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Healthy Brain, Happy Life

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,041 ratings  ·  144 reviews
Dr. Wendy Suzuki one day woke up and realized she didn’t have a life. As an almost-40-year-old award-winning college professor, world-renowned neuroscientist, she had—what many considered—everything: tenure as a professor at New York University; her own very successful neuroscience research lab; prizes for scientific discoveries on cognition and memory; articles published ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by Dey Street Books (first published January 1st 2015)
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Average rating 3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,041 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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Jul 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book seems to try to be equal parts Oliver Sacks and Sex in the City and while I like both those things, they don't work well together (I like tuna and milkshakes to, but again not mixed together). I read this book hoping for some insight into work life balance and Dr. Suzuki does tall a lot about expanding her life outside the lab and the benefits it had brought her. I am, however, struck that she was only able to do this AFTER she had tenure and a track record of successful funding. This ...more
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Lots of good information, and some interesting case studies, it's just that I never really got into a groove reading this. The writing seemed to ricochet between highly technical, neuroscientific language and simplistic, almost blog-like stories about her life. Just as I would get super-focused on the science bits, she moved into stories of her life that just didn't require the same intensity of focus. Maybe it's just me, but I would have loved some diagrams of the brain to refer to as she was ...more
Jul 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
If I could, I'd probably actually rate this book 2.5 stars.

I am subscribed to some newsletters through my local public library, and one of the newsletters sends daily book recommendations. That is how I discovered Suzuki's book. I love reading about the brain, and was interested in seeing the connection between the brain and exercise.

Like other reviewers, I was unfortunately put off a bit by the book's structure. The book claims to be "an accessible blend of memoir and science narrative." While
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Some technical learning about the brain (much of which I was already familiar with), with a lot of blog like memoir mixed in. It was boring me. Of course, we should exercise and meditate and it took her a long time to get there.
Christopher Lawson
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
We Have An Enormous Capacity To Change Into The Very Best Version Of Ourselves

HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun read, filled with all kinds of exciting ways to expand your brain power. My favorite parts of the book are these little sections that the author calls "Brain Hacks." These sections are lists of easy ways to really supercharge your brain and make use of the latent power in it.

Here's the theme in a nutshell: "One thing I know for sure is that brain plasticity endows us with an
John Behle
More like stapled together lesson plans from a NYU course (with some dating life in New York thrown in as binder) than a book, this was okay. The regions of the brain were interesting at first, but Suzuki repeats the tech data ad infinitum to the point I started skimming and skipping. She loves her field of study, whoa.

There are a few takeaways and I appreciate her research in the field of exercise and brain health.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I can see why some people didn't like this book as it combines science and memoir. If you're at a time in your life when you're struggling with envy or are really hard on yourself you might not be able to appreciate the author's own struggles, but I found them realistic and sometimes moving. A highly successful young woman realizes she doesn't have a life at all, and slowly begins to figure out how to add in the things she skipped over while climbing to success.

I enjoyed this, but there's not a
Jan 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
I didn't get very far into this before I knew it was not for me. The writing was making it hard not to feel condescended to. I want to know your credentials. Tell me about your education. Your degrees. Your fields of study. Your collaborators. But if you use the terms award winning and world-renowned about *yourself?* I'm going to quickly be in danger of checking out. Don't tell me your stories will be riveting. Make them riveting. And if the scientist you are quoting is still alive (and isn't ...more
Jun 24, 2015 rated it liked it
This sort of thing just fascinates me - the way our brain works, how exercise contributes to concentration, how meditation improves brain function, etc - but I feel I've ready better books on the subjects. The author is a very likable personality, and I liked the "memoir" aspect of it, but it got bogged down in all the science terms.
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very fun read. Meant to just give it a quick skim before bed, and ended up staying up half the night to finish it! An interesting combination of the author's expertise as a scientist with her personal experiences.
Missy Ivey
Dec 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: natural-health
This book is the result of the author's years of research on the brain and coming to terms with her own happy life. She is a neuroscientist who has studied and researched in labs on brain memory for ten years before opening her own lab in 1998 to do real time memory studies on rats. Her research results on making new memories and cell activation in rats in real time were some of the first recorded. You might want to download a few different brain charts to your phone for referencing while ...more
Miguel Panão
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Experiential Learning the brain-life link

We all have a brain. Through the brain we experience all that is material in this world, but also all that is immaterial, like happiness. If you want to be happy, take good care of your brain. The lessons learn in this book are highly valuable and important to change ours into learning minds.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sienna by: Hoopla
Shelves: read-2018, audio, bests
Read wonderfully by the author, this book was fun & enlightening. Wendy is a great teacher, telling the story of her research & personal transformation as one story. I'm so glad she is doing what she's doing & I hope she write & record more as she goes deeper into life & work.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: education-growth
Written by a neuroscientist, the book was right down my alley to read over semester break. As an educator and former psychology major, the brain fascinates me. I found the sections on neuroplasticity, creativity, and dementia especially interesting. The brain hacks at the end of each chapter were practical and helpful for readers as we move beyond the analytical to actual practice. It wasn’t an earth-shattering book and I really didn’t care about why all the men she dated didn’t work out, but it ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although full of interesting information, large portions of the book was a narrative about the author's autobiographical information.
Andrew Brady
Aug 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Okay, the Ted talk are better. The book reads more like a autobiography of sorts.
Magi Mukanova
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really liked it
Mar 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science
This book mixes genres in a bad way. It combines very informal memoir in the style of a "dishy" conversation with a friend with what I will call "pop-science". The "dishy" part is irritating because the author repeatedly lists her personal achievements and to-do list. The "pop-science" part is irritating because it reads like the glossary of a science book instead of providing actionable information as the main thrust. The problem is that the author writes as if the reader is an eighth-grader ...more
Dec 18, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a non-fiction read for all those who are interested and was a motivating insight into Suzuki's experience with exercise and brain plasticity.

I think we all know intrinsically that exercise is good for us. What I enjoyed about this book was that it made a connection between exercise and the brain, and highlighted the fact that exercise is good for the brain. We often falsely believe that once we reach a certain age, our brain stops growing and does not have the ability to learn at the
Cassandra Roccisano
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: neuroscience
A good book that reaches into the world of neuroscience and Suzuki's journey in understanding herself, her brain and her potentials as a human being.

This book was interesting, however lacked a depth and emotion that would have made this an excellent book. Only once was I really moved, in the part where she tells her dad with dementia that 'from now on, at the end of each phone call, we will say "i love you"' and now, after every phone call they have, he never fails to recite those words.

It is
Yukari Watanabe/渡辺由佳里
If you expect usual "how-to" book to get your brain healthy and happy right away, you may get annoyed with Wendy Suzuki's book. Because, you'll have to go through the journey Suzuki took in order for you to get there.

I already knew many of the facts Suzuki talked about in this book, and I was already a believer of exercise to enhance my happiness and creativity before I read the book. But, I really enjoyed reading her journey to discover her own health and happiness. It's Suzuki's version of
Maria Essig
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I won't say you are going to learn many new things in this book. Should we constantly learn and try new things to stay mentally healthy and happy? Obviously. Does regular physical activity help us to be more productive and focus? Yes. Does meditation help to overcome stress and find balance & harmony with ourselves? Of course. Though this book might be a good reminder that everything that we know in theory should be applied to our daily life and the sooner we start acting upon our knowledge ...more
Chris Thomas
Jul 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Bought this book thinking it was going to be a mixture of self-help and insightful knowledge on the brain and it's processes but it ended up lacking any deep insight at all on the brain, was more Wendy-help than self help because it was written from a first hand experience, random bits of the authors romantic life that were out of place, and near useless "brain hacks" for example a brain hack to reduce stress from the book: watch cat videos on YouTube??? Creativity brain hack: make a geometric ...more
Elizabeth Mirr Wysocki
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-help
Little bit of science and a little bit of memoir. I wasn't able to get through the book; skimmed through the second half. Still think that the book has plenty of good information, insight, and an inspiring personal story to offer to many people.
Fidel Maza
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. Very interesting the way Dr Suzuki mixes her anecdotes with the neurobiology topics. Also, she wrote an endless list of bibliographies she used per chapter, so if you want to go deepr you can. Definitely a must!
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Well-researched and fascinating. Truly inspirational, I definitely recommend it. It's a must read!
Linda Andrews
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easy reading

Well written and easy to understand. I enjoyed the takeaways and brain hacks to help me on my own journey. A great investment.
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Interesting combination brain science, getting fit, memoir. It is a sweet, inspiring read.
Jim Witkins
Jun 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: skimmed
Skimmed the brain hacks... Useful reminders... Basic.
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Dr. Wendy A. Suzuki is a Professor of Neural Science and Psychology in the Center for Neural Science at New York University. Her major research interest is brain plasticity with the focus on the brain's ability to form and retain new long-term memories.