• Whole Brain Living

  • The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life
  • By: Jill Bolte Taylor PhD
  • Narrated by: Jill Bolte Taylor PhD
  • Length: 11 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (279 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of My Stroke of Insight blends neuroanatomy with psychology to show how we can short-circuit emotional reactivity and find our way to peace.

For half a century, we have been trained to believe that our right brain hemisphere is our emotional brain, while our left brain houses our rational thinking. Now neuroscience shows that it's not that simple: In fact, our emotional limbic tissue is evenly divided between our two hemispheres. Consequently, each hemisphere has both an emotional brain and a thinking brain. In this groundbreaking new book, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor presents these four distinct modules of cells as four characters that make up who we are: Character One, Left Thinking; Character Two, Left Emotion; Character Three, Right Emotion; and Character Four, Right Thinking.

Everything we think, feel, or do is dependent upon brain cells to perform that function. Since each of the Four Characters stems from specific groups of cells that feel unique inside of our body, they each display particular skills, feel specific emotions, or think distinctive thoughts. In Whole Brain Living, Dr. Taylor shows us how to get acquainted with our own Four Characters, observe how they show up in our daily life, and learn to identify and relate to them in others as well. And she introduces a practice called the Brain Huddle - a tool for bringing our Four Characters into conversation with one another so we can tap their respective strengths and choose which one to embody in any situation.

The more we become familiar with each of the characters in ourselves and others, the more power we gain over our thoughts, our feelings, our relationships, and our lives. Indeed, we discover that we have the power to choose who and how we want to be in every moment. And when our Four Characters work together and balance one another as a whole brain, we gain a radical new road map to deep inner peace.

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist. In 1996 she experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain causing her to lose the ability to walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. Her memoir, My Stroke of Insight, documenting her experience with stroke and eight-year recovery, spent 63 weeks on the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list and is still routinely the number-one book about stroke on Amazon.

This audio product contains a PDF with supporting material, and the PDF is available to download.

©2021 Hay House, Inc. (P)2021 Hay House, Inc.

What listeners say about Whole Brain Living

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Fun look at the brain. Not for Millennials.

I was all on board with this book. I loved the brain huddle. I could see myself in each character of the brain.

Then she goes into generational stuff. I can't speak for other groups but as a millennial she has no freaking clue. Phrases like, "Millennials don't even care that their information is being shared or that cameras track their every move. It's the norm for them." No we do mind thanks. She discusses the participation trophies and mentions how we won't work hard if it isn't something that we want to do. Typical boomer rhetoric.

She mentioned that we aren't settling down due to anxiety. No friend, most of us aren't able to settle down or buy a house because the generations that came before royally ruined the market and saddled us with unpaid internships and pushed college loans on us so we could never aquire the wealth needed to actually survive in our "modern" society.

Please stick to your area of expertise, the brain, dear author. Your stereotyping of generations was neither helpful nor accurate.

40 people found this helpful

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The Brain’s Fantastic Four

Jill strikes a major chord with these insights. I’ve heard these characters’ voices all my life and this context is brilliant. Taking 90 seconds and doing a brain huddle is something I can incorporate into my daily life right away. Also, recognizing which of the four is currently at the wheel for others give us an opportunity to choose how we show up for them. Very very practical stuff. Peace really is just a thought away. Thanks Jill!

8 people found this helpful

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Our lifetime game changer!

I believe this read will forever just about change everything I do, and how.i do it for the better! What a fantastic impact this book is making in my.day- ALREADY -thank you Dr. Taylor!

This is the one book I will gift to everyone in my life, my partner, my sisters, parents and my team at work and my neighbors. At first I thought oh, this will be interesting, quickly I found myself thinking about the characters inside my mind and everyone I met- who are they in this moment, and I found I was more patient with my usual annoyances. This is the most powerful information I have ever read about our brain, and my choices.

The brain information was a lot in the beginning, she quickly moved past to the “ gold” of this information.
I am asking my book club to read this one next month- we can all use this info today - and I am very curious about who my friends are by character.

I felt my fear this morning and I was able to stop and ask myself “ who is scared here and why”, it was an old story line of my past, I realized it and made a different choice, it felt powerful and my partner and I didn't have the fight we would have around that topic. One fight down, so far!
This book is life changing!

8 people found this helpful

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Stick to the science, skip Part 3

I really loved learning about the different aspects of the brain. I find this information actionable, insightful and helpful. I have already begun to use this information in my daily life. This book has valuable information in Parts 1-2.

However, I did not like the illustrations regarding how different characters approach things like the beach and dieting and I especially cringed at the chapter on generational differences. All of these illustrations are filled with uninformed stereotypes, broad generalizations, and clear author bias which is the opposite of scientific. In trying to apply these brain science concepts to cultural situations I lost confidence in the author’s authority and scientific basis. I don’t know what the takeaway is supposed to be from Part 3. I would skip all of these chapters as I don’t know what the point is and I found the broad generalizations offensive.

As a millennial (although I thought I was Gen X) very little of these assumptions apply. At the same time, I identify with many parts of even later generations illustrated here. I am in my mid-40s and not a “kid.” I finished college without owning a computer, not using email or the internet, and hand writing my papers, which I typed up in the computer lab.

Nonetheless, I now work for an infosec software company and I can tell you the reason why tech companies don’t require BA/BS is because it’s the skills that matter, not the pedigree. A degree doesn’t qualify you for a job many people wind up in careers far from whatever they studied in their early 20s, but along the way they learn a lot of applicable skills!

6 people found this helpful

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Not Impressed

The author compartmentalizes the brain into quadrants, referring to them as "characters," while offering no scientific evidence (psychological or physiological) as to how she came up with them. If we're just going to attribute random names and traits to each quadrant, then anyone could be a neuroscientist.

After a couple of hours, I stopped listening. What a waste of time and Audible credit.

5 people found this helpful

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Stop while you are ahead

Some interesting and useful information in the first few chapters. Found narration uneven at best, like chalk on blackboard much of the time.

2 people found this helpful

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Brilliant and Profound

THIS is what should be taught in schools.
Thank you, Jill, for your intelligence, passion and yes, insight. This book is important and illuminating. Thank you.

2 people found this helpful

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superficially plausible at first, then plummets

wow, this was so horrible I couldn't read the last chapter. Her overgeneralizations, hateful mischaracterizations of huge swaths of people, and simplistic psychobabble were profoundly disappointing. I had heard good things about this book so expected so much more. It was simplistic and even bigoted, and she often brought out false "facts" when she wanted to support her claims. She was trying to make everything fit the divisions she was setting up, but ended up being unconvincing. also the brain huddle idea comes down to "stop and breathe". What a waste of time.

2 people found this helpful

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Beautiful, moving, WOW

I am so deeply moved by this book I’m not even sure what to write... it felt as though Jill Bolte Taylor was speaking to ME... and she was. As she is speaking to all of us. What a gift this book was, and the audio version contained all of the author’s emotions, her real heart and soul. Phenomenal.

2 people found this helpful

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Thank you, Jill!

A must read manual for heathy mental function. the science and breakdown explanation anyone can understand. Thank you!!!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • D
  • 12-02-21

Somehow disappointing

I was hoping to learn methods for brain balancing. I. kept hearing the book almost to its end thinking that the punch line will arrive. Could be me, but with all the openness and patience, when it comes to the hard stuff of explaining what is the function of the right half of the brain and the way it influences a decision, the book is just going in spiritual circles which I fail to make sense of.

1 person found this helpful

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  • A
  • 07-15-21

Wonderful

A totally fantastic, life affirming book. I cried big fat happy tears through much of it.

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  • Sinead Dee
  • 12-11-21

This book was not for me

I loved the TED talk and this book may be perfect for others. It’s not a criticism of the book as I couldn’t finish it, so how can anybody review a book fairly if they haven’t read it. It simply was and is not the book for me.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-22-21

Taking it all in

Very interesting to know how the brain can work towards your happiness and decision making without getting confused. However I have to read the book again in order ti get a better understanding of the book . It is heavy going listening to it once.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-09-21

Amazing book!

Loved this book! The insight into how the brain operates in our day to day life and tools we can use to be our best selves to step out of autopilot reactions are priceless. I am very grateful for this book ❤🙏

3 people found this helpful

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  • Niki
  • 09-29-22

Whole brain living needs a new narrator

I couldn’t listen to this book. Tried several times but the narrator’s voice is sooo annoying!

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