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Publisher's Summary

With its up to 500 trillion synaptic connections, your brain is easily the most powerful machine in the world. Even more incredibly: This amazing machine is constantly changing through a process known as brain plasticity. And you can take advantage of this process to improve and enhance your brain’s jaw-dropping powers - at any age. 

Now, discover the secrets to increasing and expanding your brain’s power to meet everyday challenges and enhance the quality of your life with Optimizing Brain Fitness, an engaging 12-lecture course that shows you how to take advantage of the basic principles of brain operation and build the brain you want to live with for the rest of your life. Delivered by Dr. Richard Restak, an award-winning teacher, practicing neurologist, and professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, these lectures are packed with vital information and research-based exercises you can perform every day to tap into your hidden mental potential. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2011 The Great Courses (P)2011 The Teaching Company, LLC

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not up to my standards for the Great Courses

I have some fairly high standards for the Great Courses and this simply does not meet them.

1. I expect the material to be in-depth, even if it is introductory. There is nothing to be gained from this course that could not be gained by reading a few articles on the topic from your average online science magazine or blog.

2. I am a huge fan of K. Anders Ericsson and I feel the treatment that his work received was particularly facile. The student could very easily be left drawing conclusions that Dr. Ericsson has repeatedly tried to dispel. It's not that Dr. Restak presented the material that was wrong, it's just that the holes left are likely to be filled with poorly drawn conclusions by many people. I know because I once drew those incorrect conclusions.

3. If you are going to produce an audio only course form a course that was originally filmed, you had better include pictures of the things the presenter talks about in the supplementary material. Obviously this cannot reflect poorly upon Dr. Restak. This is 100% on the Great Courses. After decades of producing courses like this and at least 10 years of doing it in the Audible format, they should have this sort of thing down to a science. There is simply no excuse.

Overall, if this is a topic that you are not very familiar with and you just want something to wet your proverbial appetite, then this course may be perfect for you. If, however, you have read extensively on the topic, skip it. You will learn nothing new and will find no new practical advice. This will be one of only two Great Courses that I have ever returned.

40 people found this helpful

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Profoundly informative.

I found This book to be extraordinarily informative and easy to digest ( absorb into my mind) I will be looking forward to listening to other books from this author/course.

6 people found this helpful

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Not my first choice

I'm always interested in learning more about how the brain works. And who doesn't want a healthy, fit, powerful brain?

I'll come off as critical, but perhaps I'm simply not the intended audience for this book. I realized partway into it that this is clearly written for people in their twilight years who are interested in staving off mental decline.

Even though this is authored by a neurologist, I was surprised and a bit dubious about some of what was said in this book. Ok, I'm not an expert, maybe I'm misunderstanding it. But it doesn't match up with what I've read/listened to elsewhere. For example, the author mentions the famous marshmallow study, and repeats the claim that kids who did well in that study had great success later in life. However, modern research invalidates that claim - just google "marshmallow study follow up" and you will see what I mean.
I also found the random brain exercises the author mentions to be odd. Certainly there's research indicating that the brain training games used by Lumosity and others aren't very effective. Practice helps people get better at the games, but last I checked, that practice didn't help them in general cognitive skills. The author didn't display much evidence that the specific exercises he references would help hold off cognitive decline.

However, there is some good information in here. Exercise, sleep and a healthy body weight are all hugely important to brain health.

4 people found this helpful

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great

very easy to understand. easy on the ears. listen twice. will listen to this agaun

4 people found this helpful

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Reader stutters frequently

The content is great but the reader (mostly likely author himself) did not do a good job producing the audio book. His stuttering and random pause during a sentence is so annoying that I’m almost unable to focus on the content.

2 people found this helpful

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Practical and important knowledge

This book is a book that I will listen to several times I received so much knowledge, background information and practical exercises that I can do for my own memory and mind

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All in one

Amazing book, informative, quick scientific explanation and home exercises. Thank you Thank you Thank you !

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Should be targeted to caregivers of YOUNG children!

I thought this would be a book about improving MY brain but instead I think this book should target pregnant women, and people with young children… this book CONTINUOUSLY discusses the young brain and if skills aren’t developed when you are young… you are out of luck.

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great book for improvement

thought it was good. with anything, we have to apply the learned knowledge. brain function can be improved at any age.

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Worth it at the end

Loved it at the end, beginning was too complex for my taste. However, this is one of those memory books you're looking for.

Halfway until the end you start to appreciate this book, especially at the end.

Impressed on the organization of the chapters

Beginning like I said is meh, only because it's technical and explains the different parts of the brain...but that info actually helps later on to understand what parts of the brain the next chapters are on about.

Favorite thing about it was that it contains plenty of explanations/examples on how to truly improve your brain (last chapters)

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-15-22

Outstanding

Read Well
Easy to grasp and apply. Absolutely brilliant job Sir!!Definitely one for the history books

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  • Andrew
  • 06-14-22

The presenter has a really dull and monotonous voice.

The presenter has a really dull and monotonous voice. Couldn’t finish it. A few snippets of new information, but mostly stuff you will have likely heard before.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-06-21

Surface level

surface level information at best. Constantly tripping over his own words and no editing of finished recording, disappointing purchade.

1 person found this helpful