Books on neuroplasticity and memory training

Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty: the brain’s abil­i­ty to reor­ga­nize itself by form­ing new con­nec­tions through­out life. (see more con­cepts in our Glos­sary).

We coud­n’t be hap­pi­er about the grow­ing num­ber of books pop­u­lar­iz­ing the key lessons about brain train­ing that Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg has been research­ing and writ­ing about for years, and that moti­vat­ed us to embark our­selves in the Sharp­Brains adventure.

Dis­cov­er Mag­a­zine presents a great arti­cle, Rewiring the Brain, review­ing two recent books.

  • The sub­ti­tle is “Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty can allow for treat­ment of senil­i­ty, post-trau­mat­ic stress, ­obses­sive-com­pul­sive dis­or­der, and depres­sion and Bud­dhists have been cap­i­tal­iz­ing on it for mil­lenia.” I would add that the strong val­ue of life­long learn­ing present in jesuit and jew­ish tra­di­tions reflects the same wis­dom. Some quotes:
  • Two new books, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain (Bal­lan­tine Books, $24.95) by sci­ence jour­nal­ist Sharon Beg­ley and The Brain That Changes Itself (Viking, $24.95) by psy­chi­a­trist Nor­man Doidge, offer mas­ter­ful­ly guid­ed tours through the bur­geon­ing field of neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty research. Each has its own style and empha­sis; both are excellent.”
  • Final­ly, both authors con­clude that adult neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty is a vast­ly under­tapped resource, one with which West­ern med­i­cine and psy­chol­o­gy are just now com­ing to grips. An impor­tant emerg­ing research agen­da is to fig­ure out ways to direct and max­i­mize this brain repair and reorganization.”
  • Brain scans reveal that the neur­al activ­i­ty of high­ly trained monks is off the charts, rel­a­tive to med­i­ta­tion novices, in cir­cuits that involve mater­nal love (cau­date), empa­thy (right insu­la), and feel­ings of joy and hap­pi­ness (left pre­frontal cor­tex). Even when these monks are not med­i­tat­ing, their brains bear the imprints of their psy­chic work­outs. The lat­ter two struc­tures, for instance, are anatom­i­cal­ly enlarged. Based on results like these, Beg­ley holds out hope that our emo­tion­al lives and per­son­al­i­ties, far from being carved in stone by our genes and ear­ly expe­ri­ences, will prove as sculpt­able through men­tal train­ing as our bod­ies are through phys­i­cal training.”

It these con­cepts and research don’t kick­start a rein­ven­tion of what we under­stand for “edu­ca­tion” and “health”, I don’t know what will. “Phys­i­cal train­ing”, in fact, includes train­ing our brains!.

Anoth­er great book a col­league just rec­om­mend­ed (thanks Kate!):

Carved in Sand: When Atten­tion Fails and Mem­o­ry Fades in Midlife, a first-per­son sto­ry by Cathryn Jakob­son Ramin, a jour­nal­ist and aging baby boomer (who isn’t “aging”, by the way) on how she improved her con­fi­dence, con­cen­tra­tion and mem­o­ry, com­bined with good sci­en­tif­ic background.

For more con­text on this new under­stand­ing of the brain, check Mar­i­an Dia­mond and the Brain Rev­o­lu­tion.

Here you can find more good Books and Arti­cles.


  1. stacy barrows on April 4, 2007 at 4:15

    I have just fin­ished the two books you have list­ed and they are great. I am inter­est­ed in this top­ic because I am a physcial ther­a­pist and a Feldenkrais prac­ti­tion­er and thought you might want to know about this event. The speak­er is the for­mer wife of Paul Bach y Rita who will relate how Feldenkrais and neu­ro­plsatic­i­ty are relat­ed. Check out the web­site for more info. or email me if you have any ques­tions, Stacy

  2. Alvaro on April 6, 2007 at 12:24

    Sta­cy, great you enjoyed them. Thanks for shar­ing that info.

  3. UDEH DOMINIC on December 28, 2007 at 11:41

    I need more info­ma­tion on brain training.Thanks.

  4. Alvaro on December 28, 2007 at 7:25

    Udeh: you have come to the right place. Just spend some time read­ing our articles!

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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