Chicken Soup for the Soul: Boost Your Brain Power!

By Dr. Marie Pasinski with Liz Neporent

Reviewed by Matt Stoeckel

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“Chicken Soup for the Soul: Boost Your Brain Power! You Can Improve and Energize Your Brain at Any Age” is an empowering collection of stories on how anyone, at any age, can enhance their brain power.

This anthology of stories is accompanied by advice from renowned brain expert Dr. Marie Pasinski. She wrote it with the help of medical writer Liz Neporent.

The arrangement of the book is ingenious. Each of the six chapters begins with several inspirational, first-hand personal stories, provided by contributors. The stories are followed by medical explanation and further advice. The book is written for anyone interested in taking advantage of the recent breakthroughs in neuroscience. It shows that the brain is dynamic and capable of transforming.

As Marie Pasinski writes, “As the stories so eloquently illustrate, itʼs possible to change the direction of thoughts, emotions and behaviors, which in turn may transform a moment, a day – or even an entire life. It is thrilling to share with you the explanations of the exciting neuroscience that allows this to happen.”

Chicken Soup for the Soul is a series of books featuring a collection of short inspirational stories and motivational essays. More than 100,000 personal stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things have been written in this series.

“Boost Your Brain Power!” is uplifting and educates with cutting-edge discoveries in neuroscience and through storytelling. It aims to fulfill the original goals of the “Chicken for the Soul” founders, Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield. It is therapeutic in the same sort of way chicken soup is healing for the body.

The first chapter, Invest in Your Brain, covers what I feel to be a very important fact. As Paskinski states, “Regardless of your age, your brain has the ability to make new neurons and construct new neural pathways throughout your life. Every time you engage in new activities, think in novel ways, learn a skill or do things differently, new pathways are forged and your cognitive reserve expands. This process, called neuroplasticity, has been a revelation in neuroscience.”

In recent years, thereʼs been an enormous amount of research in neuroplasticity. “For example, the scan of an accomplished pianist will show expansion of the cortical areas associated with finger dexterity while those of experienced cabdrivers reveal enlargement of regions dedicated to spatial navigational skills,” writes Paskinski. However, donʼt worry if musical intelligence or spatial intelligence are not your cup of tea.

Chapter 6 discusses the work of Howard Gardner, a prominent Harvard researcher, who believes that intelligence isnʼt limited to a quantifiable IQ or how well some performed in school. He wrote a book entitled, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, wherein he suggests that intelligence isnʼt limited to a traditional interpretation, but instead includes a broad range of abilities.

As Pasinksi points out in Chapter 1, “The possibilities to expand your intellectual horizons are endless. Whether you learn to play a musical instrument, take a computer class or dedicate yourself to the art and sport of horseback riding, have fun with it. All of these are wonderful examples of complex activities that require multiple cognitive skills and challenge your brain to think and grow in new directions.”

Pasinski and Neporent touch on another major point in Chapter 3. A study published in the medical journal, Lancet Neurology, found that roughly 50 percent of all cases of Alzheimer’s disease can be traced to what doctors refer to as “modifiable risk factors.” 

What does that mean? It means they can trace Alzheimer’s back to choices that individuals made. Of the seven risk factors identified in the study, physical inactivity was the most significant contributor to the disease in the United States. As Pasinski notes, exercise is, “… the most potent brain booster of all. It is guaranteed to enhance the very structure of your brain, improve your memory, uplift your mood, protect against stroke and decrease your risk of Alzheimerʼs disease.”

“Boost Your Brain Power” is packed with many other useful points including the importance of diet, techniques to improve memory, tips on how to trigger creative thinking, and the use of meditation. This book is appropriate for a wide audience ranging from people recovering from a traumatic brain injury to academics with multiple PhDs. It is highly successful in motivating and inspiring its readers to enjoy life and make the best use of their brains.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Boost Your Brain Power! You Can Improve and Energize Your Brain at Any Age
Dr. Marie Pasinski with Liz Neporent
Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, May 22, 2012
Paperback, 224 pages

Psych Central's Recommendation:
Worth Your Time! +++

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APA Reference
Stoeckel, M. (2012). Chicken Soup for the Soul: Boost Your Brain Power!. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/chicken-soup-for-the-soul-boost-your-brain-power/00013089
Scientifically Reviewed
    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

 

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