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Mozart's Brain and the Fighter Pilot: Unleashing Your Brain's Potential

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  422 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
In Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot, eminent neuropsychiatrist and bestselling author Richard Restak, M.D., combines the latest research in neurology and psychology to show us how to get our brain up to speed for managing every aspect of our busy lives.

Everything we think and everything we choose to do alters our brain and fundamentally changes who we are, a process t
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 22nd 2002 by Harmony (first published 2001)
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Misericordia ❣
May 22, 2016 Misericordia ❣ rated it really liked it
As pointed out by Nobel Prize–winning neuroscientist Gerald Edelman, more than 32 million years would be required to count all of the synapses in the human brain at a counting rate of one synapse per second. And if we concentrate on the number of possible neuronal connections (circuits) within the brain, we get an even more astounding number: 10 followed by a million zeros. To put that number into some kind of perspective, consider that the number of particles in the known universe comes to on
Jul 30, 2012 David rated it really liked it
This self-help book is primarily a set of 28 exercises for the brain. There is quite a variety in the collection of exercises, and the author has chosen exercises that have been shown, scientifically, to be helpful. The exercises cover, for example, fine motor skills, large-motor skills, balance, memory, cognition, emotions, stress management, logic, relaxation, mental hygiene, mental acuity, art and music. While the book is rather short, it would take quite a long time to try out all of the str ...more
Chris Johnson
Jun 19, 2011 Chris Johnson rated it it was amazing
There are plenty of pablum self-help business books.

This isn't one of them. A really good primer on how the brain actually functions, and how we think, how our brains go, and what works is in here. Along with Meditations (hays translation), it's a good book for how to think, live etc. Wrth reading in its bibliography is Gary Klein: Sources of Power.

If we all have been charged with the operation of the brain, this book - written by a damned neurosurgeon - can be a nice little operation manual.
Matt Glaviano
Jan 02, 2016 Matt Glaviano rated it liked it
Shelves: misc, 2015
The second of two long term reads I was trying to knock out before the New Year (the other being A Delusion of Satan). This one was always meant to be episodic -- read because I was between other books, read with coffee if (a boy can dream) the kids weren't awake on a brief, still morning. Still, I let it go on too long.

Decent material. Some very practical ways of stretching and reinvigorating the brain, some possibly too simple. I wasn't a huge fan of Richard Restak's tone; there were too man
Richard Montgomery
Everyone should read this book. Thinking is important and remembering is worthwhile. I listened to the audio version and read the book. The memory exercises are mostly enjoyable and always helpful. Avoiding mental brain loss should be a high priority for every thinking person.
Sep 30, 2015 Qi rated it liked it
Shelves: how-to-books
In the genre of popularization of science for practical use, this book is not bad one. Its tone is largely factual and helpful, without too much hyperbole and boosterism. This is not in the same level of writing as Oliver Sacks, yet it has carefully avoided the typical self-help TED-talk jolly cheekiness. It contains various instructive suggestions for improving one's cognitive function. I particularly like the "mental hygiene" quote of William James as well as advocates for reading seriously an ...more
Feb 19, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it
Good information if you want to learn about the brain. It has some really good exercises to help strengthen your brain as well. I just wrote my research paper on the brain and this book helped me a lot.
Jul 17, 2016 Jane rated it really liked it
Any book whose subtitle is "Unleashing Your Brain's Potential" holds at least some degree of interest for me. That's why I grabbed this title from the library shelf. Author Richard Restak offers many insights into the workings of the human brain, as well as plenteous tips on ways we can improve our brain's functioning, stave off degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and generally expand our minds throughout our lifetimes. His writing style is conversational and accessible, and I often found mys ...more
Sep 25, 2011 BLACK CAT rated it it was amazing
Dec 26, 2015 Toshi rated it really liked it
Interesting to learn there are number of different ways to "train" your brain.
Jun 15, 2012 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
if you want some practical ways to increase your brain power, this may help.
Maria Paiz
Jul 01, 2014 Maria Paiz rated it it was ok
This is a book about keeping your brain fit. Like any other muscle in your body, the brain needs exercise: the more you use your brain functions, the stronger they become. The more you challenge your brain, the more agile and flexible it becomes.

The author proposes 28 ways to keep your brain functioning optimally. The idea is to keep expanding and to stave off golden age illnesses such as Alzheimer's. However, Dr. Restak is evidently an academic that diligently works on his own brain training to
David Glad
Feb 11, 2013 David Glad rated it really liked it
Ideas I had scribbled out while consuming this book:
The brain makes connections/fallacies
Sort of is a left brain-right brain difference (epileptic)
Memorization/train your brain
Brain is quite dynamic and like a muscle that can be trained
Memorization on bonzai or other trees (month later already forgot why I scribbled this down)
Greek kind of tragedy of the case of someone who could remember everything (AKA the fabled "total recall") but could not have a meaningful conversation
Simon_Cleveland_Ph.D. Simon_Cleveland_Ph.D.
Want to know why listening to Mozart could improve your brain? Check out this book. The author, a successful neuropsychiatrist, demonstrates (among other things) an exceptional awareness of the intricacies of the human brain. Based on his knowledge and professional experience (which includes decades of successfully treating numerous patients), he's come up with 28 suggestions that if followed can not only improve memory and mental alertness, but also expand cognition and prevent brain cell degra ...more
May 11, 2016 Joseph rated it really liked it
This book has several useful rules of thumb, but nothing earth-shattering. Still, it is organized in an applicable manner for streamlining how we approach complex problems by mastering the fundamentals that combine to its complexity. There are also several novel and whimsical recommendations for activating the parts of the brain that aid in approaching such problems (i.e., take up magic tricks, listen to dynamic music).
Mark Valentine
Mar 18, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it it was amazing
Each chapter has short recommendations for making you and me smarter...what is not to like about that? Restak writes in a way that is informative and helpful. He gives practical advice about increasing your mental potential. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Samuel Choi
Jun 13, 2011 Samuel Choi rated it it was ok
The book provides a few interesting techniques to improve brain function but I'm not sure how scientifically valid they are. The author is a practicing psychiatrist and neurologist but none of that really shows in his writing. I guess this book is aimed for a very basic level, for people who have no prior knowledge of psychology, neurology, etc. In that respect, it is a very good read.

However there is nothing in here that can't be found and better explained in a Psyc101 textbook. If you want a
Jul 31, 2014 Adil rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thinking
Excellent book which is a kind of concise explanation of the popular neuroscience practical wisdom.
Betsy Gant
May 12, 2016 Betsy Gant rated it really liked it
I didn't waste my time reading this. Great advice and mental exercises in this book!
Feb 17, 2015 Ryan rated it liked it
Ok if you want to practice brain training.
Feb 12, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
Tons of interesting information. The biggest problem with this book is that there is so much information you cannot process it all. Each chapter looks at a different facet of how our thoughts and memory work. Each chapter suggests exercises to keep our brains limber, everything from practicing balance to getting in touch with buried emotions to practicing short-term memory.
I tried a few suggestions for fun, then tried to pick a few mental exercises to put into longer-term practice.
J Paulo  Santos
Nov 15, 2015 J Paulo Santos rated it liked it
I haven't finished the book, actually I have abandoned it. Not because is a bad book, not at all. It is a okay book with actual practise for improving your brain but lack important scientific data like graphs showing pacients improving with the exercises.

And, in my personal opnion, no one got time for all those exercises.

Jan 25, 2010 David rated it it was ok
The book didn’t live up to its exciting title. There was really nothing even remotely relating to Mozart or pilots, beauty or adventure. Instead, it was like a five-hour doctor visit with the doc going on ad-nauseam about the prognosis. Most of his mental health tips were bad-tasting medicine, like memorize a bunch of pointless things and then test yourself, or play cribbage. I don’t really want to improve my memory at the cost of doing mind-numbing exercises.
Jul 22, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Lots of good and easily accessible information not only if you're involved in education but if you want to enhance your own life. The line: "'s necessary for your brain to consolidate the memory for what you've learned. This takes several hours and cannot be hurried" does make the case for restructuring our traditional academic schedules, which I fully support. Has anyone read Hermann Hesse's Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game, which is frequently referred to?
Aug 07, 2013 Craig rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
Good title but fairly drab presentation of activities to help improve your brain power. The book was only written about a decade ago but based on its presentation of technology as a tool to stimulate your brain, it's already fairly outdated.

There were some pages and ideas I highlighted and would like to employ in daily usage, but for the most part, the book was fairly forgettable. (Hmmm. Maybe I do need more memory to ensure it isn't forgettable?)
Sep 10, 2011 Leslie rated it it was amazing
I read a lot of articles about protecting the brain, increasing the memory, prevention of dementia and so forth, and I really enjoyed Restak's practical approach. Some of it was naturally familiar, but there were also new exercises and ideas to try out, which I began to do immediately. I recommend this book to people interested in doing whatever they can to protect and enhance their cognitive function.
Roxanne Nichols
Oct 21, 2009 Roxanne Nichols rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
good book for intro to "how the brain works". i've read several and this one seem repetitive. there were few real world examples and stories in which i could relate to and seemed more scientific rather than anecdotal. the book wasn't useful for me. it is however well written and brief and would be a good book to get into the hows and whys people process ideas and facts the way that they do.
May 21, 2008 Jennifer rated it liked it
Recommended to Jennifer by: A reference in Linda Dobson's book
Learned a lot about how the brain works and how to keep the mind active--of particular interest to me, as I find myself suffering from "momnesia." So, I've been doing a lot of word games/puzzles lately! I found the memory exercises interesting, though I rarely had the time, as I was reading the book, to actually do them. Hopefully, I'll remember them so I can try them later. :)
Nov 09, 2011 Jim rated it liked it
I've been reading Dr. Restak's books since high school. This is a interesting book, but not exactly what I was looking for. This is a book of suggestions and exercises to improve and enhance brain function. I was hoping for a discussion of our latest understanding of brain function. If you are interested, I suggest the print version and not the audio version.
Anton Klink
Jan 21, 2013 Anton Klink rated it liked it
Having read it quite a number of years ago, I remember thinking it was OK but not much else. Neither I can't seem to remember too many specifics about it. Obviously it wasn't awful, otherwise I would have remembered that, but neither was it good enough to burn a vivid image into my mind, so two stars is the most I can give it in hindsight.
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Richard M. Restak M.D. is an award-winning neuroscientist, neuropsychiatrist and writer. The best-selling author of nineteen acclaimed books about the brain, he has also penned dozens of articles for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. A fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Neurology, and ...more
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“Our perceptions take on richness and depth as a result of all the things that we learn. The eye is not a camera that objectively takes a photo of the “world out there.” Rather, what the eye sees is determined by what the brain has learned. This suggests a short mantra: learn more, see more.” 3 likes
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought,” according to the Dhammapada.” 0 likes
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