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A User's Guide To The Brain

John J. Ratey

4 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, Popular science

A remarkable new book that shows in what ways the structure and chemistry of our brains determines our perceptions, emotions and behaviour, and what we can do to shape its functions to our advantage.

Bringing order and relevance to the cascade of recent brain findings, Dr John Ratey explains the brain's most important systems, the role they play in determining how we interact with the world and ways in which we can influence their operations for the better. Throughout, he illustrates his points with vivid and often surprising examples drawn from his own practice, research and everyday life. Ratey answers such compelling questions as: What does it mean to be linguistically ambidextrous How does a mother's cradling of her child on her left shoulder relate to the development of language skills Why does listening to music while doing homework improve accuracy Why do people like spicy foods He also analyses the ways in which things can go wrong, detailing causes and treatments for diseases such as autism, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, as well as numerous neurological disorders. As Dr. Ratey demonstrates throughout the book, the brain is astonishingly flexible, able to be retrained and reprogrammed. Like a muscle, it responds to use, adapting to new demands and conditions, allowing, as the title of the book suggests, the guidance of the user.

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Praise for A User's Guide To The Brain

  • Compelling ... If you're only going to buy one brain book ever, you could do worse than investing in this one - FOCUS

  • Make way for the thinking man's gym, where the brain is the new biceps and sculpting your grey matter rather than downsizing your backside is the ultimate aim of those who sign up for membership. - SUNDAY TIMES

  • Before consulting with customer service, it's always a good idea to read the manual. Psychiatrist John Ratey has condensed years of research on one of the most intimidating yet ubiquitous pieces of hardware in the world into the ever-handy User's Guide to the Brain. More intellectually stimulating than day-to-day practical, the Guide uses tales from Ratey's practice and other clinical venues, titbits from neuroscientific research, and plain common sense to suggest how the brain develops and manifests personality and behaviour. With section titles like "Free Will and the Anterior Cingulate Gyrus" many readers will feel intimidated, but Ratey is careful to direct his explanations to all--even those without PhD's in neuroanatomy. His four-theatre theory of mental function is interesting and the most directly practical section of the book, incorporating the author's years of experience with patients into a sensible framework that readers can use to better tune their own systems. Describing the changing of the guard from psychoanalysis to a more biological paradigm, Ratey writes: - Neuroscientists have, in a sense, simply taken over the elite, almost clerical office once held by analysts. The language used to describe the brain i

  • Determined to help us overcome our sense of helplessness in matters cranial, he has shown that we can understand ourselves better and can learn quite a bit from the nerds. - Rob Lightner, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW

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