The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph

by ace

An astonishing new science called “neuroplasticity” is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable.

In this revolutionary look at the brain, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., provides an introduction to both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they’ve transformed.

From stroke patients learning to speak again to the remarkable case of a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, The Brain That Changes Itself will permanently alter the way we look at our minds, human nature, and human potential.


“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 fascinating. It satisfies in equal measure the mind and heart.” – The Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Norman Doidge, M.D., is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and New York Times, bestselling author. He is on the Research Faculty at Columbia University’s Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York, and on the faculty at the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry.

He and his work have been profiled and cited in, among others, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, Scientific American Mind, Melbourne Age, The Guardian, The Harvard Review of Psychiatry, Psychology Today, O The Oprah Magazine, and the National Review.

About the book:

We have all heard the phrases: “mind over matter” and “I think therefore I am.” Many of us are also aware of the debate surrounding the mind-body connection or disconnection.

The separation of mind/body is evident in our medical system where you see certain specialists for “medical” issues and others for “mental health” issues. One of the lovely things about this book is the theme of blending the mind and body.

Dr. Norman Doidge shares many different stories through this book showing how the mind and body work together, how we learn, how we unlearn, and how to recover from brain damage.

The one word that covers the content of this book is neuroplasticity which is defined as the brain’s ability to adapt and change its function depending on the situation and “rewire” itself should it become damaged.

There are stories of individuals ridding themselves of phantom limbs, recovering from strokes to the degree that was thought impossible, living with half of a brain, curing severe vertigo, recovering from deep depression, successfully treating learning disabilities, and more.

Each story is about a real person – their struggles and triumph, and the practitioners who helped them.

There are also cautionary tales about habits and chronic pain conditions.

All in all, this is a book that can be read cover to cover or story by story while being picked up and set down several times – this is how I read it.

The material is interesting enough and talented enough to take one’s time.

It is highly recommended this book to anyone interested in understanding how the brain works.

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