Make Your Brain Smarter: Increase Your Brain's Creativity, Energy, and Focus

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Overview

In Make Your Brain Smarter, renowned cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman introduces you to the very latest research in brain science and shows you how to tailor a program to strengthen your brain’s capacity to think smarter. In this all-inclusive book, Dr. Chapman delivers a comprehensive “fitness” plan that you can use to “exercise” your way to a healthier brain. You will find strategies to reduce stress and anxiety, increase productivity, enhance decision-making, and strengthen how your brain works...

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Overview

In Make Your Brain Smarter, renowned cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman introduces you to the very latest research in brain science and shows you how to tailor a program to strengthen your brain’s capacity to think smarter. In this all-inclusive book, Dr. Chapman delivers a comprehensive “fitness” plan that you can use to “exercise” your way to a healthier brain. You will find strategies to reduce stress and anxiety, increase productivity, enhance decision-making, and strengthen how your brain works at every age. You will discover why memory is not the most important measure of brain capacity, why IQ is a misleading index of brain potential, and why innovative thinking energizes your brain. Make Your Brain Smarter is the ultimate guide for keeping your brain fit during each decade of your life.

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Editorial Reviews

Daryl Johnston
“As an athlete, I always knew the importance of training my body for optimal performance. It wasn’t until I met Sandi Chapman that I learned that the same is true for my brain. It has eased my concerns about my future health after spending more than ten years in the impact lifestyle of the NFL.”
New York Times bestselling author of Joker One and the upcoming book The Leader's Code - Donovan Campbell
"The BrainHealth physical and the SMART program let me know how I could reach my full cognitive potential. These strategies revolutionized my life and could change the lives of millions. In the knowledge era, cognitive performance has never been more needed, but the distractions are great and growing. This book comes at the perfect time."
Laura Sanford
“SMART training truly changed my life. I can’t think of any other training I’ve had that has delivered benefits so quickly and deeply.”
John Migliaccio
“After partnering with Dr. Chapman, it was an eye-opener to see how easily brain health can be measured, and how important it is to maintain it at every age. Maximizing our cognitive functioning is attainable and an important step in making good decisions over the entire lifespan.”
Lyda Hill
“I’ve had annual physicals for over thirty years, so it made sense to check the top third of the body also. Taking the BrainHealth Physical gave me a sense of peace knowing that I had a baseline of my brain function and could measure any issues that arise in the future.”
Cynthia Brinkley
“When I learned of the research of Dr. Sandi Chapman, I immediately realized her work could be transformational in accelerating the brain performance of employees at all ages. As the global leader of human resources, I am always looking for ways to expand the diverse talents of the different generational age groups that all too often go underdeveloped. Both companies and the individuals will be the beneficiaries of better brain health.”
David Waldrep
“The profoundly effective program outlined in Make Your Brain Smarter uses relatively simple and straightforward strategies to empower learners. The program allowed my son to believe in himself, created a level playing field for him to pursue his dreams, and utilized his talents without barrier deficits. We have seen a dramatic improvement in his brain performance, and I know the strategies will continue to have a positive impact on his life and continued success for years to come.”
legendary entrepreneur, innovator, energy executive, and author of The First Billion Is the H - T. Boone Pickens
"I don't want to grow old and feel bad, either physically or mentally. That's why I exercise my body and my brain daily. I'm well into my eighties. I know that half my life is over, and that keeping my brain challenged is more important than ever. Thanks to the pioneering brain research being done by Dr. Sandi Chapman, we can have healthy and productive minds for far longer than we might have imagined."
From the Publisher
"I don't want to grow old and feel bad, either physically or mentally. That's why I exercise my body and my brain daily. I'm well into my eighties. I know that half my life is over, and that keeping my brain challenged is more important than ever. Thanks to the pioneering brain research being done by Dr. Sandi Chapman, we can have healthy and productive minds for far longer than we might have imagined."

“As an athlete, I always knew the importance of training my body for optimal performance. It wasn’t until I met Sandi Chapman that I learned that the same is true for my brain. It has eased my concerns about my future health after spending more than ten years in the impact lifestyle of the NFL.”

"The BrainHealth physical and the SMART program let me know how I could reach my full cognitive potential. These strategies revolutionized my life and could change the lives of millions. In the knowledge era, cognitive performance has never been more needed, but the distractions are great and growing. This book comes at the perfect time."

“SMART training truly changed my life. I can’t think of any other training I’ve had that has delivered benefits so quickly and deeply.”

“After partnering with Dr. Chapman, it was an eye-opener to see how easily brain health can be measured, and how important it is to maintain it at every age. Maximizing our cognitive functioning is attainable and an important step in making good decisions over the entire lifespan.”

“I’ve had annual physicals for over thirty years, so it made sense to check the top third of the body also. Taking the BrainHealth Physical gave me a sense of peace knowing that I had a baseline of my brain function and could measure any issues that arise in the future.”

“When I learned of the research of Dr. Sandi Chapman, I immediately realized her work could be transformational in accelerating the brain performance of employees at all ages. As the global leader of human resources, I am always looking for ways to expand the diverse talents of the different generational age groups that all too often go underdeveloped. Both companies and the individuals will be the beneficiaries of better brain health.”

“The profoundly effective program outlined in Make Your Brain Smarter uses relatively simple and straightforward strategies to empower learners. The program allowed my son to believe in himself, created a level playing field for him to pursue his dreams, and utilized his talents without barrier deficits. We have seen a dramatic improvement in his brain performance, and I know the strategies will continue to have a positive impact on his life and continued success for years to come.”

Publishers Weekly
Everyone wishes they were a little smarter, and this book suggests that our biological makeup may be even more conducive to expanding intelligence than we might’ve imagined. The title’s emphasis on the brain is apt: Chapman’s discussion is often focused on neurology and exercising the brain—specifically the frontal lobe—to perform more effectively. Overall, Chapman, a distinguished professor at the University of Texas, advocates for disciplined, deliberate attention, as opposed to the multitasking with which we have become detrimentally accustomed in an age oversaturated with information. Practical tips and tasks are provided, and key points are conveniently highlighted throughout and recapitulated at the end of each chapter in a “Know Brainers” section. Some of Chapman’s claims are overly simplistic (within her larger discussion of smarts across lifespan, the “finders and the seekers” label she ascribes to 26–45-year-olds seems at once too reductive and too exclusive), and her continual use of office examples raises the question of whether the book has implications beyond the work place. Nevertheless, Chapman’s broader idea—that smarts come with consistent practice—and her pragmatic “brain health plan” are intriguing. Agents: Jan Miller Rich and Nena Madonia, Dupre/Miller & Associates. (Jan.)
Melissa Reiff
“As someone who strives to learn more, communicate more effectively, and be more productive, and to strengthen my strategic thinking and creative innovation every single day, I wholeheartedly live by Sandi Chapman’s guide to making our brain smarter. The topic of brain health is critical to our future as we all want to continue to live strong, vibrant, impactful lives for as long as we possibly can.”
Library Journal
Chapman (founder and chief director, Ctr. for Brain Health) takes a neuroscientific approach to providing comprehensive brain fitness plans for all ages. After explaining the specifics of frontal lobe activity (e.g., planning, decision making, judgment) she helps readers perform relevant self-assessments and implement exercises to enhance integrated reasoning. Some of the tips include focusing on one task at a time, getting a good night's sleep, and focusing on things that have the greatest impact. Not only does Chapman deliver specifics for teens, adults, and the elderly, she includes steps to rebound after brain injury and stave off decline in dementia. One of the best books in its field.
Kirkus Reviews
The founder of the Center for BrainHealth reviews recent research in brain studies and techniques to keep brains in peak condition. Conventional wisdom says that doing crossword puzzles, word searches, cryptograms and other exercises help preserve brain function and lessen the effects of illnesses associated with elders, including Alzheimer's. Chapman (Behavioral and Brain Sciences/Univ. of Texas, Dallas) founded and directs the Center for BrainHealth, and this book could serve as an introduction, outline and future-developments map for the center. Distilling a vast amount of research, the author reinforces some conventional wisdom while poking holes in other ideas about brain function. Intelligence, long thought to be innate, is becoming recognized as a more complex function of various environmental and genetic influences, not least of which is the approach we take to teaching and learning. Society's tendency toward adding more stimuli to every activity, from listening to music while doing homework, to the office with a TV always tuned to 24-hour news, is wearing away at our brain function. Chapman sees the Internet and its wealth of information as both a boon and hazard, as we become more likely to continually seek out more information rather than moderate our intake and give our minds time to digest what we're learning. The writing dips too often into jargon--e.g., "integrated reasoning capacity" and "dynamic fluid thinking capacity"--but, to be fair, it may stretch readers' minds to incorporate the ideas in new forms, no doubt boosting brainpower. A decent cross section of research and practical ideas about exercising and maintaining brain function.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451665482
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 1/21/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 151,578
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth, is a Distinguished University Professor at The University of Texas at Dallas. With more than thirty years of innovative discovery, she is recognized as a leading thinker in transforming how people, young and old, can build a smarter brain.

Shelly Kirkland, public relations director at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, brings national attention to the cutting-edge research facility dedicated to understanding, protecting, and healing the brain.

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Read an Excerpt

Make Your Brain Smarter


  • When I say, “You can increase your brain performance,” people stare at me, doubtful that this could be true. It is not surprising that many would challenge the claim and believe it to be false hype.

New brain science discoveries show that individuals, young and old, can, indeed, increase their intelligence.1–7 As a cognitive neuroscientist and founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, I strive to uncover how the brain best learns and reasons, rebounds and repairs after injury, and builds resilience against decline. The goal: to maximize the amazing potential of our most vital organ—the brain.

My research and scientific discoveries have shown that most everyone can increase their intellectual capital and maximize their cognitive potential.8–15 What does that mean for you? Simply put, you can control the destiny of your brain. You can mold your brain’s frontal lobe, the epicenter of your intelligence, to grow your brainpower.

Do you want to:

• start thinking smarter today?

• learn to avoid habits that drain your cognitive potential?

• strengthen your fluid intelligence continually?

• recognize that memory lapses may not be the chief thief robbing you of your highest level of mental productivity and cognitive creativity?

• advance your capacity to be an agent of change?

The answer to each of these is—a Know Brainer. By learning how to incorporate new brain science into your daily life, you can develop the mental agility necessary to help solve the complexities of the issues you face today and the unknown ones of the future. I will guide you to improve cognitive capacity and increase your peak performance and intellectual capital.

The Limitless Frontier of Cognitive Discovery

For the past thirty years, my life has been dedicated to discovering ways to optimize brain health by applying rapidly emerging innovations to make a difference in people’s lives. Through my ongoing research with a host of populations—including but not limited to healthy teens and adults; people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries such as a concussion or stroke; those with brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia; and children diagnosed with autism and ADHD—I have been struck by two key findings:

• The brain’s frontal lobe unequivocally contributes to building resilience, to regaining cognitive function, and to retraining the brain to maximize its extraordinary power.

• It typically takes twenty to forty years or more for scientific discoveries to trickle down to meaningfully benefit human life.

And this is why I am writing this book.

None of us can afford to let our brains decline—not even for a day. You would not accept that for your heart, eyes, or lungs, so why allow such slippage for your most valued internal asset?

If you fail to harness the incredible potential of your brain, you are inhibiting your success. You are, in essence, going backward instead of forging a blazing trail to increased productivity and boundless performance.

Our life span only continues to grow as the twenty-first century proceeds. A health-care policy journal predicts an average American life span of eighty-six years for a man and ninety-three years for a woman by midcentury16—more than a decade longer than today’s life expectancy—a mere forty years from now. This poses numerous ethical questions. When asked, people tend to respond that they desire to live as long as they have a healthy mind, since a robust and high-functioning brain is considered the very cornerstone of a satisfactory quality of life. Surprisingly, though, the steps to improve cognitive brain function are at least a generation and a half behind what has been achieved for heart health. Significantly more needs to be done to achieve a brain health span that more closely aligns with our body’s new life span. This is why brain fitness should become your personal goal.

I have dedicated my life to discovering how the brain best absorbs complex information, learns to think strategically, and innovates at its optimal level. I am determined to help people increase and maximize their brainpower.

Why the Frontal Lobe?

This book will revolutionize how you think and use your brain’s frontal lobe to solve the complexities you meet each day. Your frontal lobe is the part of the brain responsible for planning, decision making, judgment, and other executive functions. You will become keenly aware of new brain discoveries regarding which frontal lobe brain habits might obstruct clear thinking and which ones could facilitate your capacity to think smarter rather than harder, day in and day out. You will learn how to build a more robust cognitive capacity, how to process information deeply and insightfully, and how to develop strategic thinking to continually upgrade your realized potential.

One is never too young or too old to commit to a brain health plan that challenges the brain’s capacity to think smarter. It requires concerted and continual efforts to achieve robust frontal lobe function since each generation comes to the table with different strengths and vulnerabilities. And while there is almost no area that one cannot improve with repeated practice and proper use, the choice of what to focus on may make a difference.

Our cognitive brain health declines because we let it. We are complicit in our own brain decline by failing to keep our frontal lobe as fit as we can and should, by not adopting and incorporating healthy brain habits that daily promote dynamic and flexible thinking, and by not taking full advantage of all our brains have to offer. It is unsettling how much brain potential is lost due to neglect and improper maintenance. When your brainpower decreases it costs you dearly. Habitual low brain performance costs an estimated $100 trillion to our gross domestic product.17

The hopeful part is that science is revealing that certain brain functions, such as problem solving, synthesizing big ideas, and innovative thinking, can actually improve with advancing age,18–22 but only if we keep these functions fine-tuned. You can play a role in slowing the rate of deterioration of many cognitive brain functions—such as difficulty with new learning brought about by lack of confidence and practice—regardless of your age.

What brain value are you willing to lose this year? Or will you take the necessary steps to experience brain gain? Become a master of your own cognitive destiny. Increase your productivity, enhance your success, maximize your potential, and boost your bottom line. Don’t overthink it—there is no downside to thinking more efficiently, more clearly, and smarter.

For additional tools and tips visit www.makeyourbrainsmarter.com.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Introduction xiii

Section I Discover the Frontal Lobe Frontier 1

1 Your Brain, Your Productivity 3

2 Frontal Lobe Fitness Rules 17

3 A Checkup From Your Neck Up 36

Section II Maximize your Cognitive Performance 55

4 Strengthen your Strategic Brain Habits 57

5 Enhance Integrated Reasoning to Accelerate Performance 82

6 Innovate to Inspire Your Thinking 106

Section III Make your Brain Smarter at Any Age 121

7 The Immediates, 13-24 Years of Age 123

8 The Finders, 25-35, and The Seekers, 36-45 Years of Age 146

9 The Thinkers, 46-65 Years of Age 160

10 The Knowers, 66-100+ Years of Age 185

Section IV Mind the Gap in Injury and Disease 203

11 Rebound and Rewire your Brain After Injury 205

12 Stave off Decline in Alzheimer's 225

Section V Fulfill the Promise 241

13 Forge a Blazing Trail or go Backward 243

Acknowledgments 251

Notes 253

Index 277

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 22, 2013

    I am enjoying "Make Your Brain Smarter" and am encoura

    I am enjoying "Make Your Brain Smarter" and am encouraged. As I see my 84-year-old mother's mental decline, to know that in spite her situation and genetics, that there are things I can do to help to at least slow this process in my own life! Though I am in my mid-60's, Dr. Chapman's book shows that our brain can stay fit at any age with a few new habits. Her style is easy and fun to read. After I have finished, I'll pass the book to my grown sons as well. I think everyone can benefit from this remarkable book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

    Don't buy it...

    I didn't finish this book, it's filled with success stories and bullet point but nothing applicable; the only advice that I think is actionable is to find someone who does some sort of brain tests so he can tell you what you need to do.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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