Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

 
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Did you know that in a landmark study, aerobic exercise was shown to be as effective as antidepressants? That women who exercise, lower their chances of developing dementia by 50 percent? That a revolutionary fitness program helped put one U.S. school district of 19,000 kids first in the world in science? That, in fact, exercise sparks new brain-cell growth? The evidence is incontrovertible: aerobic exercise physically transforms our brains for peak performance.

In Spark, John J. Ratey, MD, takes the listener on a fascinating journey through the mind-body connection, presenting startling new research to prove that exercise is truly the best defense against everything from mood disorders to ADHD to addiction to menopause to Alzheimer's. He explains that the brain works just as muscles do-growing with use, withering with inactivity-and shows why getting your heart and lungs pumping can mean the difference between a calm, focused mind and a harried, inattentive self.

Filled with cutting-edge science and amazing case studies, Spark is the first audio book to explore the connection between exercise and the brain. And with a simple, targeted regimen to get the listener's body moving and his mind in peak condition, it will forever change the way he thinks about his morning run-and, for that matter, the way he thinks.

Customer Reviews:

  • The Science of Common Sense
    We all know exercise is good for you, but all too often we put that knowledge in the back of our minds and forget it. Dr. Ratey makes a very compelling argument in "Spark" why exercise is so important in treating anxiety, depression, ADHD, addiction, etc. and gives you the scientific studies to back it up. It's an entertaining, yet informative narrative full of case studies of his actual patients. Highly recommended for anyone looking for an alternative to our pill-popping culture....more info
  • Spark Improvements in Your Life!
    Did you know that physical exercise builds and conditions your brain? Do you think of exercise as something you should do? What if you were inspired to exercise? You might be, after reading Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, a book which thoroughly explains the scientific connections between exercise and brain functions.

    The "spark" in the title refers to the fact that exercise sparks physical changes that encourage brain cell connections, strengthening the cellular machinery of learning. For example, at a public school in Chicago, students schedule their most difficult subject immediately after physical education class, because of the beneficial effects of exercise on learning. Using scientific studies, statistics from public schools, and evidence from the author's psychiatric practice, Spark explains how exercise improves brain function in these areas: cognition, stress, anxiety, depression, ADHD, addiction, women's health, and aging. This book can be a help for parents seeking remedies other than medication for any of these issues.

    This is not a self-help book filled with fluff and feel-good platitudes. You can use the principles in this book to help your children be better prepared for learning with improved mood, focus, and motivation. Adult brains are also flexible, and parents, as we model lifelong learning, can also strengthen our brains with these same principles.
    ...more info
  • Please read the fine print with a1books!
    The book is very good, however the company I ordered it from"a1books" is awfull! The company kept pushing back the delivery date, I finally recieved the book almost a month later. After writing a letter to ask for my money back they told me to read there return policy, well it says they could have actually taken another 30 days to deliver the book without having to pay total recompensation ie; price paid plus delivery plus paying for you to deliver it back to them. Totally unaccetpable! Never again! Be carefull with a1books...more info
  • Exercise is the key to mental health and happiness!
    This book has confirmed a lot of intuitive judgment I have had over my career as a pharmacist, dispensing a variety of anti-depressants and mood stabilizer medications. Dr. Ratey clearly shows how people who have incorporated a regular exercise program into their life have little need for such medications - their brain and body is producing all the right substances in all the right proportions, naturally. This book should be required for all professional educators, all phys. ed. teachers and 100% of everyone involved in student athletics, all principals and school administrators, and all parents. That's not hype - this book will become the benchmark that changes how America looks at education & exercise, and how important it is for optimal brain functioning. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, addictive disorders, ADHD, this book can be your pathway for getting healthy and quite possibly off of medications all together. I ordered another copy to give to my son's school teachers. ...more info
  • Great information, very inspiring
    This was a fascinating read and really makes you understand the impact of exercise on the brain, learning, depression, ADD, etc....more info
  • as if....
    we need yet another reason to exercise... As the Director of Lifelong Fitness Alliance, an organization that has been advocating physical activity for 29 years, I'm well aware of the benefits of exercise. Yet this inspirational book, written in a lively style and loaded with entertaining and provocative case studies, scientific evidence and practical information, not only provides another great reason to incorporate physical activity into your life. It also provides an individualized formula to make your exercise routine have an impact on your brain, improving function and alleviating the negative effects of depression, anxiety, stress and hormonal fluctuation among others. I will be purchasing this book for both my college-aged children, and I would recommend it to anyone who has a reason to sharpen their mental capacity. ...more info
  • A Must Read!!! Run (or walk) and Get This Book!
    Dr. John Ratey has created an invaluable and timely work that helps shed light on what exercise can do to enhance the quality and longevity of our lives. Spark is a tremendous resource for clinicians and non clinicians alike. Whether you are an olympic athlete or life long couch potato this book is definitely for you!

    Dr. Ratey provides us with the latest clinical information and scientific research being done worldwide to better understand the impact of exercise on our bodies and minds. He shares personal experiences and patient accounts which make this book not just informative but touching, funny and relatable as well.

    As a youngster who spent most of the time in the nurses office during gym class, I want to thank Dr. Ratey for writing this book and helping me learn about and appreciate my body and what I can do on a daily basis to try and reach my full potential.

    Thanks so much, its a must read!!!
    Ali L.
    Boston, MA...more info
  • Inspirational!
    I had the good fortune to hear Dr. John Ratey lecture on his new book Spark. I got a copy right away. I am a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and know the benefits of exercize; now we have some solid proof. Us health providers have to inspire people to move. As far as I'm concerned activity is the best way to mental health. Anyway John Ratey has inspired me and I thank him for this valid research and commitment to exercize as a way to good health. Any t-shirts available yet?...I dig that running stick figure.


    Claudine Grange, APRN
    Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
    Arundel, Maine
    ...more info
  • just what the doctor ordered !
    Excellent ! Dr.J.Ratey's book lays out the "state of the science" regarding exercise and brain function,in a clear,lucid,and engaging way.We have evolved to be active,and need to,literally,"move" our minds.
    I'm a clinical psychiatrist,and I'm recommending this book to all my patients !(and friends,family,and colleagues).
    A.B.Lopez,M.D.

    ...more info
  • SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
    Finally, a solution to the culture-wide epidemic of stress and learning problems that is 100% healthy, involves no medication and is completely free and accessible to everyone.

    So many of us, whether parent or professional, look with alarm at the current state of our nation's youth in regard to rising obesity, decreased emphasis on outdoor play, and over-use of "screen time" on computers, video games and television. As a clinician who has worked with children for 35 years, I am concerned about the marked increased in the frequency of learning problems, attention deficits, anxiety, depression, lagging social thinking skills, and explosive behaviors.

    Dr. Ratey provides a sound explanation of how unhealthy diet and
    lack of movement impairs memory and learning. He goes on to
    show how exercise improves attention, motivation, mood, and memory while decreasing anxiety, impulsivity and distractibility. Dr. Ratey gives us hope for a future with less dependence on medicating our children and more emphasis on supporting today's youth with the "food" they need to grow into healthier, more balanced young adults. SPARK is a must read for all!

    Barbara Baum Freethy, M.Ed.
    Touchstone Psychotherapy Assc.
    Portland, Maine
    ...more info
  • Sloppy fact checking lowers credibility
    Facts that could easily be checked via google are incorrect, for instance, New Trier High School is not in Evanston as the author states. He also botches most of the details of N.T.'s physical education program. It's hard to accept his big theories, when he has the small details wrong. He also states that a "radiation study" wasn't published because the results weren't as expected. Huh? Research is rejected by peer-reviewed journals because the study is poorly constructed or flawed, but not because of new or different results. That's what scientists and publications are looking for!

    The basic premise has allure -- exercise and all will be better -- but the execution and writing need polishing....more info
  • Disappointing!
    "Spark" consists of hundreds of pages of an overview of brain chemistry, anecdotal accounts of how individuals improved their lives through exercise, and results from pertinent experiments - all aimed at convincing readers that most anything is possible if they exercise more.

    The only problem is that science is not that clear, especially science involving educational achievement. This is because potential factors influencing education achievement (eg. exercise) are normally confounded with genetic and home environment factors. As a result, drawing conclusions in this area usually requires numerous replications and large numbers of participants.

    The uniformity of results supporting Ratey's thesis makes one suspect that he cherry-picked that data available, making the entire book suspect.

    Personally, I'd guess that exercise does help learning - it's just that the book doesn't provide a credible case. And I was impressed with the story of several P.E. teachers who had thoughtfully improved the aerobic condition of their students, and how heart monitors allowed them to identify those making a good effort (though their comparative results may not show it)....more info
  • I Love This Book
    After reading this book at the request of my coach Caroline Adams Miller, I felt compelled to reinvent myself into someone who loves to exercise. I now rarely miss a workout and am a much happier person....more info
  • Great book
    I really liked this book because it helped me to see the science between the brain and exercise. Just another great reason to keep up your heart rate. I enjoyed this book a lot and look forward to any further books by Mr. Ratey. ...more info
  • Deep But Interesting
    This book was a bit on the challenging side to comprehend (for me), but I liked it. NOTE: I'm just personally not all that familiar on a daily basis with terms (and understanding) of hypothalamus, pituitary, hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, etc. These terms and others were used frequently which stilted my ease-of-comprehension as I was reading. So be aware that this book may not be a "quick" read.

    In the book's defense, I have to admit that I have probably become over-conditioned to today's standards of writing to the general population's 8th grade level.

    I do plan to go back and read it again in the near future, because I recognize there are valuable points; i.e., strong reasons, to use as ammunition (good ammunition) to get one's self motivated to exercise. TIP: When I do go back to read it, I will go to the glossary first to review the definitions; I think that will help tremendously....more info
  • Disappointing and Irritating
    Whatever your problem is, exercise will very likely solve it. Whatever your dream is -- living longer, more energy, better mood, and so on -- exercise will make it come true. There. Now you've read the book.

    Well, you haven't quite read it... You will have missed hundreds of pages of dull and mostly irrelevant discussions of brain anatomy, neurotransmitters, and stress physiology. If you sometimes read about science, mood, stress, and so on, you've seen it all before.

    I gave this book two stars instead of one. I considered one. If you are thinking about exercising more, it's probably a good idea. This book might inspire you to get off the sofa and head to the gym. It deserves a little credit for that.

    The truth is, exercise might improve your mood, increase your intelligence, improve your educational success, cure your ADHD, or solve your addiction problem... Or, it might not. There's one way to find out, which is to try it. Exercise a lot, and stick with the program long enough to find out. Good luck with it.

    Recent research does seem to indicate that exercise can improve or cure depression, in some cases, and maybe help solve other problems, too. Don't get too excited, though. Most of this research consists of small studies, rat studies, test tube studies and poorly controlled studies. The "revolution" in exercise research has not yet occurred.

    The authors have never seen an exercise study they didn't like. They are enthusiasts and true believers. Drop a nickel in the slot -- what comes out? Big surprise! Exercise! Are there contrary studies? Do some people fail to benefit from exercise, and, if so, why? Are some methods more effective than exercise? Are some exercise studies so flawed that they should be disregarded? You'll never find out from reading this book.

    Spark is a hodgepodge of anecdotes, case studies from the author's clinical experience, summaries of scientific studies, commentary from the author and useless physiology lessons that almost every reader will skim or skip. It has no literary coherence, no theoretical or scientific coherence.

    Desperate to avoid obesity and diabetes, wishing to live longer, hoping to be more attractive, many people are exercising regularly. That's probably wise. Most people aren't exercising at all. It's probably better to exercise. That's about all you're going to learn from this book...more info
  • Scientific Proof to back up our anecdotal observations
    I was looking for information to help children with Learning Disabilities. This book provides scientific and medical evidence of the benefits of exercise to reduce stress and improve learning abilities as well as to improve self-confidence and reduce anxiety. All information is easy to read and applicable to average people. Every school teacher, phys-ed teacher, parent and adult should read this book. John J. Ratey, MD is THE EXPERT in this field. Now, I will head over to the treadmill to fire up my brain......more info
  • Why putting you and your fitness first is good for everyone - family, job and friends
    This is an exceptional book on why exercise should be the cornerstone of your life.

    The only problem is it may be a little "stiff" for the less scientifically inclined. I have a Masters degree in Engineering Physics and I had to step back in key paragraphs to re-read it. Got it, but it sometimes took patience. On the other hand, it also may be a testament to the depth of this book. It would have been nice if there could have been more tables, charts and figures to help examine the material. Instead of text only to describe biochemical mechanism within the body, there should be accompanying drawings. If there were, then it would have been a 5 out 5.

    What's astounding about this book is that he gives the reader all the latest, myth busting research right up to the end of 2007. All his evidence will have you no longer saying to your kids "Did you finish your homework, then you can go out to play" but rather "Did you finish your playing outdoors, then you can do your homework". Suffice it to say we were never built to sit at a desk. We haven't changed much since the days of tracking down prey with combinations of walking, jogging and sprinting to make the kill. Yet, most people burn less than 50% of the calories that our ancestors did. This is compounded by our lack of focus on fitness coupled to a sedimentary work life. And I think that is the premise of the book and may be the root cause of all the afflictions he goes on to talk about: kid's poor scores in school, adult and child obesity, dementia, parkinson disease and depression to name a few. He also gives the latest research insights for fitness with number of days, hours and intensity levels that are best. Unfortuately, he doesn't go into details of the how to run, weightlift etc. That I think is for another book....more info
  • Exercise, the most important thing your life is missing
    Spark explains the burgeoning research into how exercise is one of the key ingredients missing in the modern Western lifestyle. The author uses numerous anecdotal, statistical and research based examples to make a compelling case for improving quality of life during any phase by simply moving.

    Depressed? Exercise! Injured? Exercise! Obese? Exercise.

    Spark is an important book because the idea that you might just be able to replace your Lexapro prescription with an hour of Dance Dance Revolution per day is hugely important. The idea that your brain chemistry and your ability to feel good is largely based on how much you move is hugely important.

    I happened to find Spark about a year into a rejuvenation of my own health through exercise so let me add my own anecdotal evidence - exercise can and did allow me to get through depression, panic attacks and has helped me with what is probably a mild case of ADD or ADHD - conditions I once scoffed at as made up.

    Spark is a convincing tome. If it cannot get you to stop popping pills and start exercising ever day, nothing will. I did not give Spark five stars because some of the explanations of how brain chemistry works are a little complex for the general reading public....more info
  • AAAAAA++++
    Outstanding service. Got the item I ordered in a short amount of time, and it is exactly as described. Thanks!!!...more info
  • Excellent, motivating book...
    Teaches you about brain chemistry and biology, and how it can be positively affected by exercise. You will never think of exercise as something to do merely for physical appearance or even physical health. It can help you focus, be more productive, and beat depression or depression-like symptoms. The author has the science to back up the claims and organizes the book in such a way that it is easy to follow and learn. I'm hoping that it will lead me -- as an intellectual person -- to exercise more upon an intellectual understanding as to the wide-range positive effects it has. I hope to be a poster child for it, and will let you know more about how it works, beyond the intellectual level......more info
  • Spark hits the mark!
    SPARK is a must read book! Dr. Ratey does an amazing job of relating case study after case study in such an interesting and easy manner. This is so important for people of all ages to read to understand the implications exercise has on everything from ADHD to Alzheimer's Disease! As a personal trainer and advocate for movement in the classroom, I feel this book hits it right on the mark, without being pushy. ...more info
  • Exercise requires repetition but not the book.
    The content is interest and important, but he simply repeats himself too much. This is a 250 page book with 75 pages of substance....more info
  • Spark
    Great Book - Tells the average Joe six pack how to improve his life, mind and Body through exercise . Use your bodies Natural drugs to feel better- and there are Legal
    ...more info
  • This book could change your life
    John Ratey is well known for his groundbreaking work on Attention Deficit Disorder. He coauthored the book, "Driven to Distraction" with Ed Hallowell. His newest book is "Spark- The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain." I found Spark a fascinating read. Ratey cites dozens of studies that span decades and continents. All point to the same conclusion: exercise, and aerobic exercise in particular, boosts the release of important neurotransmitters and enhances cognitive function. For people with ADD or ADHD, this boost can be life changing. Ratey is not prescribing exercise as the "cure" for attention issues, but he does offer specific examples of people who have used exercise to combat the negative effects of stress and attention problems. Many were able to reduce or eliminate ADD medications, though he clearly states that for some people, a combination treatment of both medication and structured exercise may be best.

    Ratey talks at length about the success of a special gym program instituted in Naperville, Illinois. The emphasis is on personal fitness. Students in this area have very strong tests scores and a very low rate of childhood obesity. In other places around the country that have implemented a similar program, standardized scores have risen dramatically. These case studies are fascinating.

    "Spark" has inspired me to increase my own exercise routine, and also to institute morning recess at home each day. My homeschooled kids are absolutely loving it and we're finding the morning transitions go much more smoothly when we all look forward to getting outside and moving our bodies! We've been running laps on the driveway (five times back and forth to the mailbox is about a mile), doing calisthenics, playing four square, jump rope, and kickball. My three year old has her own method of jumping jacks that is just hilarious to watch. My daughter who has the hyperactive sort of attention deficit enjoys sprinting before school, and appears to have less trouble focusing after she has been active. I think my next investment will be a basketball hoop!

    Everyone knows that exercise is good for the body, but it is high time that we recognize how good it is for the mind. For a child who has attention issues, a solid workout each morning may make a real difference. I'd be skeptical of a drug that claimed to, "supercharge your mental circuits to beat stress, sharpen your thinking, lift your mood, boost your memory, and much more" , but these are very real affects that regular exercise can produce. Not all exercise is equally effective in fighting symptoms of ADD. Read this book to find out how to implement a regimen that will work for you or your children.
    ...more info
  • Spark - It's time to change ths world!
    Dr. Ratey always has the ability to bring science and practical wisdom together into big ah-ha moments. (I loved his book "Shadow Syndromes.") Funny, and sad, how we have gotten so far from what our bodies were designed to do - move, exercise, dance, swim, skate, walk, run, skip, play, learn and practice a skill or sport.

    Exercise is that crucial missing piece that we all think is something we have no time for in our schedule, today, as if it were a luxury. But Ratey explains exactly why we have to discover that time. Exercise, or the lack of it, affects success in school, at work and in life, and contributes to an overall sense of satisfaction and pleasure. It's not just about the body. It's about the brain.

    We need exercise to activate those dopamine neurons in the reward center of the brain. (P.142) The fact that we have a reward area in the brain, is absolutely fascinating to me. Working with ADHD adults, I have had the opportunity to observe the proof of exactly what this book explores. Those adults who exercise, who find new ways to MOVE and do so in a ways that appeal to them - find more contentment, satisfaction and success.

    "Spark" certainly creates a mandate for what is lacking in our educational system and in our country's future. If we don't truly get the role that exercise plays, if we can't see the simple science of it all, where are we headed? You know, there is a lot of hope in this book, if only we could share it with all those who design programs for children.

    So, get up and move!

    Linda Anderson, MA, Master Coach
    Specializing in ADHD Adults

    ...more info
  • very inspirational
    Really great information. Convinced the biggest exercise procrastinator on earth to buy a heart monitor and hit the track!...more info
  • And then what?
    Executive Summary -- Exercise will help improve mental function. Ratey uses nine chapters to describe the physical and chemical processes that happen in the brain for various mental conditions. He explaines that exercise will stimulate the growth of stem cells that can, in turn, become brain cells. In one of these chapters, he mentions that exercise involving skills such as tennis will work better than just physical activity (running). Also mentioned once is that ten minutes of a complex physical activity before a learning session (I take this to be something like yoga, or Tai Chi.) will enhance the learning process.
    In chapter 10, the money chapter on physical activity, he suggestes getting into shape perhaps by walking first, and then jogging, and possibly then running as someone gets stronger, and to continue to challenge yourself physically. He says that reistance training is an unknown in terms of activaiting the brain to learn as no research has been done in this area. He does not appear to mention anything about using the combination of exercise and skills activity.
    I'll get around to increasing my physical activity, but I'm still not sure what to do.

    P.S. Unless you're interested in neurochemistry and neurophysilogy, this is the book.
    ...more info
  • Grab your gym bag
    Finally, someone attempts to describe what's going on in the brain that creates mental/emotional difficulties, and then describes how movement can help remedy these problems. I come from a family of depressive, overanxious, Alzheimer's-prone people with ischemic disease. The first message I picked up is, "It's not your fault. It's the way your brain works (or doesn't work) that causes the depression and anxiety." The second message I got was that it's never too late to start exercising to alleviate or delay these issues. I read the book in a day, started walking the next morning and have followed through every morning since. I have to say, I feel sharper, my blood pressure has gone down and I've even dropped a little weight. ...more info
  • The interdependence of mental, emotional, and physical health

    With Eric Hagerman, John Ratey has written a book in which he explains -- in layman's terms (to the extent that is possible) -- how physical exercise can "supercharge [provide a `spark' to] mental circuits to avoid or overcome stress, sharpen thinking, lift mood, increase memory...and much more." Obviously, these are all highly desirable results to achieve. Alas, many children as well as adults are out of (physical) shape, do not eat properly, and continue under severe stress to meet their obligations. The implications of what Ratey explains and recommends should be of special interest to young adults, their parents, school administrators, teachers, and coaches as well as to business executives who are responsible for the performance of those whom they supervise.

    Here are some of the questions to which he responds:

    What are some of the most common misconceptions about "the brain-body connection"?

    What in fact is true?

    How can aerobic exercise physically remodel our brains for peak performance?

    Why is physical exercise the best defense against addiction, aggression, ADD, menopause, and even Alzheimer's?

    What are the most significant revelations of a fitness program sponsored by the Naperville (IL) public school district in which more than 19,000 children participated?

    Why should such a program (with necessary modifications) be made available to other school children?

    In the absence of such a program, what can parents do to increase their children's physical exercise? What sacrifices (if any) must be made to accomplish that?

    At a minimum, how frequently should we exercise...and for how long?

    What are the benefits to be gained even from minimal exercise?

    All of Ratey's observations and recommendations are research-driven, supplemented by his own personal experiences. He seems to be on a mission (one that is commendable) to do everything he possibly can to broaden and deepen public awareness of the consequences of obesity, lethargy, and indolence but also, more to the point, to provide reassurance that even a modest increase in physical exercise can have substantial benefits, not only in terms of improved health but also increased achievement and consequent pride in the classroom as well as in the workplace...indeed in every realm of human life.

    Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Ratey's A User's Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain and John Medina's Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School (Book & DVD). It is worth noting that everything that Ratey recommends is consistent with the various "rules" that Medina identifies and discusses, notably #1 ("Exercise boosts brain power"), #7 ("Sleep well, think well"), #8 ("Stressed brains don't learn the same way"), #9 ("Stimulate more of the senses"), and #12 ("We are all natural explorers"). How simple it seems: Eat right and get lots of exercise and sufficient rest. If you do, you will reduce stress and nourish your curiosity. To many of us, the obvious is often invisible until we are enlightened by others such as John Ratey and John Medina....more info
  • disappointing
    The first chapter was exciting but it was downhill from there. I agree with the reviewer who said it would make a good magazine article. Exercise is good for the brain - said over and over - became less and less interesting as the book went on....more info
  • An Energizing Read ... now for my running shoes
    I knew next to nothing about the brain's physiology and less about the physiology's relationship to the rest of the body. While I remain no expert in the realm of neuroscience, I found `Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain' a captivating read. For the novice - meaning me - I learned something about the value of exercise in maintaining, on occasion improving, the health of the brain. Ratey approaches, and grows, his analysis by topic (learning, stress, anxiety, ... , aging). It all made sense. As a migraine sufferer I'd liked to have seen something on migraines and exercise. I guess it's up to me to put on my running shoes and see what happens!...more info
  • The right mix of science and practical information
    This is a brief for exercise as an element of brain fitness. The author is a Harvard Medical School Professor. There is a lot of science here --any more and I would have been lost. The idea is simply this --we are designed to be moving animals. Our brains are controlled by chemicals which must be kept in balance and cells which must be replensished and grow. Vigorous, regular exercise, like a pill we take every morning but wihtout the side effects, helps manage all of this complexity. We don't know exactly how this works but it works and is a prescription to ward off stress, depression, anxiety, dementia and other like afflictions which all have biochemical roots. In the same way that exercise benefits the heart, Dr. Raney persuasively argues it benefits the organ of the brain. My advice--read the book, go out and get a heart monitor and make vigorous exercise a standard part of your day and life. ...more info
  • Buy This Before It Is Out of Print!
    Run, don't walk, to get this book. This should be required reading for every Doctor and School Teacher. This book will help me preserve many years of cognitive ability that I was surely destined to lose before I read it and started following Dr. Ratey's recommendations.

    I found this book easy to read, extremely informative and highly motivating. The few places where I seemed to get bogged down in the science were quickly replaced by huge chunks of information that really inspired me to do the simplest of things that will protect and improve my mental stability. The information in this book really is a "no brainer!"

    Buy it. Read it. Do it and you will be far ahead of almost anyone else in strengthening and preserving your mental health for the rest of your life!

    To die is inevitable. However, I think this, along with legitimate brain training like "The Brain Fitness Program Software" that I just bought ($395 from PositScience) is a huge part of the key to avoiding dementia and Alzheimer's so that my brain isn't useless before my body wears out.
    ...more info
  • How reading this book changed my behavior
    After reading SPARK, I bought a heart monitor and started a daily vigorous exercise program. Haven't missed a day yet, three weeks later. We sent copies to all of the teachers in the family, to encourage them to talk up the school in chapter 1 and how much the students there have progressed academically since the school switched to tailored exercise programs for students. I wanted to read this book aloud to everyone on my plane! ...more info