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

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


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One of the world’s most innovative and respected cognitive neuroscientists combines cutting-edge research with unique exercises to help you improve the most powerful, most staggeringly complex machine ever created: your brain.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451665482
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 01/21/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 472,234
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About 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.

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

  • 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

    What People are Saying About This

    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.”

    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.”

    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.”

    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.”

    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.”

    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.

    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.”

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    Make Your Brain Smarter: Increase Your Brain's Creativity, Energy, and Focus 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
    KarenBoyd More than 1 year ago
    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.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is a wonderful gem of a book! I learned everything I wanted to know about brain enhancement. I highly recommend this brilliant book to anyone wanting to improve their mental abilities!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    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.