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The Working Memory Advantage: Train Your Brain to Function Stronger, Smarter, Faster Paperback – 22 Jul 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (22 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451650140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451650143
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 457,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

A bigger asset than IQ: The first book to introduce the newly discovered--and vitally important--mental skill known as working memory, showing how it is crucial to our success in work and life and how to strengthen it. Working memory--your abilit

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy McGarven on 23 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Too much repetition. I know it's about working memory but do you really think we are going to forget what we have just read that soon?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Mostly good read...just a few nits to pick 28 Sept. 2013
By J. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed the middle 1/3 of the book where it seemed the authors focused more on specific research studies and neurocognitive information. Some fascinating stuff and a lot of food for thought about one's own lifestyle habits and how those might be hastening the decline of our functioning. My only bone to pick with the authors, as by all indications they are quite knowledgeable and academically-credentialed, was the somewhat senseless indictment of IQ scores. For some oblivious consumers of this book, the authors' diatribe against IQ would seem to be merely toeing the company line of politically correct derisiveness that is common in academia and the media. But these authors should know better. As a credentialed psychologist myself, I found it irresponsible for the writers to maintain on page 16 that "the modern IQ test doesn't look all that different" from the 1917 era one that measured primarily crystallized knowledge. In point of fact, most contemporary IQ tests actually aggregate working memory tasks into the full-scale score as well as numerous fluid reasoning tasks. So, as the authors trumpeted the virtues of working memory over IQ, it struck me as a strawman argument that didn't need to be made. It was like spending a chapter insisting that carrots are superior to vegetables. Huh? When the authors stuck to data to suggest the potency of working memory as a predictor of numerous positive outcomes, they were at their best. But there is a sizable and significant body of research to suggest quite favorable outcomes for individuals with higher IQ scores. And the fact that modern IQ scores subsume a variety of critical cognitive abilities (e.g., fluid reasoning, verbal comprehension, processing speed, and working memory), I would say that it is a superior sampling and predictor of human attainment than working memory alone simply for the fact that it is an aggregate. To maintain otherwise would be akin to arguing that a single reading test is a better measure of academic achievement generally than is a measure that looks at math, writing and reading altogether.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Feeling smarter already! 5 Aug. 2013
By Annie O'Regan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I had never heard of "working memory" before and was shocked at how important it is for overall success in today's world--at work and at home. What I liked most about this book is that it is fun to read and everything has a practical application. I've already started practicing some of the exercises and am seeing some results in terms of being able to focus better at work rather than feeling so scattered all the time.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Potentially useful information 2 Aug. 2013
By J. Zartman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The authors of this book both possess impressive credentials in the area of working memory, and this book should prove useful to educators. They make a good case for considering working memory a better indicator of capability than the IQ test, and the back of the book houses a good "quick hits manual," which recaps the exercises scattered throughout the book, an extensive bibliography, and a good index, all of which enhance its value as a resource.

That said, I didn't resonate well with this book. Sweeping claims to help nearly every problem under the sun strike me as arrogant and make me skeptical. A link between working memory and any given problem does not necessarily establish the cause of the problem nor dictate every resolution. Surely their suggestions can help in a variety of situations, and the tools they have developed and advertise throughout the book could be valuable resources, but I cannot believe that they are the total answer to every need. I particularly disliked the chapter on designing the world for working memory. Some of their suggestions seemed so unrealistic or impractical that I wondered why they included them, and their suggestions for how to run a preschool and how to teach children to read made me cringe. There's more than one way to skin a cat, and children differ in emotional makeup and outlook to such an extent that I don't believe that any particular method ought always to be employed.

I believe that the Alloways are good researchers, but they slipped in choosing Mozart as an example of the need for composers to spend "hours and hours practicing scales and learning how to compose." (Page 249) This is true of many composers but not Mozart. Something else that bothered me was that twice the authors dismissed the results of studies that ran counter to their beliefs. Once on page 176 in reference to World of Warcraft, and on page 238 in reference to the affect of nicotine.

Overall I'd say this book can be useful as a resource, and can encourage some interesting mind challenges, but it isn't quite the end all and be all that the hype about the book suggests.

I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent resource for teachers,inteventionist and parents! 17 Dec. 2013
By Carol T. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love how Tracy and Ross bring understanding to the complexity of working memory. The summary of research and practical exercises given are applicable to all ages and abilities. This is a "Must Have" resource for anyone who believes that cognitive abilities can be increased.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A little bit one sided and biased 29 Dec. 2013
By DaddyRead.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have read a lot of books that present new ideas and theories to explain the intractable problems people suffer from. In this case, attention deficit disorder. There is a theory that a working memory deficit is a major cause ADD. This book presents a cure: improve your working memory by working on a computer problem. Sounds good, except the author Tracy Alloway has only been able to show that the program developed by her husband, Jungle Memory is successful.

Other research has produced mixed results as to whether working memory can be improved to the extent that it helps children in academic setting. What really bugs me is that this book seems to promote a product that was not developed independently and that was not validated independently.

Try The Learning Brain: Memory and Brain Development in Children by Torkel Klingberg for a more unbiased approach.
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