web site hit counter A User's Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

A User's Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain

Availability: Ready to download

John Ratey, bestselling author and clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, here lucidly explains the human brain’s workings, and paves the way for a better understanding of how the brain affects who we are. Ratey provides insight into the basic structure and chemistry of the brain, and demonstrates how its systems shape our perceptions, emotions, and be John Ratey, bestselling author and clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, here lucidly explains the human brain’s workings, and paves the way for a better understanding of how the brain affects who we are. Ratey provides insight into the basic structure and chemistry of the brain, and demonstrates how its systems shape our perceptions, emotions, and behavior. By giving us a greater understanding of how the brain responds to the guidance of its user, he provides us with knowledge that can enable us to improve our lives. In A User’s Guide to the Brain, Ratey clearly and succinctly surveys what scientists now know about the brain and how we use it. He looks at the brain as a malleable organ capable of improvement and change, like any muscle, and examines the way specific motor functions might be applied to overcome neural disorders ranging from everyday shyness to autism. Drawing on examples from his practice and from everyday life, Ratey illustrates that the most important lesson we can learn about our brains is how to use them to their maximum potential.


Compare

John Ratey, bestselling author and clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, here lucidly explains the human brain’s workings, and paves the way for a better understanding of how the brain affects who we are. Ratey provides insight into the basic structure and chemistry of the brain, and demonstrates how its systems shape our perceptions, emotions, and be John Ratey, bestselling author and clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, here lucidly explains the human brain’s workings, and paves the way for a better understanding of how the brain affects who we are. Ratey provides insight into the basic structure and chemistry of the brain, and demonstrates how its systems shape our perceptions, emotions, and behavior. By giving us a greater understanding of how the brain responds to the guidance of its user, he provides us with knowledge that can enable us to improve our lives. In A User’s Guide to the Brain, Ratey clearly and succinctly surveys what scientists now know about the brain and how we use it. He looks at the brain as a malleable organ capable of improvement and change, like any muscle, and examines the way specific motor functions might be applied to overcome neural disorders ranging from everyday shyness to autism. Drawing on examples from his practice and from everyday life, Ratey illustrates that the most important lesson we can learn about our brains is how to use them to their maximum potential.

30 review for A User's Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Duffy-Korpics

    An amazing book that explains all the aspects of the brain in an intelligent, yet accessible way that is easily understood by the regular person. No need to have a Neuroscience degree to grasp this book - however it never talks down to the reader. Written by John J. Ratey, M.D., a clinical professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, this book touches on memory, language, movement, emotion and social ability and how our brain is "plastic" or changeable througout our lives. A study involvin An amazing book that explains all the aspects of the brain in an intelligent, yet accessible way that is easily understood by the regular person. No need to have a Neuroscience degree to grasp this book - however it never talks down to the reader. Written by John J. Ratey, M.D., a clinical professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, this book touches on memory, language, movement, emotion and social ability and how our brain is "plastic" or changeable througout our lives. A study involving a group of Nuns who lived on average, to be 100 years old and over, showed how this group had a much lower rate of Alzheimer's Disease and/or dementia associated with again, then the general population. The major difference? - learning. Constant learning throughout your life. Not only can an old dog learn new tricks - those new tricks can be the key to longer, more productive lives and a healthier brain. While practice may make perfect, it's new tasks that require us to master skills that we've never used before, that keep a brain growing and making new neural connections. A fascinating read - I highly recommend it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Milne

    This is the single best "pop-neuro" book I have read. It is a fascinating look at the four theaters of the brain that ultimately makes the point that biology is at the root of mental disorders, and while that does not excuse behavior, it is extremely liberating. A couple quotes: “Despite all this activity going on in the brain, the treatment of mental disorders—extreme and mild—has centered upon the lone issue of “affect”: a person’s emotional state. Since the earliest days of psychiatry, every d This is the single best "pop-neuro" book I have read. It is a fascinating look at the four theaters of the brain that ultimately makes the point that biology is at the root of mental disorders, and while that does not excuse behavior, it is extremely liberating. A couple quotes: “Despite all this activity going on in the brain, the treatment of mental disorders—extreme and mild—has centered upon the lone issue of “affect”: a person’s emotional state. Since the earliest days of psychiatry, every diagnostician has inevitably asked some version of the question “How do you feel?” Feelings are what hurt the patient, and the therapist is drawn to them, wanting to fix the hurt. But feelings are not the cause of the problems but the result, the outcome of an enormous amount of brain activity, including perception, attention, consciousness, and the brain functions.” (336-337) “Problems in the fourth theater are the ones most readily apparent to ourselves and others, so not only are they the ones most likely to motivate people to seek treatment, they are often the sole focus of investigation and treatment. Many clinicians never even look at or through the other theaters of the brain. Personality is not a cause of problems; it is rather the expression of good and bad influences from the earlier theaters.” (346) “When assessing a human being, almost everything merits examination.” (354) “It will be the clinician’s duty in the new century to help and to teach patients to explore whatever modifications of neurochemical, behavioral, psychological, and environmental factors might compensate for an illness.” (354) “Discovering creativity in one’s self can be a highly effective component of treatment. By thinking solely in terms of pathology, as if our Hippocratic duty required only that we restore the patient to some former, imagined state of perfect health, we faith to notice traits that provide not only a path to recovery but a means to progress beyond it. The brain’s processes can be utterly transformed by self-discovery and the right pursuits in life.” (354-355)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amari

    Very engaging at times, though I felt it dragged a bit in the middle. Much fascinating information. Easy to appreciate, this relatively non-technical yet non-dumbed-down little introduction to the physiology of our noggins and, of course, selves. Several tidbits that will stay with me: If you've just learned some new vocabulary words or are trying to integrate information, you have to get some REM sleep in order to truly learn the new material. Language development can be conceived as a simple resu Very engaging at times, though I felt it dragged a bit in the middle. Much fascinating information. Easy to appreciate, this relatively non-technical yet non-dumbed-down little introduction to the physiology of our noggins and, of course, selves. Several tidbits that will stay with me: If you've just learned some new vocabulary words or are trying to integrate information, you have to get some REM sleep in order to truly learn the new material. Language development can be conceived as a simple result of humans' unique ability to create and understand symbols. Ratey writes beautifully about infants' innate ability to understand beings as discrete entities with different information and the ability to deliberately share it. I like Ratey's positive spin, which persists throughout, on our potential to rewire our brains and change ourselves throughout life. I believe him, somehow, probably as much because he writes as though convinced as for the facts he uses to support this argument. I like the way this book has taught me to think more analytically about why I react to certain events as I do (why did I scream when I saw a mouse? why exactly do I have trouble with word recall when I am suffering from insomnia? how does my left-handedness define me?)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    A very well structured and precise introduction to Neuroscience/Neuropsychology. I have been reading similar books, this one in particular was recommended from my Neuropsychology's professor, and though I didn't learn anything new, I quite enjoyed the way it was structured, every chapter covers a cognitive process or a psychological topic like development. Therefore, if you are struggling with neuroscience or want to learn about it in a cool and easy way, this is a very good option, it covers a lo A very well structured and precise introduction to Neuroscience/Neuropsychology. I have been reading similar books, this one in particular was recommended from my Neuropsychology's professor, and though I didn't learn anything new, I quite enjoyed the way it was structured, every chapter covers a cognitive process or a psychological topic like development. Therefore, if you are struggling with neuroscience or want to learn about it in a cool and easy way, this is a very good option, it covers a lot of topics (most of them are cognitive) and gives a good insight about the brain without going too deep about it. It's great for psychology students.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Illiterate

    Ratey stresses the neurological, systemic, and plastic nature of brains. He argues that behavioral problems often start with perceptual ones.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    The idea for this book was excellent: take all of the intricate, ground-breaking information in neuroscience and psychology, simpify it as much as possible to educate every-day readers, and add a "how to" component to show the information's practicality, importance, and usefulness. Coming from an author and clinician as well established as John Ratey (he works at Harvard), I expected nothing less than an intelligent, compelling book. A User's Guide reads like a condensed version of my freshman ye The idea for this book was excellent: take all of the intricate, ground-breaking information in neuroscience and psychology, simpify it as much as possible to educate every-day readers, and add a "how to" component to show the information's practicality, importance, and usefulness. Coming from an author and clinician as well established as John Ratey (he works at Harvard), I expected nothing less than an intelligent, compelling book. A User's Guide reads like a condensed version of my freshman year cousework in Brain & Cognitive Sciences. Ratey provides explanations of each basic neuroscience concept (e.g. synapses, "use it or lose it," plasticity, etc.) as he goes through his material, all of which are essential to understanding and being convinced of his argument that we can change the neuroanatomy and therefore functionality of our own brains. However, Ratey may as well have physically taken his book and bashed his readers over the head with it repeatedly, because that is what he does with every point he makes. Instead of providing one paragraph of neuroscience explanation and then a follow-up paragraph or two about how this anatomy or functionality works in practical terms and/or how it can be manipulated by a "user," he spends pages going over and over each concept in every synonamous way he can conceive. By the end of the first chapter, I was less convinced of his argument that people can change their own brains by "thinking right" and more convinced that he was trying to create a memorization aid for neuroscience students. Ultimately, I got so fed up with the repetition that I quit the book. (A reader can only skip so many paragraphs, after all, before deciding to "skip" the remainder of the book.) I am sure there are other books out there on this same topic that are more entertaining and less tiresome. Ratey seems like he knows his stuff, and--as I am already familiar with the material--he seems to explain it well. However, as good as his explanations might be, there IS something to be said for too much of a good thing. And A User's Guide was definitely too much.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    I picked up A User's Guide to the Brain from a library booksale. As someone with brain problems of some variety, I've developed a strong interest in finding out how brains actually work. Ratey does a good job of balancing actual science with writing that is easily understandable. I appreciated his non-judgemental and hopeful tone, and I found some of his insights really useful, especially regarding the importance of motor centres in the brain and the connection between movement and thinking, the I picked up A User's Guide to the Brain from a library booksale. As someone with brain problems of some variety, I've developed a strong interest in finding out how brains actually work. Ratey does a good job of balancing actual science with writing that is easily understandable. I appreciated his non-judgemental and hopeful tone, and I found some of his insights really useful, especially regarding the importance of motor centres in the brain and the connection between movement and thinking, the role of emotions in decision making, and the plasticity of the brain. I finished this book feeling like I understood more about myself, others, and will be able to use some of these insights to fine-tune routines in my life to help out my brain. My dissatisfactions with the book are mainly these: after a throwaway comment that no one is born gay, Ratey never speaks of homosexuality again. This book was written in 2002, but it's still annoying, especially to myself as a lesbian. And a quick google search does show there has been evidence for homosexuality showing up in different ways in the brain. Ratey also doesn't mention the impacts of gender socialization on the brain at all. Basically, if you read this book you also definitely need to read Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tom S

    As someone with no prior background or experience in neuroscience or psychology I found this book a fascinating insight into the complexities of the brain. The author initially sets out his goal of providing an accessible read to all by eschewing complex medical terms for easy to understand concepts through metaphors. These certainly provide a fantastic level of accessibility but at the expense of a certain level of repetition. I think the intended target of this book is freshman undertaking studi As someone with no prior background or experience in neuroscience or psychology I found this book a fascinating insight into the complexities of the brain. The author initially sets out his goal of providing an accessible read to all by eschewing complex medical terms for easy to understand concepts through metaphors. These certainly provide a fantastic level of accessibility but at the expense of a certain level of repetition. I think the intended target of this book is freshman undertaking studies in neuroscience, demonstrated by the significant amount of references to studies, papers and research. This book provided me with enough information to grasp a solid understanding of the fundamentals of neuroscience whilst giving me ideas of where I can direct my efforts for further reading and study on related topics, some of which I intend to explore further. For me, this book loses one star due to being overly dry in parts and having a significant lack of flow or rhythm; I would attribute this equally between the subject matter and the linguistic capabilities of the author who was acutely focused on a highly factual narrative.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mikee

    "The idle mind is the devil's plaything"

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kally

    This audiobook was a daunting 16 hours or so, but it didn't seem like a chore once it got started. The overall tone of the book is positive and informative, as if you met a professor friend over coffee and they explained what they studied. As promised at the beginning, it was accessible and without jargon. This is a book I'd like to come back to every so often, since I didn't absorb nearly enough of the interesting takeaways. I want to remind myself that: ~ The adult brain retains plasticity IF WE This audiobook was a daunting 16 hours or so, but it didn't seem like a chore once it got started. The overall tone of the book is positive and informative, as if you met a professor friend over coffee and they explained what they studied. As promised at the beginning, it was accessible and without jargon. This is a book I'd like to come back to every so often, since I didn't absorb nearly enough of the interesting takeaways. I want to remind myself that: ~ The adult brain retains plasticity IF WE CONTINUE TO USE IT. ~ There can be a biological reason behind certain behaviours. This, while not excusing the behaviour, can be viewed with compassion and accommodations made to lessen undesirable effects. ~ The connection between the brain and physical movement. We need to MOVE! ~ We know so little about the brain and it is so integral to who we are.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stacie

    "A User's Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain" by John J. Ratey, "lucidly explains the human brain’s workings, and paves the way for a better understanding of how the brain affects who we are. Ratey provides insight into the basic structure and chemistry of the brain, and demonstrates how its systems shape our perceptions, emotions, and behavior. By giving us a greater understanding of how the brain responds to the guidance of its user, he provides us wi "A User's Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain" by John J. Ratey, "lucidly explains the human brain’s workings, and paves the way for a better understanding of how the brain affects who we are. Ratey provides insight into the basic structure and chemistry of the brain, and demonstrates how its systems shape our perceptions, emotions, and behavior. By giving us a greater understanding of how the brain responds to the guidance of its user, he provides us with knowledge that can enable us to improve our lives." I loved this book, probably because I'm very interested in psychology and I love learning about the human brain. It was easy to understand what I was reading, and I loved how the author used real life examples and then describe what was going on and how they figured out what the problem was. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to learn more about the way we think and how we can improve our lives by having this knowledge and understanding.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Littrell

    A revolution in the making "Mental problems, from hot temper to laziness, from chronic worry to excessive drinking, all have roots in the biology of the brain." (p. 357) This is a report on a revolution taking place in neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology and kindred disciplines. The old paradigms are crumbling under the onslaught of a new understanding of how the brain really works. Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John J. Ratey's "guide" (it's more than that) is an admirable exercise in bring A revolution in the making "Mental problems, from hot temper to laziness, from chronic worry to excessive drinking, all have roots in the biology of the brain." (p. 357) This is a report on a revolution taking place in neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology and kindred disciplines. The old paradigms are crumbling under the onslaught of a new understanding of how the brain really works. Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John J. Ratey's "guide" (it's more than that) is an admirable exercise in bringing us up to date on what is happening in brain science--what we suspect, what we know, and how this knowledge is affecting clinical practice. In a sense Ratey's book is a report on a new paradigm. It is biology-based and relies first and foremost on the physiology of the brain and body as they have developed over time. Gone are the artificial constructs of Freudian psychology and the very limited black-box psychology of behaviorism. The new psychology is based on opening that black box and looking inside. Of course what we find there is enormously complex, and we are, to use Ratey's expression (p. 124), "still on the first step of a very long staircase." Yet, because of the growing power of neuroscience to study and access the living brain in ways that were impossible just a few years ago, we are entering an exciting time, full of hope and wonder. As Dr. Ratey explains in "Acknowledgments," this book began as a cooperative research effort by many people toward writing a "primer on the brain for mental health professionals." Then it was suggested by Pantheon editor Linda Healey that a smaller version "that would try to instruct the public at large" be written. A professional science writer, Mark Fischetti, was hired and schooled. The result is a book written in an engaging and very readable manner. However, its organization--neat and reasonable as it is--actually detracts from the book's effectiveness because the most interesting and helpful chapters are near the end. I realize that Ratey and his editors and writers came to the conclusion that the material in the last three chapters, "The Social Brain," "The Four Theaters," and "Care and Feeding" could be better appreciated after having read the more fundamental material in the first seven chapters. Nonetheless I believe that a lot of people who would benefit from this very fine book will not get to those chapters. Too bad. Ratey's metaphor of the four theaters is a powerful tool for incorporating and understanding the new paradigm, while the final chapter gives us some very excellent advice on how to live fully while keeping the brain and our systems healthy. Consequently I would propose that when Dr. Ratey updates this book (and I hope he will; there is so much happening in neuroscience that some of the information here will be dated in just a few years) that he structure the book so that it begins with Chapter 9, "The Four Theaters," followed by Chapter 8, "The Social Brain," and then the first seven chapters, concluding with the advice in Chapter 10, "Care and Feeding." For the reader, I recommend reading Chapter 9 first so that you can immediately share in the excitement that is at the heart of the book. The "theaters," by the way, should be understood as "theaters of operations" and not theaters where movies might be shown. (Originally Ratey had used "kingdoms of the brain" as his metaphor.) The theaters are (1) perception; (2) attention, consciousness and cognition; (3) brain function (memory, emotion, movement, etc.); and (4) behavior and identity. He sees a flow of consequence (like a river) from perception to attention to function to behavior. He argues persuasively that the brain is a holistically operating entity that is constantly being changed by its interaction with the environment, a dynamic organism that is forever learning, making new perceptions and adjustments. Things can go wrong in any one of the theaters and what happens in any theater affects the other theaters down river (and even up river). What I found particularly interesting is the new approach to diagnostics and therapy this understanding affords. A good example is on pages 347-349 where Ratey tells the story of Theresa who was slow to learn, unsocial and awkward in sports. Instead of some disorder out of DSM-IV being plastered on her forehead, Ratey found that she had a perception problem, and he demonstrated how her social and functional problems stemmed from that "first theater" problem. Ratey emphasizes freeing the patient from self-doubt and personal blame for whatever the problem may be, and always looks for a biological cause first. Some bits of wisdom from the best chapter in the book, from pages 353-355: "Modern medical practice tends to regard patients' self-evaluations as too tainted by subjectivity, but this is a grave error." "It is quite beyond the average patient's ability, within the framework of...insight-oriented therapies, to pinpoint the true source of unhappiness and frustration." "Prozac is hardly a remedy for the self-blame, lost opportunities, and intellectual insecurity of a lifetime compromised by unrecognized perceptual and cognitive deficits." "We have to begin to think of the brain as a self-organizing ecosystem, one of such staggering complexity and delicate balance that almost any aspect of a patient's life may be relevant to a diagnosis or essential to treatment." "[T]he clinician's duty...includes devoting more time to looking for what is good in patients' lives, for the strengths and talents that are not yet being fully realized, and for the secret pleasures and sources of happiness that they have never allowed themselves." "We in psychiatry continually risk mistaking our labels for the disorders themselves." "The brain's processes can be utterly transformed by self-discovery and the right pursuits in life." --Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”

  13. 4 out of 5

    Francesco

    Dr John J Ratey's book clarified so many of my beliefs about learning, socializing, and regulating emotions. With his thorough explanation of the brain biology, he explained how each function of the biology of the brain influences our outward expressions of our personality. Ultimately, once we learn about our learning abilities or disabilities, he explains that can choose to self-regulate in order to manage our goals and life expectations. The common thread is through out the book is that if you Dr John J Ratey's book clarified so many of my beliefs about learning, socializing, and regulating emotions. With his thorough explanation of the brain biology, he explained how each function of the biology of the brain influences our outward expressions of our personality. Ultimately, once we learn about our learning abilities or disabilities, he explains that can choose to self-regulate in order to manage our goals and life expectations. The common thread is through out the book is that if you are interested in self-improvement and see yourself as having greater gifts, then you must search for the answers from qualified healthcare professionals, due diligence of research, and do not get discouraged. Dr John J Ratey expresses that there have been many famous people whom have overcome their biological neuropsychology through perseverance. A wealth of insight and research that inspires one to share his knowledge.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heather Wright

    This was a fascinating read. I learned so much about how the brain works, how easy it is to train (when you know what you're doing), and how one small thing in one small piece of it can affect everything else and have huge consequences. I highly recommend this to anyone who has a brain of their own and most especially anyone who is or knows someone who is ADHD, has dealt with any mental illness, or in any way falls on the spectrum of "different" based on their mental capacities or tendencies. It This was a fascinating read. I learned so much about how the brain works, how easy it is to train (when you know what you're doing), and how one small thing in one small piece of it can affect everything else and have huge consequences. I highly recommend this to anyone who has a brain of their own and most especially anyone who is or knows someone who is ADHD, has dealt with any mental illness, or in any way falls on the spectrum of "different" based on their mental capacities or tendencies. It's written in a very easy to understand way that lets a lay person (even a not terribly science inclined one) easily understand all the concepts being discussed. You'll be amazed by your own potential by the time you get to the end of this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amela Sandra

    One of the best and first psychology books I've ever read. This book has transformed my life. It has inspired me to immerse myself in the world of the human mind. I absolutely LOVE this book! I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in psychology.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    This is another book that got more compelling to me as it went. The latter half of the book was filled with case studies and discussions that made me sit up straight and wonder about my own situation and that of other people I know. His four theaters idea makes a certain amount of sense. The overall sense of flow from perception to one's inner life is both intriguingly new and profoundly old (does he realize how much that sounds like Aristotle or Aquinas?). The dividing lines between the theater This is another book that got more compelling to me as it went. The latter half of the book was filled with case studies and discussions that made me sit up straight and wonder about my own situation and that of other people I know. His four theaters idea makes a certain amount of sense. The overall sense of flow from perception to one's inner life is both intriguingly new and profoundly old (does he realize how much that sounds like Aristotle or Aquinas?). The dividing lines between the theaters get weirder, though. "Function" for "brain function" is a meaningless sounding catch-all that needed to be made more specific, and identity/behavior is an ugly hack. Better to observe one stream flowing to identity and one stream circling back to the outer world via behavior. His chapter titles are perhaps a better listing: Development (this was the earliest and most rambling chapter, may have been better to break it up and split it to the relevant later chapters) Perception Attention and Consciousness Movement (elementary behavior, and Ratey seems to argue that it is a more primitive [sub-]theater, thus it should be in the system fairly far upstream) Memory Emotion Language Social Brain (which is both identity and behavior, and again could stand to be split) Four Theaters Care and Feeding (another grab bag chapter, but it makes sense at the end as a call to action)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Honestly, most people would expect this to "just be another boring science book" but I in fact quite enjoyed it. Not only does it give factual info in a fun way but it also includes actual stories about what the chapters are about, not just cold hard facts. would I recommend this book to others? Definitely! Its a great book and interesting to boot.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ven

    This book gave me a whole new light on the way I think about the brain and really gave me an added sense of appreciation for the “black box”. The readability is at bit dense at first but gradually becomes easier to digest as you get into the chapters in the latter half.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ken Mattes

    Wonderful overview of brain structure and function including the Four Theaters concept of integrated function. Well worth the read/listen.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carly Acuna

    A little on the dry side but very in depth and informative.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jake Berlin

    a digestible and interesting tour of the brain's complexity. quickly becoming outdated due to the pace of developments in neuroscience, but still a worthy read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julene

    I read the book "A User's Guide to the Brain" by John J. Ratey, MD in the early 2000s when I was running Muse to Writer workshops.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Really enjoyed this one. Reminded me a bit.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ashwani Gaur

    Great content ..... Disregarding the fact that this is the book for psychology students... has lots of biological terms...... But I would recommend this to anyone who has read any self-help books. This would be a better read. Understanding how the brain works can help everyone to improve their perspective. And as mentioned number of times in the book the perception can be modified, not just modified but can be changed completely. The detailed case studies explained in the book are quite extreme Great content ..... Disregarding the fact that this is the book for psychology students... has lots of biological terms...... But I would recommend this to anyone who has read any self-help books. This would be a better read. Understanding how the brain works can help everyone to improve their perspective. And as mentioned number of times in the book the perception can be modified, not just modified but can be changed completely. The detailed case studies explained in the book are quite extreme but very informative. Anyone interested in psychology should read this book. There are a lot of things one can learn from the book. Some of the things I learned are the following : - Whatever you feed your brain it will become good at it. So be careful what you are feeding it. - New things can be learned at any point in life but as you get older the frequency decreases. - Perception can be changed if we are willing and consciously work for it. - And a chapter on taking care of children and do's and don'ts while raising them. - There is no chapter on habits but they are mentioned indirectly. And the point is made that habits can unconsciously make and destroy a person.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    I loved so many things I learned from this book. I wasn't half-way through it, before I started to feel really bad about my lack of patience for people who very likley suffer from maladies caused by problems with their brain. What I really love about Ratey's writing, is that though he explains the physiological aspect of things, he doesn't stand on the premise that people can't help their behavior. I added to my favorite quotes this passage: "The point to remember is that the issue is not nature I loved so many things I learned from this book. I wasn't half-way through it, before I started to feel really bad about my lack of patience for people who very likley suffer from maladies caused by problems with their brain. What I really love about Ratey's writing, is that though he explains the physiological aspect of things, he doesn't stand on the premise that people can't help their behavior. I added to my favorite quotes this passage: "The point to remember is that the issue is not nature versus nurture. It is the balance between nature and nurture. Genes do not make a man gay, or violent, or fat, or a leader. Genes merely make proteins. The chemical effect of these proteins may make the man's brain and body more receptive to certain environmental influences. But the extent of those influences will have as much to do with the outcome as the genes themselves. Furthermore, we humans are not prisoners of our genes or our environment. We have free will. Genes are overruled every time an angry man restrains his temper, a fat man diets, and an alocholic refuses to take a drink. On the other hand, the environment is overruled every time a genetic effect wins out, as when Lou Gehrig's athletic ability was overruled by his ALS. Genes and the environment work together to shape our brains, and we can manage them both if we want to. It may be harder for people with certain genes or surroundings, but "harder" is a long way from pedetermination." Ratey recounts several stories of patients who spent their life treated like they were dumb, afraid, slow, and or nervous...only to discover they had blurry vision for things that moved (so reading or catching a ball was extremely difficult), or lacked the capacity to envision long-term results. Some were tragic stories, some amazing. This book really opened my eyes to a lot of possible physiological reasons people might behave the way they do, which helped me get a grasp on why it is that I need to be a lot easier on people than I tend to be. It also gave me a great deal of education on matters of things to watch for that might indicate someone may have one of these issues. I've never read a book about neurology before, and this one was particularly fascinating. At the end there was a list of suggested reading, and I will be adding some of these books to my "to-read" shelf.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chaz

    Ratey was a required reading for HUMAN BEHAVIOR 836, I enjoyed reading it much more than I originally would have thought. His cadence and scientific insight makes this introduction to neuroscience a thought-provoking read. He divides his writing by our brain's capacities and 'powers' and adapts them to the current theories in the field of psychiatry. What makes this book readable is his ability to weave in personal experience as a clinician. He provides many examples on how the brain can overrea Ratey was a required reading for HUMAN BEHAVIOR 836, I enjoyed reading it much more than I originally would have thought. His cadence and scientific insight makes this introduction to neuroscience a thought-provoking read. He divides his writing by our brain's capacities and 'powers' and adapts them to the current theories in the field of psychiatry. What makes this book readable is his ability to weave in personal experience as a clinician. He provides many examples on how the brain can overreact, compensate for trauma, develop deficits and explain the exciting possibilities of plasticity. There are some really peculiar examples of instances when the brain has cross sensory adaptations and deficits. One example which I found fascinating was when one individual who was 'technically' blind could identify any object in front of her. Her eyes were normally functioning but some region of the brain was malfunctioning and she could not process information coming from the optic nerve. So her brain could process visual stimulus and not actually see. I'm still slightly confused. Mind-boggling nonetheless! Ratey uses this and many more examples of strange brain malfunctions to show our current understanding of perception and attention. Some great examples about Asperger's syndrome and other developmental disabilities -- I wouldn't pick it u p 4fun but it was worth reading for any class.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Doris

    This really was a fascinating book, and I learned a lot. However, it took me a long time to get through the middle of this book. The vocabulary (even though it's "dumbed down") made my head reel a bit. There were good diagrams scattered throughout that were references for the different parts of the brain he happened to be discussing at the time, but they weren't very useful to me. If I could have had a diagaram of the brain light up each time he talked about a specific area, I think I would have This really was a fascinating book, and I learned a lot. However, it took me a long time to get through the middle of this book. The vocabulary (even though it's "dumbed down") made my head reel a bit. There were good diagrams scattered throughout that were references for the different parts of the brain he happened to be discussing at the time, but they weren't very useful to me. If I could have had a diagaram of the brain light up each time he talked about a specific area, I think I would have been able to process things a lot better (though I realize that's not quite realistic). The good part: this book really opened my eyes to difficulties others may have and how little their fault it may be. Though the author repeatedly emphasizes that you can't blame poor choices on biology, he also makes it clear that only once the root of the true problem is recognized can an individual who struggles with mental problems be fully equipped to tackle the problem. I feel I have a better understanding of a lot of mental conditions and feel better equipped myself to recognize them in others and how to be more empathetic and understanding of them. I also realized we likely all have some kind of break downs in our mental functions in one area or another; some are just easier to work around than others.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    This book provides a good overview of some of the current research on the brain. However, I was a little skeptical about some of Ratey's claims. He stated a few times that a theory was "proven", but anyone who has studied science knows that researchers don't "prove" theories, they gather evidence to support them. The basis of the scientific method is that researchers attempt to disprove a hypothesis, and if they fail to do so, it becomes a theory. I suppose I'm just being picky about language, t This book provides a good overview of some of the current research on the brain. However, I was a little skeptical about some of Ratey's claims. He stated a few times that a theory was "proven", but anyone who has studied science knows that researchers don't "prove" theories, they gather evidence to support them. The basis of the scientific method is that researchers attempt to disprove a hypothesis, and if they fail to do so, it becomes a theory. I suppose I'm just being picky about language, though, since this was meant to be for the laymen. Even so, some of Ratey's claims seem exaggerated and unsubstantiated. For example, Ratey claims that the average high school graduate knows 60,000+ words, when the true number is closer to 10,000 words. Ratey was probably siting a linguist who counted the same word several times because one word may have multiple definitions and may be used as multiple parts of speech. I wish the author would have been clearer about these nuances. That being said, I feel that was a good book overall. It's a great place to start for any dabbler interested in the fascinating workings of the brain.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Scientists are constantly learning new insights about the brain and how it works, and this book is a good overview of our current understanding of the neurobiological workings of the brain. Ratey sheds a little light on what is going on chemically in the brain as we experience daily life, and also discusses the neurological processes linked to disorders like autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. For me, one of the most interesting aspects was when he noted that Tourette's syndrome (which the popular mind Scientists are constantly learning new insights about the brain and how it works, and this book is a good overview of our current understanding of the neurobiological workings of the brain. Ratey sheds a little light on what is going on chemically in the brain as we experience daily life, and also discusses the neurological processes linked to disorders like autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. For me, one of the most interesting aspects was when he noted that Tourette's syndrome (which the popular mind tends to conceive as a neurological disorder) and Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (which tends to be classed as a psychological disorder) seem to be very closely related in terms of what's going on in the brain. It serves to show that one can't really draw a line between neurobiological and psychological disorders, and that there's really no such thing as a mental illness that's solely psychological. It may be all in your brain, but it's not all in the mind.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Broodingferret

    This was a remarkably accessible book given the complexity of the topic. Ratey has a knack for clarifying topics in neuroscience without dumbing them down, though having at least a passing familiarity with general brain structure and function would certainly ease a reader's comprehension of the book. Ratey also makes excellent points regarding the holistic nature of brain function, approaching topics like the senses and memory from angles that spark new perspectives within the reader's own brain This was a remarkably accessible book given the complexity of the topic. Ratey has a knack for clarifying topics in neuroscience without dumbing them down, though having at least a passing familiarity with general brain structure and function would certainly ease a reader's comprehension of the book. Ratey also makes excellent points regarding the holistic nature of brain function, approaching topics like the senses and memory from angles that spark new perspectives within the reader's own brain. The breadth of the book is also general enough that it avoids being too dated, despite the fact that it was written in the early 2000s. This book is going to the top of my list for suggested reading in topics of neuroscience.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.