reinforce and clarify for the reader. I'm feel Begley possibly erred on the side of her didactic role as a science writer when explaining the complicated and esoteric fields in an attempt to clarify for, and educate, the reading public.

    Ms Begley interestingly goes on at some length with the old attachment theories, especially the nature/nurture ones as the basis for establishing the viability of neuroplasticity, but seems a bit excessive with attributing a direct correlation between the two concepts especially when considering the possibility if the attachment security is influenced biologically in correlation with temperament. As regards the Dalai Lama, he is cast in a trivialized role and makes no serious contribution to the story line. Some few of his monks do participate in some laboratory experiments resulting in uncertain conclusions.

    There are more shortcomings ... but some of the other reviewers pointed them out and I won't repeat them here. There is a great book waiting to be written in this field, but sadly this isn't it.
    ...more info
  • A Look at the Future
    This book traces the history of scientists looking at the plasticity of the brain. Until recently, psychologist, neurologist and psychiatrist all were of the opinion that the brain was hard wired. That is what you were born with is what you went through life with.

    Recent experiments, which are well documented in the book, shows that is simply not the truth. The brain is very plastic. It is capable of being molded. That the way we think has an influence on molding our brain.

    As to the age old question of heredity versus environment, the studies clearly show that our enviironment can change your brains. There were some very interesting experiements were lab mice were interchanged between secure loving mothers and neglectful mothers. The results were startling. The pups were more influenced by environment than DNA.

    The book also traces the history of the Mind Life Conference, a collobrative effort between the Dalai Lama and modern neuroscientist. It is very informative what the Tibetian monks have known, seemingly on an intuitative basis and what western scientist are now learning on a scientific basis.

    This books is not a how to manual in any sense. It does not tell you how to train the mind. Its benefit is in opening the mind to the possibilities that exist in training the mind and therefore changing the brain.

    In one sense it is a glance at the future. We have long known and been concerned with exercising the body. We have spent hours upon hours learning different skills. But by and large we have neglected emotional training. This is where things will be going. There is so much emotional pain in the world and this offers a real insight into the ways to deal with it. All the current practices try to get the emotional unhealthly back to zero. In the future we will be trying to get people to a higher state of happiness. This will be the way to go.

    It is clear that the Tibetian monks are certainly better off emotionally. But this is a a very high price of long years of medition. The person who discovers an effective method for the benefits of medition without the extreme devotion of time will certainly give the world a great gift.
    ...more info
  • Excellent book that binds physiology with psychology
    This is an excellent book that explains the science behind the brain as it is presently understood in a very clear and extremely engaging way. There are multiple aspects that make this book a worthwhile read:

    1) It shows how science is typically done and how scientific progress is made. First some data that are pointing to a different conclusion than the previaling theories emerge and are ignored. Then, over time, scientists driven by theie integrity and perseverance to get to the truth begin accepting the conclusions

    2) The relief that the brain is, in fact, very plastic. A fact intrinsically very uplifting on its own

    3) That the plasticity takes many forms - brains getting damaged leading to assignement of a different region for the function, functional loss leading to re-use of the brain for a different function, gene-expression based on nurture rather than nature

    4) Controlled outcomes that can be had by using this power of plasticity effectively (such as "cures" for dyslexia etc.)

    5) The power of meditation to change the brain especially in areas such as decreasing depression and OCD, improving ones intrinsic positivity and allowing one to be compassionate

    As a student of science and meditation (Practicing with Erhard Vogel, Journey Into Your Center, Second Edition, The Stress Release Response Meditation : 7 Steps to Triumph Over Stress), I understand and buy into the premise that we are all intrinsically equal (and equally endowed in the grand traditions of Nature) and, therefore, must have love and compassion for fellow beings (human or otherwise). Equally, I believe that the basis for feeling good about onself is not some California thing but is, rather, rooted also in this intrinsic equality and divinity. Ever since I have managed to internalize this perspective my life has improved immensely (physiologically and psychologically). I have stopped having headaches, I have stopped biting my nails (a lifelong habbit) and my productivity at work (signal processing for wireless applications) has increased significantly.

    Obviously there is no way I can claim that my perspective change has changed my brain. There are no measured data supporting such a broad claim. Nonetheless, from personal experience I can understand and believe the premise of the book and the underlying positive implications that a plastic brain would entail....more info
  • Fascinating read.
    This book has the most misleading title. The title makes it sound like it is going to be a self help book. Thankfully I knew it was not when I bought it. Had I not, it would have been very frustrated when reading it.

    THe content of the book is very interesting and the author gives you enough background of neurological science to make the studies she discusses make sense in the context of the subject without overwhelming you. Also interesting is the discussion between what western science is confirming and what Buddists believe. Sometimes these ideas converge, and sometimes not, especially in the case of attachment.

    A solid read on a subject I did not expect to enjoy so much!!! ...more info
  • Fast shipping
    Had to read it for a class. Got it in time. Did not like the book but it is what it is. Thanks....more info
  • Great Book
    I felt empowered by this book. It was written clearly, was easy to read. The informtion in it and the bringing together of the science of brain plasticity and the potential for us to grow and heal ourselves is a gift. ...more info
  • Train your mind, change your brain
    This CD has amazing info both scientific & meditative. It is difficult to listen to the descriptions of some of the scientific experiments though. Well worth listening to....more info
  • interesting blend of science and spirituality
    Filled with interesting stories, quotes, and ideas about Buddhism and the evolution of the field of neuroscience, this book is truly a pleasure to read. Indeed, much of what we know about neural plasticity comes from studies of the somatosensory system, including the work of Merzenich, Sur, and others that is described in this book. I also think the reader comes away with the feeling that neuroscience and Buddhism are not mutually exclusive ways of understanding the brain and the mind, but are actually complementary. And, as Francis Collins has pointed out, science and spirtuality in general are not mutually exclusive. Author of Adjust Your Brain: A Practical Theory for Maximizing Mental Health. ...more info
  • Fantastic book.
    It really makes you reconsider how your brain works. Very well thought out book that outlines and gives hard evidence of research. My friend's aunt who had a stroke is reading it and it's helping her tremendously....more info
  • No instructions on How
    I was disappointed as it doesn't tell one how to do it although meditation is highly recommended. Lots of details about research on monkeys which is a bit upsetting for animal lovers....more info
  • Fantastic
    I have not yet finished this book, but already about half way through it is a winner to this special education teacher with a real interest in the brain. ...more info
  • Train Your Brain
    This book was extremely informative. My own interest in the book was sparked by the stroke my father suffered in August of 2005 and his subsequent and amazing recovery. TRAIN YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BRAIN explains the processes in the brain that effect changes such as those my father's brain had to undergo to relearn even the simplest tasks. The first day he had to relearn to swallow, in order to even drink water safely. This was done by repeatedly speaking certain vowels. The scientific studies Begley writes about describe similar, seemingly unrelated exercises that increase ability or circumvent damage in the brain. She also writes in detail about the convocations between the science community and Buddhist community in this area. Buddhist monks were studied in order to ascertain the changes in the brain brought about by intense meditation. These studies seem to prove that we have the power to "think" changes in our own brains. From watching my father, I would have to agree that patterning hard wires changes, but thinking about the ability to perform certain tasks also helps increase the ability to do so. I recommend the book to anyone interested in the brain for whatever reasons....more info
  • This is not 'How to do' but more like research paper.
    Avoid this book if you already believe that you can change your mind and brain. This book is more like a research papers and does not help with anything about 'How to change it'.

    There are better books in the market which can prove that you can change your mind and brain and will also tell you how to do it.



    ...more info
  • Train your mind, Change your brain.
    We heard about this book on the radio and it sounded as if it would be the perfect book for a stroke survivor. There were only 5 pages about the therapy that we thought the whole book was about. ...more info
  • CHANGE YOUR MIND about reading this book
    The alignment between science and Buddhism and the actual conversation about the physiology changes that are a product of the mind (beliefs, expectations)though fascinating, was a small part of an otherwise wordy and not very interesting piece of work. Lots of talk but not much new information. All in all, a disappointment....more info
  • Improve your memory
    Terrific and interesting book. Gives you insight into the way your brain works....more info
  • A Quantum Leap in Human Empowerment
    I am delighted with this book. I am a neuroscientist and I am glad that many more people are going to have the opportunity to learn about a revolution that has the most incredible consequences for all of us.

    If you were in school more than five years ago you were probably taught that the brain is a static structure. That you are born with a certain number of neurons, and that after the age of five you lose 100,000 a day, and if you drink too many martinis it's 200,000 a day. And on top of that, your genes are largely responsible for your behavior. Neither is true. Not only do you continue to create new connections and new neurons throughout life, but your genes simply determine how you tend to respond to the environment.

    Some of this was discovered in animals, but now the whole field of neural plasticity has taken a quantum leap with the application of sophisticated techniques for examining the adult human brain. And what we have learned is that nothing is static and your future is not fixed. The degree of adaptability of the brain is stunning. Some changes occur automatically. With practice a skilled musician or someone who reads Braille will grow appropriate parts of their brains. With the application of attention and mental effort the changes in the brain can be spectacular. Some of the best evidence has come from meditators: hence the interest of Dalai Lama. Buddhists have spent millennia working on techniques for controlling and transforming the mind, and now we have the science to show that their attainments are real.

    The new science of the brain also provides a scientific basis for many forms of psychotherapy, particularly techniques like cognitive behavior and acceptance and commitment therapies, that may in some cases do away with the need for medications.

    We now have so much good quality science, that it is surely only a matter of time before we stop trying to stuff children's minds with facts, but instead teach them techniques of mental control and cultivation that could serve them for a lifetime.

    There are some other implications: if the brain is so fluid, how can we spend decades with a stable sense of self? Is the brain generating mental states, or does all this brain training simply make it possible for the mind to express itself more fully?

    One of the problems with learning and applying something new - like meditation or some other kind of mental training - is the credibility gap: how can this possibly work? Though this is not a "How to" book, being armed with the information will make it much easier to apply what you learn.

    Very highly recommended.


    Richard G. Petty, MD, author of Healing, Meaning and Purpose: The Magical Power of the Emerging Laws of Life...more info
  • Whetting the appetite
    I found this book very interesting. It gave me hope that even at the advanced age of 52 I can still change and improve my brain.

    I was looking for pracitcal things to do. I didn't find them here. I wasn't supposed to. I learned in an e-mail from the author that this book was not intended to be a self-help book. Through the appendix and other references I was pointed in the right direction and found a very good book that is an excellent manual to help me begin meditation.

    The knowledge gained from the first book gave me the understanding of why and how the meditation works and what it is doing for me....more info
  • Worth Reading
    There is now proof the brain can be changed, and the changes possible will in the near future have a major impact on education, raising our children and how we treat strokes, depression and other concerns related to our overall well being.
    The public is only now being introduced to what our neuroscience people have learned.
    You will need to struggle to get through all the scientific information related to neuroscience, but it is will worth the effort.
    This book introduced me to neuroscience and I am now on my third book related to the research and the application of the research to many of the problems we face in terms of our health and learning. ...more info
  • Summary of neuro research intersections with Buddhism
    "Train Your Mind Change Your Brain" is NOT a guide to training your brain. It IS a summary of some of the history of neuroplasticity research, including research conducted with meditation adepts. ("Neuroplasticity" being the term that covers structural and activity changes that can be detected in a brain adapting to injury or new stimuli.)

    There ARE a few things the reader can infer (exercise is apparently VERY beneficial to mental health, meditation techniques can lead to useful changes in overall types of brain activity, etc.). There ARE NOT any specific techniques described in sufficient detail that the reader can adopt to help make the changes. I DO NOT mind reading another book. I DO MIND wild goose chases.

    So, after reading a chapter or two of "gee, here's the good news from the experimental neuro laddies," and "wow, the Dalai Lama is really a lot more hip to neuroscience than I ever realized," the reader will detect there isn't a lot more additional content....more info
  • Do not believe everything you think
    Another good book in a series of mind and body learning techniques that can make a difference in how one perceives another's pathology. The connection is extremely helpful in creating appropriate treatment techniques and interventions for people in recovery....more info
  • Pro animal research
    One thing I admire about this book is that the author was courageous enough to defend animal research at a time where demagogues are halting scientific advances by trying to prevent animal research.
    As the Dalai lama puts it : "I [acknowledge] that I exploit this animal to bring greater benefit to a great number of sentient beings." You must feel the sacrifice, in your heart. It is never made lightly."

    Hatem A Tawfik, MD
    Cairo, Egypt...more info
  • One of the best information sources about the brain
    I am not a psychologist,a psychiatrist, neuropsychiatrist nor a neurologist but I am an enthusiastic reader about psychology, psychiatry, neuropsychology and the brain. I have read many books and listened to CD's on these topics. This CD titled: " Train your Mind change your brain " by Sharon Begley and read by Eliza Foss is one of the best sources among many on this topic that I have read or listened to. It explains many latest scientific experiments carried out on animals and humans regarding the brain and the resulting findings. There has been a paradigm shift in brain science during the last several years. Sharon Begley explains that Buddist Monks and Yogis who meditate had known for a long time what neuroscience is just discovering about the human brain.

    Sharon Begley clearly explains and backs up her explanations by refering to specific scientific experiments regarding to the loss of validity of long time beliefs of neuroscientists about the brain. These are :

    1 - The number of neurons in the brain are not fixed at birth as once thought to be. The brain is not only capable of creating new synaptic ties between neurons, in addition the plasticity of the brain enables it to produce new neurons well into old ages.

    2 - It was once thought that specific regions of the brain that are specialized in specific functions such as seeing for the visual cortex were capable of performing only that function. If that area of the brain is damaged or if the person were to go blind neurons in the visual cortex would decay and no longer function. On the contrary, according to the latest research the brain neurons can asume alternative functions thanks to the plasticity of the brain. The visual cortex in blind people does not die but assumes for example the function of touch and language along with areas of the brain already processing those functions. Other areas of the brain also have the capability of assuming alternative functions should the need arise. A person who has a stroke and can no longer move a limb can be trained to use other undamaged parts of the brain to assume the function of moving the limb. This finding is promising for people who are paralyzed due to a stroke. It was once thought that stroke disables the brain's ability to perform that function for ever. However, according to Sharon Begley latest research on the plasticity of the brain shows otherwise.

    3 - Only upto several years ago it as thought that the brain controls the mind and not the other way around. The Buddist Monks have known for a long time that the mind also has the capacity to physically change the brain. Neuroscience is just coming to admit the mind's power over the brain. This has very favorable implications for psychotherapy, esspecially cognitive therapy whereby people can be trained to think in a certain way and chemically alter the brain to cure for example obssessive compulsive disorder, depression etc. It was once thought that chemical changes in the brain could be achieved only through medication, not by changing thinking patterns. One does not need to be psychopathalogical to benefit from the mind's power over the structure of the brain. Psychologically healthy individuals can also learn to train their minds to achieve beneficial structural changes in the brain and increase their potential. Mindfulness meditation is one of these mental training methods. Sharon Begley does not just claim these, as I wrote above she gives examples of many scientific experiments on humans and animals to support these assertions.

    The voices recorded in most audio books are masculine, I got tired of this even though most of the gentlemen spoke very clearly the shortage of female speakers in audio books was boring for me. At last this audio CD is read by a lady. Eliza Foss speaks very clearly, at an understandable pace and she has a voice that is very pleasant to listen to. She is a very good speaker / loud reader.

    Anybody who is interested in the brain and / or psychology profesionally or as a hobby must carefully listen to this CD.
    ...more info
  • excellent read, still more integration necessary
    a great read in introducing many of the discoveries of neuroscience over the past several decades and past decade in particular. puts down any idea that the brain has no plasticity - even into old age. However, there could be more information on the actual "training" aspect. Most of the book is devoted to proving that the Brain can change in various ways, after describing what 5 neuroscientists described to the Dalai Lama about their recent discoveries. However, there is very little of the other side of the dialogue. I think there could be more information about What Tibetan Buddhism can teach from actual techniques for training the mind, once we know those techniques can change the brain. That said, it is still an excellent book, well written, with clear descriptions of neuroscientific discoveries. ...more info
  • interesting blend of science and spirituality
    Filled with interesting stories, quotes, and ideas about Buddhism and the evolution of the field of neuroscience, this book is truly a pleasure to read. My field of study as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins, the somatosensory areas of the brain that are responsible for our sense of touch, is described in some detail. Indeed, much of what we know about neural plasticity comes from studies of the somatosensory system, including the work of Merzenich, Sur, and others that is described in this book. I also think the reader comes away with the feeling that neuroscience and Buddhism are not mutually exclusive ways of understanding the brain and the mind, but are actually complementary. And, as Francis Collins has pointed out, science and spirtuality in general are not mutually exclusive. Author of Adjust Your Brain: A Practical Theory for Maximizing Mental Health....more info
  • Worh a look
    It's a mildly interesting book, especially when talking about the incremental science to support the ever-adaptive brain. Not the greatest read in this line but informative and easy-to-read...more info
  • Reference book
    Read what I was interested in and then passed the book on to a friend. It really was not what I was looking for....more info
  • believe you can change
    I think most of us believe we can acquire new knowledge and skills throughout life. The hard part is believing we can change habits and emotional responses. That the mind can actually cause physical changes in the brain. This book does a good job of showing that the evidence is accumulating that change can and does happen. However, it is not enough to simply have an insight. The book also relates the actual process of change to the meditative (mindfulness) techniques of Buddhism. I use this information and techniques in my work as a school counselor. It really works! It can make changes in your life as well!...more info
  • 'Focus & Attention."
    This book is based in part on an Oct.2004 meeting bewtween the Dalai Lama & a group of western neurologists & psychologists to discuss the mutability of the human brain. The main positives of this book are that it is meticulously researched, & yet concise.

    But, despite the title it is not a self-help book. One should not expect any life altering experiences. This is a history of neuro-plasticity, a cerebral trait discovered by neuro-scientific experiments some twenty years ago. The books central message is that the brain/mind can change when we want it to. The techniques of mental discipline can be learned, & our negative traits reduced. Here eastern philosophy & meditation meets western neuro-science. When the reader is interested in the latest developments for treating dysfunction & depression, or in the mental deterioration brought by aging this is a good place to start.

    Basically, the adult brain retains much of the plasticity of the developing brain, to change the circuitry that weaves neurons into the networks that allow us to think, feel, dream, remember, & suffer. Some findings show that changes can occur by certain mental activities: like learning a language, or playing a musical instrument. To a degree, the neuro-science does blend with the buddhist belief that our reality can be created by our own thoughts & projections.

    I have learned that meditation can truly help alter ones feelings, especially in dealing with grief & depression. The book explains in detail how various experiments, training methods, & therapies can change the adult brain. It has shown a remarkable ability to cope with unexpected changes, like blindness, recovering from a stroke, etc. The crucial changes in the brain can willfully overcome neural problems like dyslexia, etc by changing its own circuitry.

    However, the book does not actually answer all of the questions it poses. I was also a bit taken back that the Dalai Lama would condone animal testing? His statment that the larger human community would benefit from the experiments felt expedient to me. Still, this is a four star book for all the data it contains. ...more info
  • Surprising science: new about neuroplasticity.
    For nearly a century, scientific dogma held that the brain is immutable, fixed by genes and early upbringing. Wall Street Journal science writer Sharon Begley recently visited the frontiers of neuroscience and returned with a news flash: The dogma is wrong. Researchers have discovered that the brain remains plastic, lifelong. This creates new frontiers: Stroke victims can rewire their brains using challenging exercises; deaf people can repurpose dormant auditory cortexes for other tasks; and blind people can begin to "see" patterns of Braille dots using a seemingly dead visual cortex. Suspecting that they were on to a general pattern, researchers soon looked for similar changes in "normal" brains. Working repetitively on your golf swing, playing the piano or learning a language, they found, also change your brain in lasting, important ways, as does practicing compassion toward others. Begley arrives with heavyweight friends: a foreword by the Dalai Lama and a preface by Daniel Goleman of Emotional Intelligence. If you want to understand how the brain keeps working, and how to make yours do more of what you want it to, we think you should start here. Your brain will thank you. ...more info
  • Change your Life
    Reading this book will change your life by providing scientific proof that humans can change their brains through meditation. The book is readily accessible to the non-scientific/technical reader and the sections involving the Dalai Lama are fascinating. Those interested in neuroscience, meditation, improving one's quality of life, or in the mysteries of the brain will enjoy this book. Educators and parents will also will find this book as inspiration because it suggests a radical new approach to educating and developing young minds. ...more info
  • Understanding our brain
    Personal renewal through understanding how the brain works is a subject I am very interested in. This book gets you into the science behind this most promising area of new understanding. It is a subject we all need to know more about - science has learned so much about it in the last 15 years - and this book is a very good place to begin your study of this most important developing area of knowledge....more info
  • stunning
    Train your Mind, Change your Brain is a fascinating look at new discoveries in neuroplasticity and their relation to Buddhist practice. Probably the most salient thing with which I came away from this book is the sense of man's self-determinacy and ability to improve himself. In the age-old debate between heredity and environment, the book highlights new discoveries weighing in heavily on the side of environment. Victor Frankl would be proud.

    While the information given is often in relation specifically to Buddhist meditation practice, there is very little material here that is not directly applicable to the contemplative tradition of any religion. For that matter, most of what is presented here does not posit religious beliefs at all - for instance, how exploitation of neuroplasticity can correct dyslexia, help people recover use of paralyzed limbs after strokes, etc.; and how continued research into neuroplasticity may help reverse the mental/neural effects of aging.

    Begley writes in a very accessible way - the book was quite readable even for a layman like me. It does help to have a basic knowledge of the principles of Buddhism before starting with this book - I'd recommend reading The Art of Happiness by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler as background....more info