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Think Smart: A Neuroscientist's Prescription for Improving Your Brain's Performance
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Think Smart: A Neuroscientist's Prescription for Improving Your Brain's Performance

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  511 ratings  ·  67 reviews
A leading neuroscientist and New York Times-bestselling author of Mozart's Brain and the Fighter Pilot distills the research on the brain and serves up practical, surprising, and illuminating recommendations for warding off neurological decline, cognitive function, and encouraging smarter thinking day to day.

In Think Smart, the renowned neuropsychiatrist and bestselling
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published April 29th 2009 by Riverhead Books (first published 2009)
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Simon Cleveland, PhD
Jun 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: brain
My previous exposure to Dr. Restak's work was `Mozart's Brain and the Fighter Pilot,' which to my recollection I wasn't very keen on and for those of you interested in reading that review I'd advise to scroll through my profile and find it.

The current book `Think Smart' is a little different and hence carries a different weight for me. Think Smart in a good introductory work for every fan of human brain functioning, maintenance and upkeep. The complexity of Dr. Restak's vernacular is minimal
Austin Boosinger
May 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Learn new words, take daily naps, exercise well, eat well, and of course, play video games.

"The effects induced by regular video-gaming can be compared to what occurs in the brain of a concert pianist."
Leonardo Duenas-Osorio
Sep 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a very accessible book, written by an authoritative figure in the fields of neuroscience and neuropsychiatry. The book is well balanced in terms of presenting not just ideas and exercises to improve brain performance, but also presenting the latest scientific evidence to support, although in many cases only partially support, their effectiveness. The author provides day-to-day context to effectively illustrate his points to general readers. He touches on diet, physical exercise, and ...more
A Mishmash of Information--

The book should be titled, Think Smart: Myriad Ways of Improving Your Brain Power Drawn From Various Sources since the author draws from NOT HIS OWN RESEARCH OR EXPERIENCE but from a wide range of sources like K. Anders Ericsson et al. In other words, the author might as well have been a priest or journalist, and him being a neuroscientist has little to do with the content.

The book is a veritable compendium of techniques and facts to boost brain performance and it may
Tracy King
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For someone who loves learning about our human brain: how it works, neuropsychology, how to alter our brain so it works better for our sake, etc.; I found this book an interesting read. I took my time reading and re-reading taking notes. I found it quite interesting and a great in-depth read.
Ngozi Omatu
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
It would be a good book to add to anyone's library.
Loy Machedo
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Books on the Brain & Human Potential like those from Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit), Daneil Coyle (The Talent Code), Matthew Syed (Bounce), Daniel Pink (Drive) have always fascinated me. Simply because I am obsessed about anything that can help me become better.

And when a book is authored by a Neuroscientist on subjects related to Mind, Body and Brain - well it becomes as irresistible as Thailand's Massaman curry dish.

The book covers various modalities which impact or influence the
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines the brain as “the portion of the vertebrate central nervous system enclosed in the skull and continuous with the spinal cord through the foramen magnum that is composed of neurons and supporting and nutritive structures (as glia) and that integrates sensory information from inside and outside the body in controlling autonomic function (as heartbeat and respiration), in coordinating and directing correlated motor responses, and in the process of ...more
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Neuro-plasticity and Neoteny are two areas that have always held my attention in the Neurosciences. Though 'Thinking Smart' didn't give my info-insatiate mind ample fodder re Neoteny, it provided a sufficiently robust argument re the brains' plasticity and the need to attend to brain health just like any other component of the physical being.
Of special interest to me is the fact that like all other physical constituents of our being, Lamarck's theory of use and disuse also affects the brain à la
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on CD while we were traveling. It was quite interesting. The beginning talks about the best things to do for your brain's health: eat well and exercise (why is it always the same thing?!) :)

He also tells of interesting ideas for ways to increase your mental capacity. It inspired me to work on my memory and concentration skills. I have set a goal to memorize six piano songs over the next year and continue learning new words, writing, and memorizing lists.

I was particularly
Tim K
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Clearly well researched, Think Smart reveals the true nature of ourselves, and through emerging neuroscience research, gives us clues on what to do. In order to think smart, that is.
It points out many things you will probably never think of, and these points are surprisingly interesting. After reading this for a couple hours, I was getting a "super smart brain high" feeling and making connections all over the place, just because of how the book made me think in certain ways. Delusional, you
Stacy Jensen
May 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Very interesting book on what makes our brain work and ways that we can improve brain function. Since my children have depleted me of many brain cells, I'm very motivated to preserve what little I have left. An interesting side note, Dr. Restak's advice on taking care of our brains reads like a mini word of wisdom. I think my very favorite new fact was that teenage brains are still so undeveloped that the frontal lobes are immature, resulting in lack of concentration, focus, motivation and poor ...more
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoy reading books like this because I am always trying to find ways of making my brain work better. Because I read so many of these books, I am familiar with parts of the information already. However, every book has something new to offer.

I liked the practical advice put together with scientific theory that Restak included in the book. He is good at explaining complex ideas in a way that non-scientists can understand.
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
I must thank Mr. Restak for his devotion for writing this book. This book is advantageous for it contains many useful and beneficial ingredients that would enhances our mind and body if implemented persistently. I believe this book was published in 2009; I happened to come across it in the midst of 2014, and there more studies that have been done on the area of the brain enhancement between 2009 and the present time, therefore, I will have to update my knowledge.
Leslie Conner
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a great overall 'what can I do to improve my brain function' book of strategies, devices and games. It is written so I can understand it. In addition to emphasizing good nutrition, sleep and exercise, I especially liked the self improvement part. I think I can even apply some of the ideas to the classroom. It never fails to amaze me that people that have natural memory abilitiy use mnemonic strategies. I usually have to remember to use them, as they don't come naturally to me.
This is a good book. I found my psychology teacher had already covered many of the topics he discussed as memory is her area of interest. The book contains many helpful tips for those sixty and over. I found the run down at the end of the book to be especially helpful. I like the way he stuck to the facts and wasn't distracted by fluff or hype.

He addressed moods as well.

It would be a good book to add to my reference library.
D Books
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was a very good read! Things that I found particularly useful were the types of foods, vitamins, and drinks that the book was suggesting to help improve/maintain brain function as we get older and it had plenty of suggestions. It also had some brain games/exercises that people can try to improve memory and functioning. Getting enough sleep, of course, is also important. Overall this was a good book!
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much to talk about when at a dinner or just in a car, I read it on a plane and enjoyed the whole thing. had a glass scotch and even a cigar to make this book work wonders for me.

psychology learning thought ideas it will be stuck in my head for years, pick up habits with these type of books in mind
May 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Good read about how to keep your brain healthy. It's a lot of common sence kind of stuff like eat healthy, exercise your brain, chalange yourself with different oppotunities. The guy talks a lot about the Wii and first person adventure games as a way to keep your brain healthy and develop hand eye coordination.
May 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
My largest qualm with this book is the large amount of speculation in the author's hypothesis. If you are going to make such bold claims, let's see the data in the text. But maybe the book isn't written for the data nerds. If that's your argument, stop it right now. No one reads a book that has the word Neuroscientist on it if they didn't want to see some data.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a quick and easy read with tons of useful information and suggestions on how to improve cognitive function by things such as changing your diet to a Mediterranean diet full of fruits, veggies, fish, walnuts,caffeine,etc., exercising, and getting (REM) sleep. Also has good tips on improving short and long term memory by doing a variety of brain exercises mentioned.
Sep 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: health, self-help
This book is interesting, but I didn't find it to be very helpful--nothing really new. I give it three stars because the book describes a variety of exercises for the mind that may be useful to some people. I spend my days exercising my mind in a number of ways, so how can these additional exercises be helpful?
Sarah Milne
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is probably the most accessible of the "brain books" I have read, and for that I rank it pretty high. This is not the book or you if you have already done some reading and want to go in depth, but this is a great book for someone who just wants to learn a little about how to improve the way they think and function. It is extremely well written.
G.H. Monroe
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I think that there was some valuable information in this book. So much so that I checked it out of the library in order to listen again so I can take more notes from it. I saw my father lose his memory and his sharpness. That broke my heart. I want to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening to me.
George Aivaliotis
Sep 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Science, minus the sleep.
Well according to him sleep is a key component of intelligence.
So is diet and dancing. Memorizing words. Rhetoric in learning.
He has a big bag of well-researched tricks to enhance the brain's abilities. He's funny, too. My brain feels a little less fuzzy.
Jun 20, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some good stuff here, some of it surprising (action video games are good for your brain), some of it predictable (a heart healthy diet is a brain healthy diet, Mediterranean diet). Well written but a little plodding at times.
Jul 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: health, self-help
Well written and practical, this book offers specific strategies for improving mental function (for all ages, not just seniors) and explains why they work based on current neurological research. Most of the suggestions come from experts in the field.
Gens Linton
Jan 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Amazing how the research of this book and Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food" both are very consistent in terms of diet and how it effects your overall physical health but also your brain and longevity and usefulness of it.
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I just did a research paper on the brain and this book was one of the most helpful out of all the ones I read. It was very easy to understand with practical ways to improve the health of the brain. If you want to know how to take care of your brain this is the book for you.
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Very interesting. Don't think the organization of the book is how I would like it. Hard to go back and find information. I find the topic very fascinating. Not an easy read, however--takes quite a bit of concentration.
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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
“Until the day we die our brain remains capable of change, according to the challenges that we set for it.” 3 likes
“Just as important as getting enough sleep is thinking about sleep in the right way. Stop thinking of sleep and naps as “downtime” or as a “waste of time.” Think of them as opportunities for memory consolidation and enhancing the brain circuits that help skill learning. Nor should you feel guilty about sleep. It’s just as crucial a part of successful brain work as the actual task itself.” 2 likes
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