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Brainstorm
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2014
Firstly and as usual, I received this book for the ripe sum of nothing via a giveaway, this time from Shelf Awareness. Despite that kind consideration from all involved my candid opinions follow below. To extend the preamble a bit, this book wasn't quite what I expected. Because of that I'm going to keep the value judgments to a minimum and instead just try to describe what the book tries to be. It's up to you whether it's what you want to be reading or not. I just make with the descriptions.

What I expected out of this book was something rather harder and more rooted in science. The book jacket says it's based on the latest research and I have no doubt that's the case but none of that research seems to have made its way directly into the book. Instead what you have is very soft and results-based approach to the topic. So if you're expecting data on brain chemistry changes through the adolescent years then, like me, you'll likely be disappointed. Instead you'll get instruction through analogy with concepts like "Mindsight" and the "Wheel of Awareness". This all seemed a bit soft to me but I suspect that for the majority of the population this sort of 'softness' is actually a ringing endorsement. Siegel has made a decidedly complex topic easily readable and provides parents with the tools they need to deal with a historically difficult period of parenthood.

Even more usefully, the doctor doesn't just dole out information but provides mental exercises the reader can perform to help internalize the lesson being taught and make it easier to implement personal changes. His text is also filled with abundant anecdotes from his own practice to reinforce the idea that the situations parents face are far from unique and have been dealt with successfully in the past. All in all this is an exceptionally well-balanced book unless you're looking for something a bit more dense and scientific.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Dr. Daniel Seigel provides an up to date account of the developing brain in the teen years, Its purpose and how adults can use this understanding to help teenagers to make it more powerful. The neuroscience concepts are clearly explained with beautiful line drawings and narrative of the key concepts such as the brain, the mind and mindsight.

Dr. Seigel defines a new approach to wellbeing for teens [and adults as well for that matter] that is based on three principles;
Wellbeing is a skill that can be learned & cultivated, that when we develop this skill we change the physical structure [neurobiology & plasticity] of the brain to create more healing pathways, that welll-being emerges when we create connections in our lives.

Each chapter in the book develops these themes with practical examples, tools and tips to help navigate the teen years. The understanding from this book is appropriate for adults who are seeking to improve their own well-being & equanimity. This is a very special book that integrates the brain science with ancient wisdom of meditation, mindfulness and compassion.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2014
"Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain" written by known medical expert Daniel J. Siegel is a serious story about a period of life that sometimes is not considered with due seriousness - the adolescence.

Although the memories of our adolescent years are often filled with all kinds of interesting and picturesque events when it comes to others, even our kids, one sentence can be often heard that a person should not be taken especially seriously because she/he is an adolescent.
And due to that, right at the beginning of the book the author emphasizes that adolescence is not just teenage period although often a sign of equality is put between them, the adolescence is period between the age of twelve and goes even far as the age of twenty-four what is in many cultures already considered as adulthood, but is not entirely so.

Using this book will primarily benefit parents because it will allow them to improve their skills supporting their children going through the challenging time. But the book also can be read by the adolescents and teenagers themselves, that know best how difficult is period of life they're just going through, to help them pass that journey somewhat easier and painlessly.

Siegel bravely tackled the many myths that are commonly associated with this period of life, which are sometimes interpreted almost as scientific facts, such as explanation the reason for teenagers to lose their minds being raging hormones when in fact it's not about hormones that determine what happens, but the brain that goes through major changes during that period of life.

On his book, the author managed to identify many changes that are happening through this troubled period for young brain, showing what specifically is cause for such changes in terms of behavior.
Precisely in this way for parents will be easier to understand their children, they will not see own children overnight becoming different, and no longer recognizable, but instead they'll be able to talk about the causes of changes in their behavior and thinking, give them support and help them together getting through this period.

For these reasons Daniel J. Siegel's book, though just published, is destined to become recommended reading for every parent who wants to help her/his child to grow into a happy person satisfied with her/himself - and better recommendation for this book it's difficult to give.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2014
As an educator and a TeenYoga expert, I found this book tremendously helpful.

We use it as our course book on our TeenYoga training for yoga teachers to work with teens as it is so comprehensive. We work through the ideas of how the brain works in an adolescent and also look forward to implementing some of the mindfulness practises. Dr Siegel has always been an inspiration to me, his TED talks on you tube are equally inspiring and helpful.

I bought this book as an audio book and found myself listening to each disc up to four times in the car, to really get the gist of what he was saying, the acronyms can sometimes be difficult to remember and I am not so sure as to how helpful they are. However, his positive take on adolescence is a breath of fresh air and really encouraging to most people who work with this age group.

As a parent to two teen boys, I also found it really useful and insightful in gaining compassion for ther dramatic outbursts and need for thrills.

The deep understanding of the workings of dopamine in the brain and the move away from the traditional view of testosterone driven animals is also respectful and honouring of these young people.

It is a real vision for the future of respect, integration and coherence in families and with regard to adolescents in particular.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2014
Repetitive waffle. Close to unreadable because of all the padding. I couldn't bring myself to finish it. He has probably got a point and it would be nice if he could come to it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2015
Rather repetitive. The style is part medical, part psycho-talk. Not sure that being recommended by Goldie Hawn on the front is a particularly noteworthy selling point!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2014
Very informative and valuable for adolescents and adults alike. Presentation allows to browse the parts of the book that are of more interest to the reader.
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on 20 June 2014
I was recommended this book by the head of pupil & parent support at my daughter's school. I have read it twice, found it extremely useful - full of important facts, information and, most importantly for me, positivity.
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on 2 October 2014
A fantastic book - This is the manual to understand what happens during the teenage years it has certainly helped me hugely as a practitioner working with young people and their families - I've realised it's a time to flourish for teenagers!
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on 15 April 2015
This man knows his subjects in all his books. Particularly good for parents struggling with adolescents... I advise that you read this before your child reaches this age and stage of development. Excellent.
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