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351 Norman Doidge: The Brain That Changes Itself

Exploring the concept of neuroplasticity, this book reveals the brain’s remarkable ability to rewire and adapt throughout life.



"The Brain That Changes Itself" unveils groundbreaking discoveries in neuroscience, demonstrating how the brain can reorganize itself and overcome limitations through neuroplasticity. It challenges the traditional view of the brain as fixed and explores the implications for healing, learning, and personal transformation.


Title: "The Brain That Changes Itself"

Author: Norman Doidge

Publishing Year: 2007

Publisher: Penguin Books

Length in Hours: 11 hours and 25 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Neuroplasticity: The brain's capacity to change its structure and function is not limited to childhood but persists throughout life.
  2. Rehabilitation and Recovery: Stories of individuals overcoming physical and neurological challenges through neuroplasticity provide hope and inspiration.
  3. Learning and Education: Understanding the brain's plasticity can revolutionize educational practices, optimizing learning experiences for all.
  4. Mental Health and Neurological Disorders: Neuroplasticity offers new possibilities for treating conditions such as stroke, autism, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  5. Personal Transformation: By harnessing the power of neuroplasticity, individuals can reshape their brains, leading to personal growth and self-improvement.

5 funny quotes

  1. "It turns out the old adage 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks' doesn't apply to the brain!"
  2. "Brains are like playdough – constantly molding and reshaping in response to our experiences."
  3. "Who needs a personal trainer when you have neuroplasticity? Exercise your brain and watch it grow stronger!"
  4. "The brain: the ultimate multitasker – it can learn, unlearn, and relearn simultaneously!"
  5. "Neuroplasticity: the brain's version of 'Choose Your Own Adventure' – you have the power to rewrite your story!"

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The brain can change its own structure and function in response to mental experience."
  2. "Neurons that fire together, wire together."
  3. "What is unique about the brain is not its physical abilities but rather its ability to develop and improve itself."
  4. "Our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains."
  5. "Neuroplasticity is a property of the brain that accounts for its adaptability."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing the potential of neuroplasticity for rehabilitation with the ethical implications of cognitive enhancement.
  2. The tension between the plasticity of the brain and the impact of external factors such as culture, society, and environment on neural development.
  3. The challenge of overcoming deeply ingrained patterns and habits through neuroplasticity.
  4. The role of neuroplasticity in addiction and the potential for rewiring the brain to break free from addictive behaviors.
  5. The debate between nature and nurture: How much of our brain's plasticity is predetermined by genetics, and how much is shaped by our experiences?

5 examples

  1. Phineas Gage: A historical case study of a railroad worker who experienced a dramatic personality change after a brain injury, highlighting the brain's adaptability.
  2. Barbara Arrowsmith-Young: An individual who developed innovative cognitive exercises to overcome her learning disabilities and transform her brain.
  3. Michael Merzenich: A neuroscientist who pioneered the concept of neuroplasticity and developed brain training programs to improve cognitive functions.
  4. Jill Bolte Taylor: A neuroscientist who experienced a stroke and documented her journey of recovery, showcasing the brain's ability to rewire itself.
  5. Moshe Feldenkrais: The creator of the Feldenkrais Method, a system of movement and awareness exercises that promotes neuroplasticity and motor learning.

Referenced books

  1. "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" by Oliver Sacks
  2. "Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind" by V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee
  3. "Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves" by Sharon Begley
  4. "The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human" by V.S. Ramachandran
  5. "Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are" by Joseph LeDoux

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"The brain: the ultimate multitasker – it can learn, unlearn, and relearn simultaneously!"

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