Life in the Fast Brain: Keeping Up with Gifted Minds by Karen L. J. Isaacson | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Life in the Fast Brain: Keeping up with Gifted Minds

Life in the Fast Brain: Keeping up with Gifted Minds

by Karen L. J. Isaacson

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As a sequel to the delightfully entertaining and award-winning Raisin' Brains: Surviving My Smart Family, this new book will keep the laughs coming! The same characters are back, five years older, and are living proof that the journey of raising gifted children continues to be full of surprises. Enjoy more comical stories of the things that gifted kids do and say, and


As a sequel to the delightfully entertaining and award-winning Raisin' Brains: Surviving My Smart Family, this new book will keep the laughs coming! The same characters are back, five years older, and are living proof that the journey of raising gifted children continues to be full of surprises. Enjoy more comical stories of the things that gifted kids do and say, and discover the wit and wonder of this mother of five all over again!

Editorial Reviews

All About Kids Magazine
As a mom of five, the author has plenty of hands-on experience. This book is full of humor and insight about dealing with gifted minds. More of a journal than a parenting book, it's a very entertaining read. She gently reminds us to always look on the bright side when dealing with your kids, even if they did spend all weekend digging a 'pond' in the's OK. Really.

Lively Times Magazine
Karen Isaacson offers a delightful sequel to Raisin' Brains: Surviving My Smart Family that's brimming with amusing anecdotes and armed with coping strategies for living with a family whose gray matter processes thoughts and ideas 'in the fast lane.'
Nashville Parent Magazine
Author Isaacson shares anecdotes families can relate to. Her recommendations for handling life's curveballs thrown by gifted children, though, is the point of the book. She equips readers with handy ammo to curb even the feistiest of family fiascos, all the while encouraging readers to 'look on the bright side.' A light-hearted read for parents of gifted kids.

Product Details

Great Potential Press, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1- On the Bright Side

A person with a fast brain-whether that brain is creative, or extra sensitive, or extra intellectually intense-needs coping skills to handle feelings of disappointment, failure, or inability to share his or her passion with others.

Everyone needs coping skills. No matter who you are or what you do, life has a way of coming at you with unexpected sucker punches. Things happen. If you factor in family members or work colleagues, including those who have a good dose of divergent thinking, intense passion, perfectionism, asynchronous development, and sensitivity--all common traits of people with runaway brains--you have quite a mix to cope with! You have to be on your toes. You have to be in your own fast brain.

As a mother of five children, I have developed some good coping skills. I have also developed some highly creative coping skills. Whether I'm hunting down the source of an unidentified water-operated contraption-in-progress that is about to take over the bathroom sink area, or stopping a child's "Why?" in it's tracks, I have learned to keep a good supply of coping tools handy.

While there isn't anything terribly original about looking at the bright side, I have found it to be one of my best sanity savers. It beats counting backwards from 10 and taking deep breaths. It even beats a big bowl of ice cream, though I must admit I do indulge in a little comfort food now and then, when optimism alone isn't enough to do the trick. It's important not to rely too heavily on just one technique for dealing with difficulty; you could develop immunities. But I am willing to test the immunity theory if it has to do with ice cream.

By now, you may be picturing me weighing in at 500 pounds and living in La La Land, blissfully ignoring both the bathroom scale and problems that spring up like dandelions. But no, it doesn't work that way. Not with the kind of coping skills I'm referring to.

For coping with any kind of stress, there are a lot of opportunities available-you know, things like golfing, jogging, therapeutic advice, hitting a punching bag, shopping, and really lo-o-ong vacations. Everyone has a few favorites. I'm sure you have yours.

But for an easy, reliable, you-can-always-count-on-it recipe for coping, my favorite strategy is looking on the bright side, or the lighter side. I have lots of other strategies, which I will talk about in later chapters, but looking at the bright side comes first. Why? Because it gives me hope. Look at that. "Hope" rhymes with "cope." Not that that has anything to do with anything, but hey, it's a cool coincidence.

When you're a fast brain yourself, it's more important than ever to be able to look on the bright side of things and to envision the positive. It may not change the situation, but it puts your mind in a less stressful position and enables you to think more clearly, or to at least enjoy what there is to enjoy without having all of the sunshine blocked out by the clouds.

Recently, on a Monday morning, when I was volunteering at our elementary school, a sixth-grade teacher walked into the faculty lounge to get some coffee. He looked a little frazzled. "I must be losing my marbles," he said, "I just finished teaching an English lesson, and after I finished, my students told me I gave that same lesson last Friday."

"Wow," I thought. But then, "Oh, well," my coping brain said out loud, without much advance thinking. "Look at it this way: The good news is that at least they were paying attention on Friday."

His face lit up. "You know what? You're right!" He seemed much happier with that thought.

I must say that kind of positive spin doesn't always work. The other day I was speaking with a friend who had gone away for the weekend with her husband and returned home only to find that her teenage son had hosted a party at their home-a party with all of the traditional teenage accompaniments, like alcohol and police cars. My friend was devastated. When someone asked her if her house was trashed, she said, "Oh no. He made sure he put all of the valuable and breakable stuff away."

I jumped in with, "Well, the good news is that he was responsible enough to do that."

She gave me one of those looks that could kill. Apparently, this wasn't the right time or place for looking at the bright side. So keep that in mind.

I don't think that my friend was emotionally ready for the "hope" stage. Her mind was still reeling from shock and worry. Sometimes we have to work through things a bit before we can jump into the hope business. However, the sixth-grade teacher was another story. When he realized that his class was actually listening, he had hope, because that meant all he had to do was get it together himself. He was having a bad day. It was temporary.

Hope is a magical thing. It keeps you going when nothing else will. It's the only thing that gives the impossible a shot at life. It fuels our dreams...

What People are saying about this

Jann H. Leppien
"Isaacson has a keen eye for our common experiences with gifted children and a real knack for throwing it into touching relief and hopefulness. We can all relate and laugh because we see ourselves and relate both to the descriptions and the challenges that come with raisin' and livin' with smart brains."--(Jann H. Leppien, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Education, University of Great Falls, Co-Director of Edufest, Summer Institute for Enrichment, Teaching, and Learning)
Jackie Drummer
"Living with gifted children can be one of the most exciting, and one of the most difficult challenges set before parents. In her book, Life in the Fast Brain, Karen Isaacson shares the touching, humorous, awesome, awful, poignant, and thought-provoking incidents that are common to families that contain gifted children and adults. Ms. Isaacson relates tales from extended family and friends, as well as descriptive stories from her own family that make the reader say, 'Oh, that reminds me of...or oh, I know only too well what that feels like.' When read as a book that is both engagingly funny, and deadly serious in its overall message, Life in the Fast Brain stands out as a winner. I highly recommend it for parents of gifted children, and for 'former gifted children,' now grown!"--(Jackie Drummer, President, Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted)
Paula J. Hillmann
"This is a must for anyone who parents or teaches or is a highly creative learner - Isaacson's insights on the mysterious workings of the creative brain are wonderfully described. Her stories made me laugh, made me cry, and make me grateful that there is still a world of support and respect for creative people of all ages who must have opportunities to play! I agree that we need people like Rupert to create and save the 'reald.'"--(Paula J. Hillmann, Ph.D., Educational Psychologist and Executive Director, Advanced Learning Resources, LTD, Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Arlene DeVries
"A mother of five recommends hope, humor, and looking on the bright side in a family where she says 'curiosity and creativity run loose.' Delightful real life scenarios told with wit and insight. If you experience 'life in the fast brain' at your house, this book is for you!"--(Arlene DeVries, M.S.E., Author of Gifted Parent Groups: The SENG Model, Gifted/Talented Consultant, Des Moines, Iowa)
Lorel Shea
"There's something sure to make you smile, wince in sympathy, or nod in agreement on virtually every page. Gifted kids can be very challenging to raise, and Karen Isaacson encourages us to stop taking everything too seriously. Laughter is great medicine, and her humor is a great way to ease the burden of coping with gifted kids who make nearly every experience extraordinary."--(Lorel Shea, BellaOnline's Gifted Education Editor)
Wendy Skinner
"She's done it again--but even better! Karen Isaacson has topped Raisin' Brains: Surviving My Smart Family, with her sequel, Life in the Fast Brain, always looking on the bright side. You can't help but laugh (and sometimes cry) with her illustrative anecdotes... and feel welcomed into the greater community of fast-brained folks!"--(Wendy Skinner, Author of Infinity & Zebra Stripes)

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