Donna's Reviews > The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
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's review
Dec 29, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: general-nonfiction
Read in December, 2008

A literally life-changing book, The Brain That Changes Itself uses case studies of people who have suffered brain injury to illustrate how the brain changes throughout life, adapting to new conditions with amazing speed and efficiency. This is the kind of book that, while you’re reading it, seems relevant to every conversation and experience.

I happened to be reading it while taking a long-anticipated vacation. For months, I’ve imagined each stop along the way. Now, confronted with the real rather than imagined locations, I’ve almost been able to feel neurological connections withering away as old “memories” are replaced with new, more correct ones. Now that I’ve experienced them, I can no longer remember how I imagined that our stops along the way would be.

It’s reassuring to know that the plasticity of the brain affords us the possibility of a lifetime of learning and constructive change. For some, it may also be something of a burden to know that there are no excuses at any age—change is always possible. Also, there’s a certain amount of responsibility involved in knowing that the brain is subject to the same basic law as the body: use it or lose it.
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