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Make Your Brain Smarter: Increase Your Brain's Creativity, Energy, and Focus Paperback – 21 Jan 2014
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"I don't want to grow old and feel bad, either physically or mentally. That's why I exercise my body and my brain daily. I'm well into my eighties. I know that half my life is over, and that keeping my brain challenged is more important than ever. Thanks to the pioneering brain research being done by Dr. Sandi Chapman, we can have healthy and productive minds for far longer than we might have imagined." (T. Boone Pickens legendary entrepreneur, innovator, energy executive, and author of The First Billion Is the H)
“As an athlete, I always knew the importance of training my body for optimal performance. It wasn’t until I met Sandi Chapman that I learned that the same is true for my brain. It has eased my concerns about my future health after spending more than ten years in the impact lifestyle of the NFL.” (Daryl Johnston, former Dallas Cowboy, NFL commentator, and business leader)
"The BrainHealth physical and the SMART program let me know how I could reach my full cognitive potential. These strategies revolutionized my life and could change the lives of millions. In the knowledge era, cognitive performance has never been more needed, but the distractions are great and growing. This book comes at the perfect time." (Donovan Campbell New York Times bestselling author of Joker One and the upcoming book The Leader's Code)
“SMART training truly changed my life. I can’t think of any other training I’ve had that has delivered benefits so quickly and deeply.” (Laura Sanford, regional vice president, AT&T)
“After partnering with Dr. Chapman, it was an eye-opener to see how easily brain health can be measured, and how important it is to maintain it at every age. Maximizing our cognitive functioning is attainable and an important step in making good decisions over the entire lifespan.” (John Migliaccio, AVP and Director of Research and Gerontology at MetLife Mature Market Institute)
“I’ve had annual physicals for over thirty years, so it made sense to check the top third of the body also. Taking the BrainHealth Physical gave me a sense of peace knowing that I had a baseline of my brain function and could measure any issues that arise in the future.” (Lyda Hill, a philanthropreneur)
“When I learned of the research of Dr. Sandi Chapman, I immediately realized her work could be transformational in accelerating the brain performance of employees at all ages. As the global leader of human resources, I am always looking for ways to expand the diverse talents of the different generational age groups that all too often go underdeveloped. Both companies and the individuals will be the beneficiaries of better brain health.” (Cynthia Brinkley, Vice President of Global Human Resources, General Motors)
“The profoundly effective program outlined in Make Your Brain Smarter uses relatively simple and straightforward strategies to empower learners. The program allowed my son to believe in himself, created a level playing field for him to pursue his dreams, and utilized his talents without barrier deficits. We have seen a dramatic improvement in his brain performance, and I know the strategies will continue to have a positive impact on his life and continued success for years to come.” (David Waldrep, entrepreneur and father whose son participated in teen high-performance brain training)
About the Author
Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth, is a Distinguished University Professor at The University of Texas at Dallas. With more than thirty years of innovative discovery, she is recognized as a leading thinker in transforming how people, young and old, can build a smarter brain.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I bought this book after reading the glowing reviews and the sample pages in the preview. The book starts off with great promises and a very exciting premise - that cognitive skills or core executive function is a very distinct capability from mere intelligence or IQ, that there are three distinctive processes that lead to improved cognition, namely developing strategic brain habits, strengthening integrated reasoning skills, and improving creative or innovative thinking, and lastly, that there are specific practices you can follow to see a tangible improvement in your own level of core executive function.
The first section of the book posits that the frontal lobe is the seat of executive intelligence and that this faculty can be improved. the second section is the core of the content and describes how to improve the three core processes of strengthening strategic brain habits, enhancing integrated reasoning and innovative thinking. The next the sections are special cases of the same principles, and talk about how these principles apply in different age cohorts, and in individuals with brain damage.
So far so good. My big disappointment with the book was that there was less actionable content in the core section of the book that describes exactly what you are supposed to do to improve these processes. I think the author has a lot more content than she has included in the book, given that she is a respected researcher and provides fascinating nuggets of such actionable steps, as for example, on page 99 where she asks the reader to list ten themes from a historical passage, or provides case studies from her practice. However, too much space is devoted to why a certain process is important or what specific benefits accrue from improving it. My instinct was to say 'Enough already. I KNOW that , that's why I bought the book. Now can we get down to business please", and yet I was left wanting at the end of the second section. She also falls into the trap of corporate-speak on several occasions, as for example, in this gem "Zoom deep and wide - Formulate broader novel applications with bold, deep, more strategic thinking". Wow!That was inspiring but unfortunately left me few clues on steps 1,2, and 3 to enable me to do so...and this from the core section on enhancing integrated reasoning (Page 105 - the Know Brainer summary). I had the exact same sense of disappointment of great intentions and less-than-outstanding execution across the book. One can't help getting the creeping suspicion that this book was written as brochure-ware to enhance credibility.
All told, I give it three stars because at the very least for me it articulated clearly the difference between "smarts", i.e. IQ and cognitive or core executive function. It also provided a useful framework in terms of the three core elements and some starter suggestions on how to improve them. I deduct two stars because I am still left the work of creating a very actionable plan starting tomorrow morning that I can use to significantly enhance these processes for myself in a meaningful way.