The Brain that Changes Itself
By Norman Doidge
Neuroplasticity is something I am nearly obsessed with these days.
Almost everyone I know, myself included, wants to either learn something new or change some behavior.
But how many times do we say “I can’t”, “I could never do…”, “I’m just not good at…”, “this is just the way I am” or some other variation of these?
I’m in the process of proving myself wrong on a number of these things and so I know the value of neuroplasticity firsthand—even though, as I write, Word is trying to tell me that there’s not even such a word as neuroplasticity and insists on underlining it in red. (I have a really old version of Word, so maybe the newer ones have caught up with the science…)
Okay, so the things I’m learning are small in comparison to the mind-boggling transformations Norman Doidge describes in The Brain that Changes Itself: how people with strokes can learn to speak and move again, how a woman who was literally born with only half a brain is able to function in life, how learning problems can be solved, what we can all do to keep our brains healthy, and so much more. He also writes about the scientists who worked on figuring out all of this. Most fascinating to me is how your thoughts can literally change your physiology.
Also, there is no such thing as being too old for this; we can learn new things until the day we die. Maybe not as effortlessly as an eight-year-old, but hey, you probably have some other advantages in life now, that you didn’t have when you were eight!
The Brain that Changes Itself is captivating and inspiring, and after reading it, it feels as though both the world and your own mind are filled with exciting possibilities.
Another great book about the brain is 7 ½ Lessons About the Brain