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The Playful Brain: The Surprising Science of How Puzzles Improve Your Mind
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The Playful Brain: The Surprising Science of How Puzzles Improve Your Mind

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  100 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
This is your brain on puzzles...A leading neuroscientist and a noted puzzle designer team up to reveal how solving puzzles improves your brain function. It's no secret that puzzles are fun to solve. But when Dr. Richard Restak, a respected neuroscientist, discovered new research that proved puzzles could actually help the brain improve itself, he wondered: Could puzzles he ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 30th 2010 by Riverhead Books (first published 2010)
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Feb 01, 2012 BookSweetie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
You want to be healthy, right? So, just when you think you have your physical exercise and nutrition regimen worked out, along comes a neuroscientist that urges you to add in something else if you want to be healthy: special mental exercise!

Lest you despair, even a small amount of mental exercise can increase new neuronal connections (and improve heath) in the brain -- and, for the playful among us, there is good news! Doing "puzzles" (mental challenges of many sorts) can improve your brain he
Sep 20, 2011 Terry rated it liked it
If your family thinks you spend too much time lolly-gagging around doing puzzles, this is the book for you! Any puzzle lover will enjoy it. Read about how different types of puzzles do different things for your thinking. Especially interesting to me was Chapter 8 - Time: Clock Time vs. Brain Time - where I got some amazing insight into why I am always late!!! Challenging puzzles sprinkled throughout the book. I want to actually buy this book so that I can write in it and solve the puzzles!
Apr 24, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology, self-help
This book systematically explains how puzzles test different types of mental functions; memory, verbal, spatial, logical, abstract, perception, listening, motorskill, time estimation, emotional, mathematical, and creativity. The reader is encouraged to solve a variety of puzzles that illustrate each of these mental functions. They are fun, and some are more challenging than others. Each person is different; you might find spatial puzzles more challenging than verbal, while I find just the opposi ...more
Aug 26, 2013 Patrick rated it really liked it
It's fun. The brain guy explains parts of how your brain works, and different strengths or weaknesses people can have in those areas, and then the puzzle guy devises puzzles that work on that area of thinking.

The whole thing is based on the new brain science that we develop new brain connections, effectively becoming smarter or at least more skilled and efficient thinkers, when we use our brain and use different parts of our brain together. We also lose connections when we don't use and stimula
Paula Schuck
Jul 05, 2011 Paula Schuck rated it really liked it
I am reviewing this non fiction book about the neuroscience of how puzzles make us smarter. This is the first time I have seen actual science explaining how this makes us smarter and, as an amateur, very amateur neuroscience researcher, I am finding this book to be really interesting and smart. There are puzzles hidden throughout and most are quite challenging, but then the author gives the answer at the end of the chapter and explains why the puzzle makes you smarter and what kind of people the ...more
Apr 22, 2013 scherzo♫ rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Mostly about the parts of the brain that solve different kinds of puzzles rather than "how puzzles improve your mind."

Tips for solving puzzles:
1. Read the instructions twice.
2. Assess the challenge (hard/easy, interesting/boring, familiar/strange, intimidating/inviting) to know how to prepare to solve the puzzle.
3. Try something.
4. Persist.
5. Be systematic.
6. Be efficient.
7. Simplify.
8. Draw a diagram.
9. Change your strategy.
10. Get help.
Jamie Weiss
Feb 07, 2011 Jamie Weiss rated it liked it
This wasn't as good as I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it. It was a very quick read and had some thought-provoking chapters, for example, about the location of the brain that accounts for ideological bias.
John Benson
Apr 17, 2013 John Benson rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book as it brings out different ways that we think and then adds puzzles with each chapter to understand how it works. It is fun trying the puzzles to discover that way of thinking. I am often working on puzzles so this one captured me.
Jul 11, 2014 Shayne rated it really liked it
Shelves: real-book
What a hoot! Loved this for the discussion of puzzles and the variety of them. Seems like a good source book if you want to come up with a wide mix for, I don't know, a puzzle hunt? Note that the hardback edition that I read contains some errors in the puzzle solutions, but they seem to be fixed in the Google Books edition.
Jan 07, 2014 Cat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
At first I didn't like this book very much, but once I got past the first chapter, I became intrigued with the authors points of view. Since this is a library book, but I do eventually want to purchase a copy, I will have to check it out again to finish it.
Aug 11, 2011 Bob marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Richard Restak, medical doctor and leading neuroscientist collaborated with Scott Kim, noted puzzle master explore how puzzles canchange, reshape, and strengthen brains. I was drawn to this book as a result of personal experiences.
Aug 07, 2011 Kdevoli rated it liked it
Was expecting this to be a bit better, and while it was interesting I found myself impatiently skipping over parts. Must be my brain!!
Sep 04, 2012 Susan is currently reading it
I am always interested in the human brain. The co-authors describe how solving puzzles help your brain.
Mar 22, 2012 Noel rated it liked it
Interesting look at how our brains work and what working puzzles, or at least attempting to work puzzles, can do to help our brain power.

At times a bit dry. Otherwise very informative.
Feb 07, 2016 Alex rated it liked it
This was enjoyable, although I would have preferred a higher ratio of puzzles to science! Still, the variety was great, and I could really tell which parts of my brain need work.
Feb 03, 2011 Maggie rated it liked it
This is more a workbook than a regular book. Be prepared to take the time to work through all the puzzles. It's good for you.
Mar 02, 2011 Evan rated it it was ok
It was an interesting subject, but kind of a boring read. He could certainly have made it more interesting.
Aug 19, 2012 hannah added it
Shelves: science
While I love puzzles, and while this one has some good ones, I have to agree with the prominently placed blurb on the cover, which reads "Informative."
Grace rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2014
Kathy Cramer
Sep 16, 2015 Kathy Cramer rated it really liked it
Cool examples.
Greg Talbot
Greg Talbot rated it liked it
Jun 04, 2011
Victoria rated it liked it
Oct 10, 2012
Marcia Phoenix
Marcia Phoenix rated it it was amazing
Nov 15, 2015
Nicolas Javet
Nicolas Javet rated it it was amazing
Feb 06, 2013
Andy Vogel
Andy Vogel rated it really liked it
May 01, 2011
Fran Palmieri
Fran Palmieri rated it liked it
Feb 24, 2016
Farmehr rated it liked it
Feb 09, 2014
Jae Han
Jae Han rated it liked it
Apr 15, 2014
Tn rated it really liked it
Jun 24, 2013
John rated it really liked it
Sep 18, 2014
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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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