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

The Brain That Changes Itself

Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

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Published: 1st March 2010
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An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable.

Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M.D., traveled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they've transformed people whose mental limitations or brain damage were seen as unalterable.

We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, blind people who learn to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, stroke patients learning to speak, children with cerebral palsy learning to move with more grace, depression and anxiety disorders successfully treated, and lifelong character traits changed.

Doidge takes us onto terrain that might seem fantastic. We learn that our thoughts can switch our genes on and off, altering our brain anatomy. We learn how people of average intelligence can, with brain exercises, improve their cognition and perception, develop muscle strength, or learn to play a musical instrument — simply by imagining doing so.

Using these marvelous stories to probe mysteries of the body, emotion, love, sex, culture, and education, Dr. Doidge has written an immensely moving, inspiring book that will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.

About the Author

Norman Doidge, M.D., is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher, author, essayist and poet.

He is on the Research Faculty at Columbia University’s Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York, and the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry.

He is a native of Toronto.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
The Brain That Changes Itself
 
4.8

(based on 13 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (10)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Deeply informative (13)
  • Rich resource (10)
  • Easy to understand (9)
  • Well written (9)
  • Groundbreaking research (8)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Reference (11)
  • Special needs (9)
  • Gift (6)
  • Older readers (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Everyday reader (6), Bookworm (3)

Reviewed by 13 customers

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5.0

A fascinating study of how our brains can sometimes do the s

Pros

  • Deeply Informative
  • Groundbreaking Research
  • Innovative Ideas
  • Rich Resource

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Reference
    • Special Needs

    Comments about The Brain That Changes Itself:

    Very interesting to anyone who even knows someone who has been told they will never improve.Gives you hope

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    5.0

    A challenge to original thinking a better way forward

    By 

    from Woodend

    About Me Everyday Reader

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Deeply Informative
    • Easy To Understand
    • Innovative Ideas
    • Rich Resource
    • Well Written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Gift
      • Older Readers
      • Special Needs

      Comments about The Brain That Changes Itself:

      This book will change your thinking of how the brain works and how we must re-think the ways in which we can help those with physical or mental problems. I have recommended to a number of people some of a professional background.

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      5.0

      Excellent Material & well presented

      By 

      from Nanango Qld

      About Me Everyday Reader

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Deeply Informative
      • Easy To Understand
      • Groundbreaking Research
      • Innovative Ideas
      • Rich Resource
      • Well Written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Gift
        • Older Readers
        • Reference
        • Special Needs

        Comments about The Brain That Changes Itself:

        I am 83 & always looking for ways to stimulate my mind!

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        4.0

        Still reading this book

        By 

        from Tully Qld

        About Me Rarely Read

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Deeply Informative
        • Easy To Understand
        • Groundbreaking Research

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Reference
          • Special Needs

          Comments about The Brain That Changes Itself:

          XXX

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          5.0

          Brain Training Possible

          By 

          from Perth

          About Me Bookworm

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Deeply Informative
          • Rich Resource

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Reference
            • Special Needs

            Comments about The Brain That Changes Itself:

            We were reading this book before my husband was diagnosed with a large brain tumour [GBM] but now the concept of neuroplasticity takes on a whole new relevance as we train his brain to take new pathways eg telling the time

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            5.0

            Will definately reread this book.

            By 

            from Geraldton, Western Australia

            About Me Everyday Reader

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Deeply Informative
            • Easy To Understand
            • Innovative Ideas
            • Rich Resource
            • Well Written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Reference
              • Special Needs

              Comments about The Brain That Changes Itself:

              I have recommended this book to a few friends.

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              5.0

              Wonderful book

              By 

              from sydney AU

              About Me Casual Reader

              Pros

              • Deeply Informative
              • Easy To Understand
              • Groundbreaking Research
              • Rich Resource
              • Well Written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Gift
                • Older Readers
                • Reference
                • Special Needs

                Comments about The Brain That Changes Itself:

                This is a wonderful book , very informative, and positive stories, this will give you a hope if you are suffering from slimier problem. written in a way that anyone can understand easily though this is a brain science related. I'm not from medical background , so its a so wonderful to understand how this amazing human body works underneath the skin and coordinating with all the organs including the brain.

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                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Informative but easily understood

                By 

                from Sydney, AU

                About Me Everyday Reader

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Deeply Informative
                • Easy To Understand
                • Groundbreaking Research
                • Innovative Ideas
                • Rich Resource
                • Well Written

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about The Brain That Changes Itself:

                    As well as the interesting personal histories this book provides essential information for those wishing to help or better understand where to get help for people who have suffered a brain injury, stroke, autism, learning disorders and even anxiety disorders. This book will give hope and inspire. An informative and enjoyable read about neuroplasticity that is easy to understand.

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                    4.0

                    Thoroughly recommended

                    By 

                    from Bathurst, NSW

                    About Me Bookworm

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Deeply Informative
                    • Groundbreaking Research
                    • Rich Resource
                    • Well Written

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Gift
                      • Older Readers
                      • Reference

                      Comments about The Brain That Changes Itself:

                      This book can be read and largely understood by anyone with an interest in brain functions. It is aimed at the lay reader, not necessarily the professional. Some of the neurological and anatomical terms may not be familiar to the lay person, but it is mostly easy to understand. For the enthusiastic medical amateur it is a fascinating read, and could be of particular help to people with some neurological problems-- not so much as a self-help book but it may help them to recognise that problems they thought were untreatable may be treatable,and encourage them to seek appropriate help. It is written in a clear, easy to read style, and the many case studies related maintain interest.

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                      5.0

                      Recommended Reading

                      By 

                      from Sydney NSW

                      About Me Bookworm

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Deeply Informative
                      • Easy To Understand
                      • Great Explanations
                      • Groundbreaking Research
                      • Innovative Ideas
                      • Rich Resource
                      • Well Written

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Brain Trauma Victims
                        • Gift
                        • Older Readers
                        • Reference
                        • Special Needs

                        Comments about The Brain That Changes Itself:

                        I bought this book to find out how the brain repairs and rejuvenates itself. Am doing Counselling and find it a valuable resource.

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                        'In the intrepid tradition of Oliver Sacks, Norman Doidge embarks on a fantastic voyage through the labyrinth of the human brain.';- Simon Hughes, AFR Magazine;;An 'essential primer for anyone who wants to better understand their own brains and the considerable advances in neuroscience of the past two decades.';- Gordon Farrer, Age;;'Lucid and absolutely fascinating ... engaging, educational and riveting. It satisfies, in equal measure, the mind and the heart. Doidge is able to explain current research in neuroscience with clarity and thoroughness. He presents the ordeals of the patients about whom he writes - people born with parts of their brains missing, people with learning disabilities, people recovering from strokes - with grace and vividness. In the best medical narratives - and the works of Doidge ... join that fraternity- the narrow bridge between body and soul is traversed with courage and eloquence.';- Chicago Tribune;;'It takes a rare talent to explain science to the rest of us. Oliver Sacks is a master at this ... And now there is Norman Doidge ... To benefit from a concept, one must first grasp it, and that is what makes The Brain That Changes Itself such a terrific book. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to read it - just a person with a curious mind. Doidge is the best possible guide. He has a fluent and unassuming style, and is able to explain difficult concepts without talking down to his readers ... Doidge [is] a top-notch writer ... Buy this book. Your brain will thank you.';- Globe & Mail;;'a remarkable book ... a highly readable exploration of a branch of science that has the potential to change all our lives.';- Hobart Mercury;;'Fascinating synopsis of the revolution in neuroscience shows that the age-old distinction between the brain and the mind is crumbling fast as the power of positive thinking finally gains scientific credibility.';- National Post (holiday book guide);;'Doidge provides a history of the research in this growing field, highlighting scientists at the edge of groundbreaking discoveries and telling fascinating stories of people who have benefited ... An engaging read for anyone interested in the science behind how our surprisingly moldable brains are changed by our experiences.';- Psychology Today;;'A woman who perpetually feels like she's falling, a man addicted to hard-core pornography, an amputee with excruciating pain in his phantom elbow; all cured thanks to neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to rewire itself. Doidge provides a history of the research in this growing field, highlighting scientists at the edge of groundbreaking discoveries and telling fascinating stories of people who have benefited. One researcher restores a woman's sense of balance by placing electrodes on her tongue to create a novel neural pathway; a man undergoes physical therapy that reorganizes his brain and allows him to return to work after suffering an incapacitating stroke. Doidge even calls psychoanalysis 'neuroplastic therapy - understanding a painful memory, for example, involves disconnecting and reconnecting neuronal groups.';- Psychology Today;;'With detailed case studies reminiscent of Oliver Sacks, combined with extensive interviews with lead researchers, Doidge ... slowly turns everything we thought we knew about the brain upside down ... Doidge writes interestingly and engagingly about some of the least understood marvels of the brain.';- Publishers Weekly;;'Perfect for fans of Oliver Sacks';- Quill & Quire;;'This is a fascinating book which alters the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.';- Suzy Wilson, South East Advertiser;;'a fascinating glimpse into a new field ... The Brain That Changes Itself could signal an important medical shift we're in the midst of right now.';- Drew Turney, Sun Herald;;'This book is like discovering that the earth isn't flat.';- Gretel Killeen, Sun Herald, 'The Books That Changed Me';;'The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge shows us that at last neuroscience has caught up with what mystics and meditation have taught for centuries - the brain is infinitely changeable. Forget mechanics: the brain is not a machine, nor is it a computer made of meat. This book is a wonderful and engaging way of re-imagining what kind of creatures we are.';- Jeanette Winterson, The Guardian, Best Books of 2008;;'In bookstores, the science aisle generally lies well away from the self-help section, with hard reality on one set of shelves and wishful thinking on the other. But Norman Doidge's fascinating synopsis of the current revolution in neuroscience straddles this gap: the age-old distinction between the brain and the mind is crumbling fast as the power of positive thinking finally gains scientific credibility ... Mind-bending, miracle-making, reality-busting stuff with implications for all human beings, not to mention human culture, human learning and human history.';- Abigail Zuger, M.D., The New York Times, Science Times;;'... anyone who has read Norman Doidge's brilliant The Brain That Changes Itself, in which the author makes a convincing case for our brains being far more 'plastic' and malleable than previously supposed, will suspect that our predispositions can be changed through experience';- Andrew Smith, The Sunday Times (UK);; 'A book that everybody should read. When your brain is damaged, another part of the brain rewires itself and takes over the same function, making it possible for you to resume normalcy in your life. It is nothing short of miraculous.';- Yoko Ono, The Week;;'The Brain That Changes Itself is a valuable compilation of work that seeks to prove the unsung adaptability of our most mysterious organ. Readers will want to read entire sections aloud and pass the book on to someone who can benefit from it.';- Washington Post;;Doidge 'has a knack for translating scientific jargon into plain English ... This is an enjoyable read, an impressive translation of neuroscience for a lay audience. It will interest anyone who wants to know more about how the brain works.';- Winnipeg Free Press;;'Only a few decades ago, scientists considered the brain to be fixed or 'hardwired' and considered most forms of brain damage, therefore, to be incurable. Dr. Doidge, an eminent psychiatrist and researcher, was struck by how his patients' own transformations belied this and set out to explore the new science of neuroplasticity by interviewing both scientific pioneers in neuroscience, and patients who have benefited from neuro-rehabilitation. Here he describes in fascinating personal narratives how the brain, far from being fixed, has remarkable powers of changing its own structure and compensating for even the most challenging neurological conditions. Doidge's book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain.';- Oliver Sacks

                        ISBN: 9781921372742
                        ISBN-10: 1921372745
                        Series: The Neuroplasticity Chronicles
                        Audience: General
                        Format: Paperback
                        Language: English
                        Number Of Pages: 448
                        Published: 1st March 2010
                        Publisher: Scribe Publications
                        Country of Publication: AU
                        Dimensions (cm): 21.0 x 13.6  x 2.9
                        Weight (kg): 21.0
                        Edition Number: 1