Staff PicksShaw/Watha T. Daniel Library


How to change your mind

Can our minds grow with practice? If we train hard enough can we become smarter or increase our mental agility? The books in the list below reveal modern occurrences where science has helped improve or change the brains of many people. They address miracles, human evolution, methods of healing, and how we can embrace our differences and thrive with the minds we have.

My Plastic Brain: One Woman’s Year-Long Journey to Discover if Science Can Improve Her Mind by Caroline Williams
What can science do to improve our minds? On the cusp of such revolutionary inventions in Artificial Intelligence can science create new neural pathways in our brains? Ones that make us less anxious, or more verbose, or less clumsy as the author, Caroline Williams, hopes to become. While I agree with some reviewers who found it difficult to get into the book, I found the more I read, the more intrigued I became by Williams’ journey to become a smarter version of herself. I recommend the book for those interested in brain training and neural science.

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
This was an enjoyable book to read. The stories are interesting and hopeful. Readers learn more about the brain and the scientists who have worked to improve the skills of adults and children with diagnosed mental disorders such as ADHD, OCD, memory loss, and brain damage caused by stroke. The stories document the unexpected advances of science to improve the brain and help fix the way we process and express information. (Also available as a library e-book.)

The Making of the Mind by Ronald T. Kellogg
In this book, Ronald T. Kellogg examines the building blocks of what makes up our minds in modern culture and how over time these areas have evolved, changed, and contrasted with others due to differences in language, culture, consciousness, spirituality, and morality. Kellogg examines the evolution of these areas over time and their value to our development as human beings.

Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Was not Made for You by Jenara Nerenberg
Journalist Jenara Nerenberg explores the experiences of women with late in life diagnoses of behavior disorders such as autism, ADHD, and synesthesia and the failure of psychology to produce accurate diagnoses for marginalized groups. In Divergent Mind, Nerenberg challenges the neurotypical to accept and embrace behavioral diversity and dares the world to acknowledge and create space for those deemed abnormal. 

The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: And Other Inspiring Stories Of Pioneering Brain Transformation by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young
Readers visit the story of Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, a teacher who used her lab school and students to apply mental exercises to resolve learning disabilities thirty years prior to the start of what is now know as neuroplastic practice. Exciting and eye-opening, this is a great read for those interested in changes the brain can undergo with the right techniques.