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The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by [Doidge, Norman]
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The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews

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Length: 448 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Really remarkable ... haunting and memorable. (Northrop Frye)

"Revolutionary, clear, fascinating, and gripping this is a huge leap in the history of mankind far greater than landing on the moon. Dr. Doidge takes the reader by the hand and carefully explains that the brain can and does change throughout life.I sincerely hope that everyone who reads this rushes out to get this book. "The Brain That Changes Itself" leaves me with one major question: Why isnt this book on the top of the best seller list for all time? Gift shopping will no longer be a problem for me!"
internationalpsychoanalyis.net
Really remarkable ... haunting and memorable.
Northrop Frye

"Superb. I devoured it. The field of neuroplasticity has exploded in recent years, and Dr. Doidge's book brings it excitingly and accurately to life."
?V.S. Ramachandran, MD, Ph.D., Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego, and author of "Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind".

"Revolutionary, clear, fascinating, and gripping this is a huge leap in the history of mankind ? far greater than landing on the moon. Dr. Doidge takes the reader by the hand and carefully explains that the brain can and does change throughout life.I sincerely hope that everyone who reads this rushes out to get this book. "The Brain That Changes Itself" leaves me with one major question: Why isn?t this book on the top of the best seller list for all time? Gift shopping will no longer be a problem for me!"
?internationalpsychoanalyis.net

?Really remarkable ... haunting and memorable.?
?Northrop Frye



The power of positive thinking finally gains scientific credibility. Mind-bending, miracle-making, reality-busting stuff...with implications for all human beings, not to mention human culture, human learning and human history.
-The New York Times
Brilliant...Doidge has identified a tidal shift in basic science...The implications are monumental.
-The London Times
Fascinating. Doidge s book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain.
-Oliver Sacks, MD
Two years ago, when the journal Cerebrum at the Dana Foundation in the US updated its list of great books about the brain for the general reader, it found there were already 30,000 brain-related books in English. Aided by scientific advisers and readers, it produced a new list - with The Brain That Changes Itself at No. 1.
-The Melbourne Age
Lucid and absolutely fascinating. It satisfies in equal measure the mind and heart.
-The Chicago Tribune
Doidge turns everything we thought we knew about the brain upside down.
-Publisher s Weekly
Brilliant...This book is a wonderful and engaging way or re-imagining what kind of creatures we are.
-Jeanette Winterson, novelist, Order of the British Empire, Guardian, Best Book of 2008
Superb. Brilliant. I devoured it.
-V.S. Ramachandran, MD, PHD, Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, Univeristy of California, San Diego, Author of Phantoms of the Brain
Doidge... is a master ... at explaining science to the rest of us. Doidge is the best possible guide. You don t have to be a brain surgeon to read it, just curious about your brain. Buy this book. Your brain will thank you.
-The Globe and Mail
Readers will want to read entire sections aloud and pass the book on to someone who can benefit from it. [Doidge] links scientific experimentation with personal triumph in a way that inspires awe
-Washington Post
Doidge tells one spell-binding story after another as he travels the globe interviewing the scientists and their subjects who are on the cutting edge of a new age. It may be hard to imagine that a book so rich in science can also be a page-turner, but this one is hard to set down.
-Jeff Zimman, Posit Science, e-newsletter
The most readable and best general treatment of this subject to date.
- Michael M. Merzenich, Ph.D., Keck Center for Integrative Neurosciences University of California at San Francisco
A riveting, essential book These stories are most emotionally satisfying. Doidge addresses how cultural influences literally "shape" our brain. [And] .our response to the world around us is not only a social or psychological phenomenon, but often a lasting neurological process.
Montreal Gazette, Liam Durcan, MD, Neurologist & Novelist
A hymn to life.
-Panorama Italy

The Brain That Changes Itself...is without question the most important book of the year, and maybe the most important book we have ever read.
-Kiril Sokoloff, 13D Research Inc
This books is like discovering that the earth isn t flat.
-Gretel Killeen, Sun Herald, The Books That Changed Me
A rich banquet of brain-mind plasticity, communicated in a brilliantly clear writing style.
-Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D., Head, Affective Neuroscience Research, Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics, Northwestern University;
A masterfully guided tour through the burgeoning field of neuroplasticity research.
- Discover Magazine
Norman Doidge has shown that what and how we think can change our brains. He has illuminated the foundations of psychological healing.
- Charles Hanly, Ph.D.President, International Psychoanalytical Association
Astonishing. This book will inevitably draw comparisons to the work of Oliver Sacks. Doidge has a prodigious gift for rendering the highly technical highly readable. It's hard to imagine a more exciting topic--or a better introduction to it.
- Kitchener Waterloo Record
Perfect for fans of Oliver Sacks
-Quill & Quire
Beautifully written and brings life and clarity to a variety of neuropsychiatric problems that affect children and adults... It reads a bit like a science detective story and -you do not need a Ph.D. to benefit from the wisdom imparted here.
- Barbara Milrod, M.D. Psychiatry, Weill Medical College, Cornell University, New York
A panoramic examination of plasticity's profound implications.
-Toronto Daily Star
An eloquently written book about the boundless potential of the human brain.
- The Jewish Week
Norman Doidge has written a fascinating, highly readable account of the new brain science.
-John Cornwell, Literary Review, England
You really should read this book... this remarkable work will lead us to see ourselves in a new light.
-Mail on Sunday, England
An 'essential primer for anyone who wants to better understand their own brains and the considerable advances in neuroscience of the past two decades.
-Melbourne Age
A book that everybody should read... it is nothing short of miraculous. Get it!
-Yoko Ono, Yoko Reads Book Recommendations
Fascinating Doidge has accomplished a rare feat. He has written a book that accurately conveys cutting-edge scientific discoveries while simultaneously engaging both scientific and popular audiences.
-Neuro-Psychoanalysis

A remarkable book ... a highly readable exploration of a branch of science that has the potential to change all our lives.
-Hobart Mercury
Why isn't this book on the top of the bestseller list of all time? The recognition that the brain in plastic and can actually change itself with exercise and understanding is a huge leap in the history or mankind, far greater than landing on the moon.
- Jane S. Hall, International Psychoanalysis
Only a few decades ago, scientists considered the brain to be fixed or hardwired and considered most forms of brain damage, therefore, to be incurable. Dr. Doidge, an eminent psychiatrist and researcher, was struck by how his patients own transformations belied this and set out to explore the new science of neuroplasticity by interviewing both scientific pioneers in neuroscience, and patients who have benefited from neurorehabilitation. Here he describes in fascinating personal narratives how the brain, far from being fixed, has remarkable powers of changing its own structure and compensating for even the most challenging neurological conditions. Doidge s book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain.
- Oliver Sack, MD, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat"

Review

Doidge has identified a tidal shift in basic science and a potential one in medicine.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1003 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Aug. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002TJLEY6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #62,235 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting and readable book, and it clearly has created a lot of interest in the subject. It covers a range of topics relating to neural plasticity, which is not quite such a new topic as the author would have us believe. The strength of the book is the writing style and how accessible it is.

However, I would urge readers to approach this book with a degree of caution, or dare I say take it with a pinch of salt. What the author fails to do is apply any real level of critical appraisal to the material he covers. Some of the material covered has a substantial evidence base, some of it has a shaky evidence base, some has no evidence base whatsoever and is pure conjecture. If I take the example of constraint-induced therapy, originating from a psychologist called Taub, which I went away and read up on quite extensively following the claims made in this book. This is a treament for hemiplegia following stroke, whereby the good arm is constrained for several hours each day, thus forcing the person to use their bad arm. The logic behind this is that this will prevent learned non-use and also facilitate some cortical remapping, so that that control of that arm is taken over by in-tact brain areas. When you look at the evidence, a lot of which is pretty good quality research, this is not anything like the panacea that Doidge presents it to be. There are only a proportion of patients this works for, it is still unclear what the best protocol for its use is, and there is a lack of evidence for it producing lasting, long-term gains. A recent Cochrane review concluded that there was not enough evidence to say clearly whether it was effective or not, so the jury is still out.

Some of the education-related material was based on one particular programme.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very readable introduction to brain plasticity. The book is full of examples about how the brain adapts to damage and changing circumstances and requirements of the body. Mr Doidge lambasts the long held view of brain "localization" (specialised areas for different functions, e.g. Broca's area), through case studies of autism and stroke treatments amongst others.

Unfortunately the book lacks any critical analysis of its subjects. All Dr Doidge's subjects are heroes who battled for years against mainstream science. One example is the Fast ForWord learning program - a quick Google shows that the program is maybe not as successful as the author claims (or has been commercialised into areas for which is less suitable).

There is a chapter on Psychoanalysis using one of Dr Doidge's former patients as a case study, which didn't seem to fit the theme of the book (and reminded me of Frasier!)

Dr Doidge has no moral doubt about the use of animals (even cute ones) for experiments. As a lay reader, I found the casual description of brain surgery and permanent disability inflicted on monkeys a little shocking. The experiments have value, but the monkey's rights shouldn't be dismissed quite so completely.

Still, a very interesting book.
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Format: Hardcover
Norman Doidge has written an eminently readable and interesting book about advances in the understanding of brain function, perception, learning, and response to injury. He also illustrates how these advances are informing the development of more effective treatments and interventions for conditions as diverse as strokes and addiction.

However, the book is somewhat spoiled by the over-congratulatory tenor of the prose, and the over-enthusiastic application of these ideas to every aspect of human behaviour. It is ironic that he spends so much time lambasting the 'localizationalists' (bizarrely portrayed as a kind of establishment mafia hell-bent on stifling research) for over-extending their ideas whilst he undertakes similar mental gymnastics in his attempts to demonstrate that every condition - from autism to pornography addiction - can be wholly explained by brain plasticity.

And this is where the book ultimately falls down as a science book. In many cases he asserts 'facts' to support his hypotheses which are simply wrong - facts which the rather poorly referenced and constructed end-notes are silent on. The chapter on sexuality is particularly cringeworthy, as he trots out a number of bizarre assertions, social commentary and outdated Freudian concepts to build his arguments, apparently unaware of the rich depth and detail of research in this area which in some cases contradicts his hypotheses.

Is this an interesting book worth reading? Yes. But that comes with a warning that it contains the over-generalisations and unwarranted assumptions that, so often, are found in sloppy science - both 'popular' and academic.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stunning book. The author is thoughtful and wide ranging in his information. He brings research both old and current into his text, and makes sense of the history of how inadequate earlier ideas about brain capabilities were, and how much the knowledge has now expanded massively. It gives hope to anyone who either has brain damage or knows someone who has. The lesson I took from this, was never give up, it turns out the brain is pretty much like the rest of the body, in that when damaged, it DOES have the power to heal itself and recover. You may be left with a scar, just as on your skin, but a huge amount of function can be restored with the right approach. I graduated with a BSc in Psychology (at an age most people are retiring) last year, and so wish I had read this book early in the 3 year course. In fact I've read it after finishing, and my work would have been much improved had I read this earlier. Very highly recommended.
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