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4.4 out of 5 stars84
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 23 April 2010
It's a crime that I am the first on Amazon's uk site to review this! I only bought it having seen the rage reviews on Amazon US, and this book turned out to deserve such reviews.

This book is laid out incredibly well, with a true simplicity which is apt for a buddhist manual. The use of bullet points and clear distinctions between which sections concern the science, and which sections concern the practice, help you to relax and take it all in as you please rather than being force fed everything at once.

This book would be ideal for anybody that isn't too concerned with the more religious aspects of buddhism, that just wants to use it for it's clear and proven psychological benefits, not that it wouldn't be a wonderful book for any practitioner of buddhism to own. Follow the advice in this book and you will improve mentally in every area in which it is possible to improve, and you will know exactly how and why it is working!
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on 24 July 2010
This book is a valuable read. The subject matter is clearly presented and well written, and justified itself well to me. I didn't buy this book for 'enlightenment', but strangely enough I did have some 'lightbulb moments' whilst reading it - this was a pleasant and unexpected outcome for me. I am looking forward to re-reading it and that says it all.
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on 13 June 2013
This book answers all of the questions I have asked myself: what is happiness? Is it an internal or external thing? How do we achieve it? Where does our mind get in the way of the brain?

I was already aware of many of the answers because of my study of Buddhism. This book, however, laid it all out brilliantly, convincingly, and concisely. It also verifies them with as much scientific proof as you could ever need. Finally, it also answers some of the niggling questions that I think come with being a Westerner introduced to a completely antithecal viewpoint of the world, as outlined by the Buddha. What about the pleasures we already have? Where is "the Middle Way" exactly?

In short, I will always be grateful to this book for potentially voiding the need for me to go study neuroscience and find out the mysteries of the brain for myself.

Read this book if you want happiness, want to understand how the brain works, AND to develop a completely new take on life, ranging from our smallest thoughts, to our day-to-day activities, to finally the way our societies are shaped.

And if you aren't already, start meditating.
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on 7 November 2010
I was initially intimidated by the title, feeling that anything neuroscience would leave me out of my depth; but on the contrary it provided captivating and accessible insight into how cultivating positive emotions can resculp the brain. This book put many missing pieces of the puzzle together. I was engrossed and didn't want it to end. I look forward to re-reading it.
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on 16 September 2011
Controlled, informative and gently amusing. This book seamlessly ties together stuff from neurology, evolutionary psychology and mindfulness meditation. I am an erstwhile biology teacher and long term meditator. There were several times when I gasped with the delighted surprize of 'of course'. Rick makes it all seem so obvious and straightforward. A useful and delightful book.
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on 8 November 2011
Having studied Buddhism I found this book very informative as to how meditation works. Anyone interested in wanting a clamer more peaceful life should read it and follow the meditation. It really works.
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on 13 August 2010
A wonderful and inspiring read - accessible, practical, supportive. It helped me really "get" why certain simple meditation and Buddhist practices can literally change your brain bit by bit. and be integrated into your life. I'm familiar with Buddhist teachings and meditation practice, but for me the blend of latest neuropsychology with it has helped me really shape and direct my practice in a helpful and positive way.
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on 15 December 2012
This book clearly outlines how the reader might achieve and maintain optimum brain/mind health and well-being, and describes key brain/mind dynamics which both support and hinder optimumim brain/mind functioning, e.g., the inner conflict between the pull towards stability and constancy on the one hand, and pull towards growth and change on the other. The author supports the material with clear examples throughout, and punctuates key passages and concepts with practical exercises. While the book is a useful resource I found the audio version more engaging as is enables the reader to relate to the material at a deeper level. For instance, I found that the audio version helped with applying the insights and practices while travelling (e.g., walking or driving). I also found Rick Hanson's Only One Thing a useful companion to Buddha's Brain as it is a purely practical book and develops key ideas contained in Buddha's Brain (e.g., taking in the good), although it makes better reading than listening. My minor criticsm with Buddha's Brain is the frequent reference to the author's life and life experience which I found a bit indulgent and self-promoting and somewhat jarring with the central theme of cultivating non-attachment and humility.
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on 1 February 2012
An excellent book, giving a clear businesslike rational basis for Buddhist understanding and practical methods such as meditating with no superfluous supernatural overtones for us pedestrian atheists. (Why should we have to believe something arbitrary in order to justify practical methods? If these alone change our brains and neurochemistry enough to experience emotions such as joy or rapture why bother with pursuing non-sequiturs?

Throughout the reasonable nature of the practices is made clear and the increasingly clear foundations in clinical and research experience enabled by modern neuroscience technology like scanner methods.
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on 3 March 2013
I found this book really interesting and helpful. It uses neuroscience to explain why we do the things we do and why many Buddhist practices are helpful in coping with life's difficulties. It is an inspiring read and I have found it helpful in both my personal and professional life.
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