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The Mind and the Brain [Hardcover]

Jeffrey M. Schwartz , Sharon Begley
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 Jan 2003 0060393556 978-0060393557 First Edition First Printing

A groundbreaking work of science that confirms, for the first time, the independent existence of the mind–and demonstrates the possibilities for human control over the workings of the brain.

Conventional science has long held the position that 'the mind' is merely an illusion, a side effect of electrochemical activity in the physical brain. Now in paperback, Dr Jeffrey Schwartz and Sharon Begley's groundbreaking work, The Mind and the Brain, argues exactly the opposite: that the mind has a life of its own.Dr Schwartz, a leading researcher in brain dysfunctions, and Wall Street Journal science columnist Sharon Begley demonstrate that the human mind is an independent entity that can shape and control the functioning of the physical brain. Their work has its basis in our emerging understanding of adult neuroplasticity–the brain's ability to be rewired not just in childhood, but throughout life, a trait only recently established by neuroscientists.

Through decades of work treating patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), Schwartz made an extraordinary finding: while following the therapy he developed, his patients were effecting significant and lasting changes in their own neural pathways. It was a scientific first: by actively focusing their attention away from negative behaviors and toward more positive ones, Schwartz's patients were using their minds to reshape their brains–and discovering a thrilling new dimension to the concept of neuroplasticity.

The Mind and the Brain follows Schwartz as he investigates this newly discovered power, which he calls self–directed neuroplasticity or, more simply, mental force. It describes his work with noted physicist Henry Stapp and connects the concept of 'mental force' with the ancient practice of mindfulness in Buddhist tradition. And it points to potential new applications that could transform the treatment of almost every variety of neurological dysfunction, from dyslexia to stroke–and could lead to new strategies to help us harness our mental powers. Yet as wondrous as these implications are, perhaps even more important is the philosophical dimension of Schwartz's work. For the existence of mental force offers convincing scientific evidence of human free will, and thus of man's inherent capacity for moral choice.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition First Printing edition (16 Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060393556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060393557
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 16.2 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,004,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Jeffrey M. Schwartz M.D. is an internationally-recognized authority on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and is the author of the bestseller Brain Lock. He is a Research Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine.

Award-winning writer Sharon Begley is the science columnist for the Wall Street Journal; before that she was senior science writer for Newsweek. She lives in Pelham New York.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Every Tuesday, with the regularity of traffic jams on I-405, the UCLA Department of Psychiatry holds grand rounds, at which an invited researcher presents an hour-long seminar on a "topic of clin relevance" One afternoon in the late 1980s, I saw, posted on a bulletin board at the Neuropsychiatric Institute, an announcement that stopped me cold. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The power of the mind to structure the brain 4 July 2010
By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Mind & The Brain: Neuroplasticity and the power of mental force, by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. and Sharon Begley, Harper Perennial, 2002, 432 ff

The power of the mind to structure the brain
By Howard Jones

This is an account of how patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder were able to be guided through treating themselves by reconditioning of the brain. Dr Schwartz is a Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and his co-author, Sharon Begley, is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. As well as describing clinical case studies, the book provides a suggested mechanism of action for mind-brain influence through quantum phenomena, as shared with the authors by quantum physicist Henry Stapp. The treatment and explanations Schwartz offers are also imbued with a fair measure of Buddhist philosophy. The calming effects on breathing, heart rate and blood pressure of meditative techniques have been known for thousands of years to eastern mystics and are used regularly in complementary therapies.

For the past two decades at least, books have been appearing to refute the idea that mind or consciousness is merely the name we give to brain function. This was the old materialist view in science that mind described brain function just as digestion describes the operation of the gut. However, there are now several books by physicians and psychiatrists that describe how patients can take conscious steps to improve their health by controlling brain and body function: books by Hamilton, Hay, Dyer, Dossey, Benson and Tart spring to mind.

Here, Schwartz describes how he teaches his OCD patients the practice of mindful awareness, which he describes as the foundation of Theravada Buddhism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating if sometimes painful reading 28 Feb 2013
By Shaz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Coming at this from the perspective of someone who has studied philosophy and NLP and is fascinated by the brain's potential to help itself, I found this book quite the page turner. Ignoring any new-age stuff, the fact is there is plenty of evidence that the brain has the capacity throughout our lives to re-wire and re-programme itself according to the environment and need. It is saying we don't have to accept whatever we're dealing with, we can address it and re-programme our brain not just passively by thinking differently everytime we encounter a problem, but actively by doing that to the point where we can re-programme ourselves to respond differently automatically -- and the evidence is on the fMRI's, PET scans and whatever else you care to scan a working brain with. The section on vivisection was unpleasant reading, but what the experiments revealed about the extraordinary 3 pounds or so of matter in the skull is astonishing. I didn't see anything that decided once and for all the philosophical questions as to the matter of mind-brain identity, but to be honest I didn't care. I got plenty out of this book without that. Remove that claim and just focus on what the book is essentially about -- the brain's capacity to adapt -- and it's a worthwhile read.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opens New Doors (PETA members Beware) 31 Jan 2009
So much in one book! A cure for OCD, a link between Buddhism ans Western science, and many graphic descriptions of animal experiments that will jog anyone's conscience (anyone for sewing up a kitten's eyelid?). Oh and quantum physics also for good measure

So - for me at least - not exactly a page turner - had to ration myself to morning reads when my own brain was sharpest - but full of stimulating propositions. Please read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars really great book 24 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Coming with very limited knowledge of the brain and how it works i found this book quite accessible without being over simplified. It took a bit of getting my head around to begin with but then i was caught up in the excitement of this amazing organ.
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