18 Interviews with Scientists, Practical Advice, and Product Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp
(I read so you don’t have to.)
The authors are the founders of SharpBrains, a “market research firm and think tank covering the emerging brain fitness market,” the name which, remarkably, shows up in the title.
You can read this short book (182 pages) in less than an hour, and here’s the skinny:
The four pillars of brain maintenance are a balanced diet, stress management, physical exercise, brain exercise. (And you thought you were going to read something new?)
Try something new, varied, and challenging every day. When we learn, physical change occurs in the brain, so keep learning to stay alive! The more we do throughout life, the better off we are and will become.
The brain can learn at any age, and it evolves. Learning has no limits. Neuroplasticity, “the brain’s ability to change itself based upon experience,” is likely the second most used word in the book.
Brain slowdown begins about age 40 when it becomes harder to learn, however, vocabulary and some language skills can improve with advancing years, depending upon experience.
In a human’s early years, genetics plays a critical role in brain growth while the environment becomes more influential later on.
Sleep between six and eight hours daily.
Change jobs at least every decade.
If you have to motivate yourself to “do what you love,” don’t kid yourself: You are not doing what you love to do, so stop doing what you don’t love to do and do what you love to do while, and if, you are able.
Humans are the only mammals which self-destruct by thoughts. (Question: Do you think any non-mammals can self-destruct by thoughts? For example, a mollusk?) (Have you read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle?)
Chronic stress can lead to mental, physical, and emotional damage. Manage stress through exercise, socializing, and relaxing.
Exercise increases new brain cells. A brisk walk three times a week has been shown to be effective, even with Parkinson’s patients. Walking with a friend and discussing the news of the day, a book, whatever, accomplishes many of these orders. The earlier you start, the better.
All these ideas help combat the effects of Alzheimer’s, and If you are going to get Alzheimer’s, exercise can delay the onset (but not by much).
Crossword puzzles are not the panacea some believe because they use the same narrow area of the brain. Variety is important to good brain training.
Skill, talent, hard work, and opportunities are the backbones of top performers
Good brain food: salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, halibut, sardines, spinach, broccoli, salads. potatoes, vegetable oil, nuts, green leafy vegetables, vitamin C in citrus, and berries.
Bad brain food: high fructose corn syrup. And voting for Republicans. (Just kidding: I wanted to see if you were still reading.)
Self-administered supplements may counteract benefits.
Brain health is largely under individual control.
This book was self published and contains many typographical errors, but it has value in the great “brain race” to survive satisfactorily and/or happily (maybe both). The interviews with scientists give the book lots more credibility than it would otherwise have. The writing style is rather cut and dried, like doctorspeak.
Pages of brain training software products and descriptions are listed which, the authors say, have no special merit nor produce what they claim.
Now, where are those smelly sardines? (And the mouthwash, please.)