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Brain Power: Improve Your Mind as You Age [Paperback]

Michael J. Gelb , Kelly Howell

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Book Description

10 Feb 2012
Do you expect your memory to be better or worse 10 or 20 years from now? How about your sex life? What are your greatest fears, concerns and worries about getting older? Are you hoping that someone will develop the mental equivalent of Viagra? In the last 30 years the scientific evidence supporting the notion that your mind can improve through the years has become overwhelming. Clearly, the question is no longer whether your mind can improve with age, but rather how you can optimize your mental powers as you get older. Brain Power presents practical, evidence-based information on improving your mind throughout life. Michael J. Gelb and Kelly Howell present an accessible and fun-to-read survey of the leading experts in the field of healthy ageing, including physicians, gerontologists and neuroscientists. They've also studied the habits and practices of men and women who are paragons of healthy ageing. Their approach isn t just based on scientific theory and academic research. They actually apply everything they recommend in these pages and will guide you to apply these methods so that you will improve your mind every year of your life.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; Original edition (10 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608680738
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608680733
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.7 x 2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 528,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really a whorthwhile book. 13 Jan 2012
By Marilyn Dalrymple - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed this book tremendously. It is full of studies, science and fact, but most importantly is stresses the value of looking toward the possibilities of a healthy aging, optimism and hope. The authors point out the complete negativism with which we here in the United States view aging. How many times have you referred to yourself as having a "senior moment," or told yourself (or others) "I can't remember anything anymore"? Too many times, I'm sure. I've done it, I'm ashamed to say.

Numerous examples are given of the sages of the United States who led full and active lives to the very end. One secret to a long, successful life is revealed in chapter one, "All of the positive role models have one element in common - their lives are organized around a powerful sense of purpose," the authors state. And it seems to be true.

The value of continuing your education is talked about in chapter two. There is even a page that teaches readers the art of juggling. "The researchers found that fifteen minutes of daily juggling practice over the course of three months resulted in a significant increase in the brain's gray matter."

Chapter three discusses exercise - I think we've all heard this before - physical exercise and flexibility keeps us young, but the chapter tells us why this is so. Diet is looked at as is, "Creating a Brain-Enhancing Environment." Research by John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, shows that a multisensory environment improves memory and learning ability.

The value of having healthy relationships is talked about in chapter six. "Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young," said Benjamin Franklin. (Another thing I like about this book is the use of positive quotations by well-known people.)

Chapter seven tells us why rest is as important as exercise and diet. Pianist Arthur Schnabel said, "The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes - ah, that is where the art resides." This chapter teaches readers how to rest and recharge. Who can argue that?

Chapter eight, "Liberate Your Mind by Synchronizing Your Brain," offers a free download of an audio program. I'm downloading it as I write this, and it seems to be loading trouble free.

Chapter nine is a brief review of the most important points in the book with a collection of "Top Ten Favorite Last Words."

I like this book most because it is uplifting, positive and encouraging. Ageing does not have to mean deterioration. It can mean leading a more wisdom-filled, active and successful life; something we all can look forward to if we adjust our attitudes. I recommend this book. It really is useful, filled with great information and encouraging words. It would make a wonderful gift to the library of senior centers, retirement homes and even (maybe especially) nursing homes.
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brain Power is a terrrific book about how to, quoting its subtitle, Improve Your Mind As You Age. What a great concept! 1 Jan 2012
By Blaine Greenfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Michael Gelb has long been one of my favorite authors . . . I've read just everything he has written, and his bestselling HOW TO THINK LIKE LEONARDO DA VINCI remains a book that I use in a creativity course that I teach.

His latest effort, BRAIN POWER (New World Library), co-authored with Kelly Howell is a terrific book about how to, quoting its subtitle, IMPROVE YOUR MIND AS YOU AGE.

What a great concept!

And the authors show you how this can be done by presenting many useful suggestions, based on the latest brain research. Perhaps my favorite one is the following:

* Maintain a Positive Attitude about Your Memory

If you ask any elementary school teacher what children forget in the classroom every day, you'll learn that in addition to forgetting facts, they also leave behind all sorts of things: books, pens, iPods, etc. When the teacher reminds fourth grader Jason that he left his baseball cap in the coatroom, she doesn't usually hear "What's the matter with me? I'm eight years old, and my memory is going" or "Gosh, another junior moment!" But after age twenty five or so, many folks begin to focus on any glitch in memory as evidence for its demise. Normal forgetting is catalogued as a "senior moment," and the decline of memory becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."

I also liked this recommendation:

* An attitude of gratitude is relatively easy to cultivate, and a simple gratitude journal is the best way to get started. Take a few minutes every morning to write out a list of things that inspire you to feel grateful. After you compose your list, spend a few seconds focusing on the feeling of gratitude for each thing you've written down. After you've reviewed your list, just "float" in the feeling of gratitude for a minute or so. Repeat the process in the evening. That's all it takes to get your immune system revved up. Practice this simple gratitude exercise, and you'll discover more grace in your everyday life.

None of the above is necessarily difficult to do . . . but the key is to do something, such as:

* Take the social initiative. Rather than waiting for invitations, take the initiative: invite potential friends for dinner or to a movie, concert, or lecture.

[and} Volunteer. Caring about others is one of surest ways to feel better about yourself. Helping out at a soup kitchen, animal shelter, hospice, or school provides a sense of meaning and purpose that keeps you sharp and more fulfilled.

BRAIN POWER also includes a free downloadable brain sync audio program, designed to balance your brain and optimize mental performance. It is the perfect book to read if you're interested in improving your mind, as well as your life.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good and Practical 7 Feb 2012
By Book Fanatic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It seems like I've read a thousand of these brain books. I wasn't really expecting that much but I was pleasantly surprised. First of all let me state that there is nothing at all new in this book. This isn't the latest breaking news in brain science. The authors state that there is an enormous amount of information about having a healthy brain available on the Internet and their purpose is to bring the best of it together in one accessible place. To do the filtering for us in other words.

To that goal they succeed admirably. The short sections focused on something particular and practical were enjoyable to read and easy to understand. It seem like they have done an excellent job in researching the best material. This is a practical book that one can put to immediate use. The reason it doesn't get five stars from me is because it didn't grab me or excite me. Perhaps that's because I've read too many of these and I really didn't learn much. However if you are looking for concise, broad, and practical advice to having a great brain into old age, I don't think you can do much better. If so, I can highly recommend this very good book.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars first self-help book with real & practical ideas! 28 April 2012
By roz---choosy reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a long-time and inveterate reader...and, as such, don't get tempted to buy the latest self-help book. This one, though, I'm really glad I invested in! I heard the author, Michael Gelb, on an NPR program called New Dimensions, and his enthusiasm for his field, motivating people, and what he had to say in general, appealed to me. Thus, I went to Amazon and bought the book. It stresses optimism, creativity, and the strength of thinking positively. I am 65, and there are MANY things (not all) that are well within my budget and physical capability that are described here. It appears to be really true: that your brain is the one organ that can be (and should be) strong as it was in youth and fully-functioning right up to the end of life. It is easy to read, and well worth re-reading to study & get tips!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Self-Evident 6 Feb 2013
By Julie Clayton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I must be getting cranky in my old age-- oops, I'm not supposed to reinforce limiting beliefs or ageisms, according to this collection of tools and resources to enhance and improve your brain function. So let me start again. While there is nothing wrong with this book, and much that is right---in that the information is useful and well presented---the so-called "blueprint" for brain power is mostly common sense and commonly known guidelines for healthy living. In my own words, here's the standard healthy living "prescription," which is essentially what is covered in this book, and you tell me if you have never heard or read these tips innumerable times in other wellness-related contexts:

1. pursue new interests and learning
2. nourish your body and keep active
3. get quality sleep and rest
4. maintain an active social life and positive intimate relationships
5. learn stress management

To be fair, two strategies that might be considered age and/or brain power specific that are also included in Brain Power:

* don't buy into ageism;
* do brain exercises for memory, speed, and recall, or play brain games, such as chess or bridge, and so forth

The one tool that I find exceptional within this book is in the penultimate chapter on brain synchronization, which co-author Kelly Howell created the audio technology for, called "BrainSync." A free demo download of BrainSync is included via the book.

In a nutshell, brain synchronization is when the right and left brains "talk to each other." The way this occurs is by taking two sine waves close to each other in frequency (but not the same), layering them in soothing music, and playing one wave sound in each ear (you listen to the music through headphones): the brain tries to "resolve" the differences between the waves, which results in the "binaural beat frequency"--this is not a sound heard with the ears, but a type of resonance the brain creates. When the brain entrains this "phantom frequency" it can affect mood and mental states--especially useful for achieving a deep meditative state/ relaxation response quickly and easily. (For more information about brain synchronization/ entrainment, see my editorial on Brain Beats.)

To summarize, this book is a fine review of general and practical tips for well being, but don't expect much that is groundbreaking for improving brain power other than the above mentioned Brain Sync (keeping in mind that brain synchronization research too has been around for several decades, although there is much greater understanding of its benefits and applications today).
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