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Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain
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Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  376 ratings  ·  49 reviews
A tour through the groundbreaking science behind the enigmatic, but crucial, brain developments of adolescence and how those translate into teenage behavior
The brain creates every feeling, emotion, and desire we experience, and stores every one of our memories. And yet, until very recently, scientists believed our brains were fully developed from childhood on. Now, thanks to imabehavior
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by PublicAffairs (first published 2016)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Gumble's Yard
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This award winning book is written by a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the UCL who specialises in the developing brain of adolescence (defined as the period from the onset of puberty through to when an individual takes a stable, independent role in society).

She, along with other researchers, have taken advantage of the use of MRI scans to understand how the brain develops during adolescence (and how it is different to the child and adult brain) as well as looking at a number
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: luis
Whenever I finish a great non-fiction book, I realise too late that I should have been taking notes while reading it. Otherwise, when I reach the end, I feel like starting it all over again. This is exactly what happened with “Inventing ourselves. The secret life of the teenage brain”, that I finished a few days ago but did not write anything about at the time. So here it goes, now.

The book came very well recommended by its owner, so the beginning felt a bit disappointing. What I alr
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Informative book! Neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore delves into the physiological reasons for the common habits and risk-taking behaviors of our teenage children. Clearly, adolescents are in a transformative period. The brain of the adolescent is, in fact, not yet the same as the brain of an adult, which helps to explain some of their social behaviors and inability to properly evaluate risk and repercussions. This book offers an insightful view on how and why we can expect certain behaviors f ...more
The very nerve centre of the human body is the brain. Its input is our senses, the memory helps us to learn from mistakes and controls the reactions that are needed. For hundreds of years, the brain has been a mystery to all that studied it, but only in the past few decades have we begun to scratch the surface of its capabilities. Even that is unravelling; those that thought as puberty begun, the human brain was developed have been proved wrong. The brain continues to change and adapt all throug ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
There was so much to enjoy in this book because it was easy to read and understand- it seems like Blakemore truly wants people to understand that adolescence is a unique time for brain functionality and development by giving examples that illustrate her point.

While plenty of the experiments were done by her and colleagues, she references plenty of others and shares that there is just so much more to learn and know. For the most part, they blend in well with her narrative and demonstr
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Inventing Ourselves by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is an excellent basic neuroscience primer for people with a little exposure to topic. On the surface it may seem a little daunting due to the amount of research that is cited for the lay person but Blakemore makes the information accessible to anyone that is interested in the subject by not over using neuroscience jargon and clearly defining all terms that are needed.

The book gives you a good overall view of the subject by devoting its first few cha
Beth Chats Books
May 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a very informative non fiction novel on the adolescent brain. However it is academic in tone and it discusses and references an exhaustive list of clinical studies and trials which makes the reading experience a trifle tedious. Listening to this on audiobook also was difficult as at points I got distracted and lost the thread. Overall an interesting book that is up to date on research and had some fascinating truths to express around adolescent and adult brains and brain development.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I got a bit bogged down in the names & abbreviations for the parts of the brain (as well as the details about how each study was carried out), but there are some helpful bits for thinking about how to deal with adolescents more empathetically and why we should do so. That brain is still changing and growing! (Actually, it never totally stops growing! Cool.)
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book provides a nice summary of research about what we know and don't know about the teenage brain. Blakemore, who is a professor of neuroscience herself, summarizes the research from the past 30-40 years and then describes her (and others') current research that shows how the adolescent brain continues to develop and change. She focuses mostly on executive functioning and the development "social self" Although is is a bit dry, I found it fascinating. Blakemore's 2014 Ted Talk provides the ...more
Emma (Miss Print)
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is dense. Which is part of why I wanted to read it because I thought k it’s important to read with variety and pick up nonfiction. That said I think as a reader without a background or latent interest in neuroscience I got the same information from Blakemore’s TED talk on the same topic in a way that was easier (for me) to process and retain.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
There's some really good information in this book, but it's a little hard to read.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher
Award-winning neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore explains the developmental journey our brains take during adolescence and how the experience of these years determines the adults we become.
Risk taking, intense relationships, going to bed and getting up late--what is going on in teenagers' brains? Until very recently, we believed that the human brain stopped developin
Adam Mills
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting study of the development of the human brain specifically focusing on teenagers. The book is written by the Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London. The main argument of the book is that the brain is still developing through adolescence up to around 24 years of age and that this development accounts in part for some of the characteristics of teenage behaviour like excessive risk taking, exaggerated concern about peer group opinions etc. The writing is ver ...more
Phil James
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for anyone who works with teenagers. basically it looks at all the research about adolescent brain development and highlights the reality that the teenage brain is not fully developed yet and so it operates in a way that is different from an adult's. For this reason we need to accept that this places some limitations and difficulties on an adolescent which we probably need to take into consideration if we are to avoid getting really frustrated.
Well written and easy to follo
Ben Field
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting and informative, although does show how little we know. Highlights reasons as to why all science seems to change week to week, but the author give s a candid account, bit going too deep into the detail.

Not something I would read out of choice, just trying to push myself out of the box a little, so whilst it may not have been my cup of tea, I did find it informative. It was chosen based on a Radio 4 programme I listened to a few weeks ago, I also have a different book from
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a highly readable book about the differences in the brains of adolescents vs children and adults. The brain goes through a lot of changes and that correlates with the changes in behavior and risk taking we often see in teenagers. The author encourages us to see adolescence as a unique time when the brain changes a lot and not think of it as a deficient time. Adolescents are not just “bad” adults. The chapters are short and full of research that is easy to understand. I really enjoyed th ...more
Danny Daley
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This was not really the book I was hoping it would be. Should my thoughts rest on my expectations rather than being fair about the author's intentions? I'm not sure. I love science, and this is a very scientific book, but it's largely a biology book, and I bought it hoping for much more application and psychology. In other words, I was looking less for how my children's brains functioned, and less of lengthy descriptions of the studies that demonstrate biological traits, and much more on how to ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
It wasn't as focused and topical as I thought. It was an interesting read, but the scope made me feel bait and switched. I had to put it down fairly quickly because I got annoyed with the somewhat cardboard and condescending tone, but always picked it back up hoping to find a little nugget of information that sparked awe or inspiration, or even anything that would get me hooked.

It read like a scientific paper where information was regurgitated and restated to prove or modify hypothesis. Which i
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Incredibly informative book that essentially unpacks Sara Jane Blakemore’s original TEDTalk on the adolescent brain.

Although many aspects of the language have been made more accessible for the lay person, it is still a rather exhaustive list of various laboratory trials which can get a little wearing. If each section will related back to daily life examples and experience this may have been a little more engaging.

That said, it is clearly robust and depending on what you are reading it for it m
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
IF you are planning on having children or already have them and they haven't progressed to adolescence (or even if they're in the throes of teenagedom) you need to read this book.
You need to realize that teenagers aren't behaving the way they are because they're mean - they're just insolent. So, why does my teenage sleep so much? - the author delves into the reasons and provides you with the answers (there are a few).

How can I get my teenager to adopt a more sensible view to life an
Martyn Carter
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book explains how recent neuroscientific evidence mainly from functional MRI scanning, has revolutionised our understanding of brain development. In particular it demonstrates how adolescence, and the typical behaviours associated with this period of life, are a consequence of disconcordance between the rates of maturation in both the prefrontal cortex (control centre) and the limbic system (reward centres) of the brain. It also illustrates how adolescence often actually lasts much longer t ...more
Zoe Badcock
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Engagingly written with personal anecdotes. I found the beginning hard as I had flash backs to being an extremely self conscious teenager. Second part of book was interesting neurobiology with some inspiration for simple experiments, doable in school. The nuggets that stuck were on thoughts for mathematical teaching, understanding teenagers, the length of adolescence, influence of drugs and alcohol on brain development and I loved the general skepticism for this area of research ...more
Alicia Farmer
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, 2019
It's all about expectations, right? I tracked down this book to gain some perspective on my adolescent son's knuckleheaded behavior and get reassurance that everything will turn out okay in another three or four years. A crystal ball can't do that, let alone a book.

Still, this book could have been boiled down to a one-page take-away and satisfied me. I'm less interested in what the neuro-psych tests were than in their findings. And their findings were what we would expect: Teens are
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a world leader on research about the adolescent brain discusses what is going on in the teenage brain. Her research has confirmed that the brain goes on developing and changing throughout adolescence. What was reaffirmed for me: teens will take more risks when with other teens, teens need more sleep than adults, the teenage brain is "plastic" and is not fully developed until later in the twenties.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
3-1/2 stars. I learned a lot but felt that the study examples were excessive. I still have a hard time with test and/or lab based experiments translating into real life occurrences. (for example, How does following a babies line of sight really tell you what they are thinking...? How does the way someone performs in a video game really tell you how much real risk they will take in reality?! How can any study done on rodents really apply to humans?!) Plus the book was very heavy in brain physiolo ...more
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent combination of clear explanations backed by valid scientific research and evidence. In addition, Blakemore is diligent about what studies mean and what they cannot explain. There is so much disinformation, it is refreshing to have an accurate view of current research in generational brain development.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
Just really disappointing.
I loved her TedTalk about the teenage brain and was looking forward to more detail and more engagement.
Instead I got a mix of total boredom and condescending explanations and repetitious circular research applications.

Sorry, Sarah Jayne, this book did not transfer well.
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book helps us to look at ourselves and especially the adolescent in new ways. An excellent introduction on why adolescent brain is the way it is; what are those that influence them such as peer group and environmental factors. It is really interesting to learn which part of the brain does exactly what; such as analysing, memorising etc.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wish I had read her book about education instead of this one, but I didn't know it existed. Oh well. Some good, interesting stuff in this book. Some things that I will be able to incorporate into my teaching and parenting.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brilliantly written even for a lay-person to understand. Loved the explanations and examples even if sometimes a bit repetitive. Excellent insight on why we should be more patient with our teenagers. Probably easier to listen on audio than read. Naratition was wonderful.
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