The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

by Norman Doidge
4.4 91

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Brain That Changes Itself 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 91 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book that I have read on neuroplasticity. The Author maintains your attention and interest by combining his personal stories with real research in an easy to understand format. I would recommend it to anyone who is even remotely interested in neurology or psychology.
gkb More than 1 year ago
"To put this review in context, I have an interest in science, but not the level of understanding to read and comprehend the literature that real scientists read. This book gave me the feeling that I was eavesdropping on conversations with leading pioneers of brain science, and Doidge's writing style helped me to understand what was being said. This book is a fascinating journey into the field of neuroplasticity which is based on a wave of significant discoveries beginning in the 60's that has overturned a belief held for centuries--- that brain functions were fixed at certain parts of the brain (localization). The new understanding of the brain is that it "can change its very structure with each different activity it performed, perfecting its circuits to a task at hand." Although this is not another new-age self help espousing repackaged Norman Vincent Peale, a New York Times review aptly frames a key takeaway as "The power of positive thinking finally gains scientific credibility...Straddles the gap between science and self-help." The author, Norman Doidge, doesn't approach this science theoretically, but rather through focusing each chapter on a specific area of psychiatry, medicine, and education, and telling the stories of practictioners that are using the theories of plasticity to revolutionize the how we diagnose, treat, and further the understanding of the human potential. With each story, he provides a relevent history lesson on significant experiments and scientific pioneers whose work preceded and either advanced or derailed the scientific understanding of the brain. The book opens with the story of Cheryl, whose sensory organ that controls our sense of balance failed her. She had a perpetual sense of falling and couldn't even walk without clinging to a wall. The conventional view had been that cases like these were hopeless and often resulted in suicide. We learn how sending electrical impulses to her tongue rewired her brain to understand when she was upright. The treatment, "cured" her. Then there was a story of a women who was regarded as disabled used the concepts of neuroplasticity to overcome what had been previously understood as limitations. This followed with stories on how plasticity has changed the way we view causes of deafness, dsylexia, autism, cognitive decline related to aging, sexual attraction, love, obsessions, addictions, and many other areas where the brain plays a central role in our functioning. One unexpected personal takeaway of this book was a new understanding of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis. I was an undergraduate psychology major in the 70's when the humanistic movement prevailed and Sigmund Freud and his theories on fixations were only brought up in my psych classes for humor and entertainment purposes. In various chapters, Doidge points out the parallels of Freud's theories and plasticitity. It really shook the foundation and successfully shattered the rigid opinions I held on Freud. As a person whose ability to make a living depends on a fairly decent functioning brain, I was hoping to get out of this book some words of encouragement that the economic value of my cognitive function could be extended to compensate for the years I will be shortchanged by my 401K. I was not disappointed. Although that's not what the book is about, I learned enough about the leaders in this field to separate the genuine from the quacks.
Judy-Texas More than 1 year ago
I am a nurse and have worked on Neurology floors in hospitals, as well as on a stroke and brain damage floor in a rehab hospital.I have always been interested in the brain so I buy "Brain Books".We were taught that the brain is basically hard-wired and cannot recover from brain damage readily,but this book sets straight the fact that the brain is very adaptable and in fact, is capable of remarkable recovery. Not all the stories grabbed my attention, but most did and I skipped around if one, or another story did not interest me. The book takes a lot of focus, as it is technical. I liked the book and I sometimes refer back to it as a reference type book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Through case studies and current research, Doidge's facinating, well-written and well-researched book explains the miraculous human brain with its almost unlimited potential. I'm asking everyone I know to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
stimulating, compelling, incredibly interesting and relevant...a must read for all particularly as we age and lose sight of the power of the brain.
FaceMan More than 1 year ago
Dr. Doidge writes an incredibly fascinating book about brain plasticity; he promotes his belief and findings that one's brain is not static or fixed; i.e., that one can change the neurons and thus, change/make new neurological synaptic connections. His examples are touching, because he is talking about patients and his experiences, which buttress his tenet on plasticity. A definite read for the philosopher and physicist. A book that all should read; it will alter your perspective about finite world, which we do not live in by the way... Moreover, I enjoyed this book so much that after buying the original in paperback, I gave it to a friend, recommended to three others, whom read it and professed its positiveness, and I bought a hard copy to put in my collection/library.
crogala More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I read in a long time that I would recommend that everyone should read. It is fascinating how these researchers decided to think outside the box and made all of these incredible advances in Neurology that have impacted patient care and changed how we now see the brain. There is even a story about how one researcher worked with his own father after a stroke. He had been thru the usual round of Physical Therapy with little progress and his speech was severely affected. Because, the researcher would not accept this and constructed his own therapy on how to make him walk and talk again, his father not only improved, he was able to go back to a very demanding job. It opens up a Pandora's box on how patients will be treated in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eye opener
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating stuff
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would definitely recommend this book to absolutely anyone. The author presents the information in a clear and understandable way. There is a great balance of scientific data and heartfelt case studies. From the cover it appears as just another book about the brain but as you read it you realize that you can apply the information of neuroplasticity to your everday life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is so inspirational and informative. I have a family member who has had a recent brain injury, and reading this has helped me realize the possibilities of healing and recovery. Thanks
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