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Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,779 ratings  ·  149 reviews
Is it really possible to change the structure and function of the brain, and in so doing alter how we think and feel? The answer is a resounding yes. In late 2004, leading Western scientists joined the Dalai Lama at his home in Dharamsala, India, to address this very question–and in the process brought about a revolution in our understanding of the human mind. In this fasc ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by Ballantine Books (first published 2007)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  1,779 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Start your review of Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves
Sep 27, 2007 rated it it was ok
The content -- about neuroplasticity and the effects of meditation on the brain -- is very interesting. But this book is written in an irritating pop style that under-explains the science and boils everything down to "Scientist A was talking to Scientist B and then he had an idea that would change everything." Extremely skimmable and if you'd never read about these ideas before, maybe a good intro. But I've read better books on the subject. And her lengthy discussions of horrific animal experime ...more
Mar 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, another book with a great deal of information in it, and all fascinating to me. This is another that deals with neuroplasticity of the brain, but the author comes from a Buddhist background, so the whole discussion centers around the various meetings of the Mind and Life Institute, where various scientists or scholars in the fields of neurology and neurogenics come together with the Dalai Lama and his associates to speak of how the latest scientific pursuits in the field of brain science ma ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book about neuroplasticity and the way scientists discovered the level of neuroplasticity within the human brain, and the continuing development of synapses and brain growth throughout a human's life. It's as much about the careful progress of scientific method as about its subject matter--it's not enough to "know" something. In science, you have to take all the intermediate steps, to show the strong chain of your objective research. So it was slow but thorough thorough thorough. And I skimmed ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2011
This is a jumbled mess of a book. There are plenty of positives: Sharon Begley, science journalist for Newsweek, is an impeccable researcher, as the 13 pages worth of works cited notes will affirm. The overall message of the book is clear: while adult minds are not as flexible as children's minds, neuroplasticity is valid. You can change your brain by focused and repeated attention on changing your thoughts. Unfortunately, this jewel of material is good for a three or four-part newspaper column, ...more
Feb 03, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a pretty interesting book about the research on brain plasticity by the science journalist Sharon Begley. It focuses on a number of recent studies suggesting that the physical structure of the brain can change in response to experiences, sensory and cognitive practices. Perhaps the most radical of these are Richard Davidson's investigations into the effects of meditation on the brains of Buddhist monks. Other researchers show that cognitive therapy, combined with meditation, can effectiv ...more
Heidi Thorsen
So far, this is the best book I've read about the brain. It describes various experiments on neuroplasticity and the general function of the brain and brainwaves, and the results of the experiments. Remember how we've all been told that once brain cells die, they don't regenerate? That's wrong. They totally DO regenerate, even in people in their 80s.

And although many brain inefficiencies such as depression, ADD, anxiety, OCD, etc. are largely influenced by genetics (certain people are born predi
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cognizant
Begley spends 250 pages explaining what I assumed was common knowledge - that adult neuroplasticity exists. She does a good job explaining the history of scientific inquiry into the concept of adult neuroplasticity. However, this explanation is targeted to those who do not have significant scientific background. Second, her emphasis is on history. The majority of the book focuses on the progression of Western scientific understanding of neuroplasticity through years of research.

The preface of t
Nov 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who is interested in meditation
Recommended to Donna by: Ellen Grace Obrien
This author shares the history and background on neuroplasitcity - the ability of the brain to generate new neurons and new connections. It starts with a lot of research that has been done over the last century and ends up with what the Dalai Lama has done with science to study how meditation changes the brain.
Meditation can help us reduce stress, overcome obsessive compulsion and some physical conditions.
It is very well written and a must read for those who want to make real change in themselve
Aug 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I found this book a great intro to neuroplasticity. I read "The Mind and the Brain" first, so I was already familiar with some of the experiments and the concept, but the two books make for excellent companions. I can understand how some are turned off by the "self-help"-style title, and how the content is different than this, but for me the book was inspirational on another level than some trite self-help book. I've seen a book out there that fits this bill, but nowhere on its jacket does it me ...more
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Having recently finished The Universe in a Single Atom, I was quite interested in reading Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain. It was an excellent companion piece to another book I'm currently reading on neuroplasticity, The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. Many of the case studies presented in The Brain appear in Train Your Mind and it was intriguing to see the impact that these cases have had on research in the field of neuroscience.

B.  Barron
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: neuroscience, audio
A little preachy, a little dogmatic for Buddhism – but that’s fair considering it is a project encouraged by the Dalai Lama. I also have to agree with the other reviewers who point out this is not an in-depth study but more of an introduction. Also bear in mind that I listened to the audio book, which is a different experience compared to reading.

Having prefaced as such, this is a great introduction to the topic. It’s interesting, entertaining, and informative. It definitely gets one of my rare
Jul 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A book about mindfulness and neuroplasticity, a new concept; Buddhism and science interface! Several of the monks who had been practicing meditation for years and who were approached to undergo MRIs did not understand the reason for proving what they already knew. They kept imploring the researchers to 'try meditation'. The monks find truth from the inside out, and the west is trying to prove truth from the outside in. Interesting and thought provoking.
Laurent Videau
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Up to very recently scientists believed the brain can not be rewired and dedicated spaces normally used for specific functions retrained to do other things;

Very interesting experiments done on animals and humans. Captivating. Lots of hope for the future therapies of brain damage.
Steven Woloszyk - (Wa-LUSH-ick)
This book, written by Sharon Begley, is a compilation of the findings of the 12th Mind and Life Dialogue of 2004.

The Mind and Life Dialogues, now known as the Mind and Life Institute founded in 1991, is a collaboration of scientists, psychologists, and his holiness, the Dalai Lama.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, expressed an interest in modern science and entrepreneur R. Adam Engle and neuroscientist Francisco Varela took notice and initiated the first dialogue in 1984.

There have been a tot
Rhonda Sue
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is all about neuroplasticity or as I'll refer to it as NP. The author discusses scientific studies in animals, rats, monkeys, birds, and humans supporting the theory that your brain can change and isn't set at birth. The book also looks to bridge Buddhism and neuroscience. The Dalai Lama has regular retreats with top scientists and Buddhist monks in an effort to learn more about how the two are compatible. The Mind and Life Institute is the organization that conducts this program.

Edric Subur
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
“The environment and our experiences change our brain, so who you are as a person changes by virtue of the environment you live in and the experiences you have.”

Key takeaways:
1. Our mental capacity and behaviours are not determined by our anatomy or genes but rather our perceptions and experiences. Connections between one neurone and another are the physical manifestation of memories. So the brain undergoes continuous physical change based on how we translate the outside world into our inner exp
Jerry Wall
Dec 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Regardless of what we used to think about the way the brain works or stops working, we can slow down the deteriorating of some brain functions by making changes in our thinking. Those born with hearing or seeing impairments can improve their brains
Thinking is the key to change in brain, directed thinking can reprogram parts of brain normally used for vision to being used for hearing. etc. ghost limb portions of brain or giving rise to feelings related to the limb can be reprogra
Sep 08, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting look at recent (well, recent as of ten years ago when the book was published) scientific research exploring the plasticity of the adult brain... And it turns out it is much, much more plastic than western science believed for a long time. The book also explores overlap with Buddhist philosophy, which has long held that the human mind has the ability to better itself through training.

Exciting implications for mental disorders, those with insecure attachment styles, aging, and real
sami al-khalili
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Genes are not destiny. Our genes, and thus their effects on the brain, are more plastic than we ever dreamed".

This outstanding, neurologically stimulating book illustrates with intricate examples and studies how plastic the brain really is. This gives hope to the millions that suffer with depression, motor deficiencies, and learning disabilities. It's possible to overcome adversities with mental conditioning and applied physical training with a determined mind that believes it can truly become
Maurice Rubino
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Making the Brain Work With You

This book debunks the theory your character, health, well-being, emotions are determined at birth. It provides scientific proof the brain is not a rigid, mapped out part of your body but that has the plasticity to evolve and adapt throughout your lifetime. I highly recommend this book to get you thinking not only about your long term physical health but your mental health as well
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Long stories. The end of each chapter summarizes some key points, which are worth taking note.
Not exactly a self-help book, which the title may mislead, but a book that gives you some interesting studies and conclusion of how our mind and brain works.
NG Sai Prasanth
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really insightful on how brain develops and reacts
hemlet kiai
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mylibrary
an insightful reading on the power of meditation. how mental training can change the brain makeup. recommended reading.
Tonya Aiossa
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone with a brain.
Recommended to Tonya by: A kind woman at Vibrant Brains in San Francisco
I bought this book at the brain gym called "Vibrant Brains" in San Francisco's Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood. Vibrant Brains brain gym has a nice little library devoted to the brain and what you can do to enhance its function, particularly your own cognitive abilities, in order to "stay mentally fit." Since "body" gyms have taken off as a way to look good and be healthier, I think it's only natural that we start taking a look at our brain health.

As I embarked on a week's journey full of pu
Dec 20, 2009 rated it liked it
The book is a report from discussions held between Western scientists and the Dalai Lama at the latest (2004) Mind and Life Institute conference in Dharamsala, India, where the Dalai Lama has his residence. The topic of the summit was neuroplasticity, or the brain’s capacity to change. In each chapter, Begley reports on what the various scientists told the Dalai Lama on the topic. There is a lot of interesting research presented including the impact of voluntary activity on neurogenesis, cogniti ...more
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, 2008, nonfiction
Sharon Begley covers a large swath of the most-recent research into brain plasticity, and does it in the context of the Dalai Lama's yearly gathering of scientists for the Mind Life Institute. Although it's a lot of material, Begley does a good job of organizing this book, so the reader follows the scientific community's journey from the old dogma that brains are fixed at age three to the current understanding that our brains remain plastic throughout life.

Full disclosure: I'm a true believer in
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This fascinating book came highly recommended. For the past few months it was part of my “snippet reading.” I only read a few pages at a time in order to digest the powerful ideas presented.

Sharon Begley, a science writer for Newsweek, writes about neuroplasticity, ways that the brain can adapt, grow, and heal.

The foreword by the Dalai Lama references the Mind and Life Conferences that have explored connections between Buddhism and modern science. Begley documents the findings of many studies
Mar 26, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This book was recommended to me by a friend, who loved it. I was intrigued by the idea of neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain to change in response to experience, so I decided to give it a try. In some ways, I think that I would have been better reading a comprehensive article about neuroplasticity rather than a whole book. It was very readable, but very scientific with lots of brain research and brain studies described in detail. It's pretty cool to think about all of the things that t ...more
Ann M
Dec 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Finding this interesting on the subject of neuroplasticity. The brain's areas are dedicated to certain functions represented by, say, hearing. Hearing is apparently used to help figure out what is going on to either side of us -- as if that is the brain's purpose, not hearing per se. Deaf people have better peripheral vision, to use the eyes for this purpose. The brain also adapts to deafness; the area of the brain used for hearing/side observation gets involved in peripheral vision, where it is ...more
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Easy read which has, for me, provided some impetus to go out and look at this burgeoning field of neurogenesis/neuroplasticity in psychology. Fascinating stuff, however, there are better descriptions of what is happening in the field than this. Begley does not have the scientific background to provide the significance of new data. She is a journalist and provides a bias and overstates the "breakthroughs" that this field is providing. Often I found myself rolling my eyes to her descriptions of da ...more
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