"Impressive. . . Wide-ranging. . . . The Wisdom Paradox makes a compelling case for the possibility of maintaining a sharp mind far into old age."
-KENNETH SILBER, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND
The Wisdom Paradox explores the aging of the mind from a unique, positive perspective. In an era of increasing fears about mental deterioration, world-renowned neuropsychologist Elkhonon Goldberg provides startling new evidence that though the brain diminishes in some tasks as it ages, it gains in many ways. Most notably, it increases in what he terms "wisdom": the ability to draw upon knowledge and experience gained over a lifetime to make quick and effective decisions. Goldberg delves into the machinery of the mind, separating memory into two distinct types: singular (knowledge of a particular incident or fact) and generic (recognition of broader patterns). As the brain ages, the ability to use singular memory declines, but generic memory is unaffected-and its importance grows. As an individual accumulates generic memory, the brain can increasingly rely upon these stored patterns to solve problems effortlessly and instantaneously. Goldberg investigates the neurobiology of wisdom, and draws on historical examples of artists and leaders whose greatest achievements were realized late in life.
Praise for The Wisdom Paradox:
"Good news: Our brains can and do improve with age. The evidence Goldberg presents is thorough and indisputable . . . Informative and entertaining."
-Diane Stressing, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
"[A] graceful exposition of the latest findings in developmental neuropsychology, brain mapping, and computational neuroscience. . . Goldberg overturns stale assumptions about the different functions of the two sides of the brain and about the roles of the frontal lobes. . . It is still cheering, in an era that worships youth, to be reminded that age can bring its own intellectual gifts."
-Emma Crichton-Miller, The Telegraph (London)
"The Wisdom Paradox is unusually easy and enjoyable to read for a book loaded with information and ideas about the brain. . . [Goldberg] is a gifted explicator and a talented writer."
"A book of wise reflections on the gains, not the losses, that come to the older human mind. Here is a valuable addition to the literature on aging."
-ANTONIO R. DAMASIO, AUTHOR OF DESCARTES' ERROR, THE FEELING OF WHAT HAPPENS, AND LOOKING FOR SPINOZA