'Super Brain' Review


I have been reading a fair bit lately and I have a few books on the go such as ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley,’ Louder Than Words’ by Benjamin K. Bergen and I’ve just finished reading for the second time ‘Super Brain’ by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E.Tanzi. There’s so much more books I want to read. I wish I could have that instant matrix-learning just like when Keanu Reeves’ character Neo utters “I know Kung fu” after martial arts has been uploaded to his brain. If only, perhaps someday.

Since I’ve been reading a great deal I should probably write reviews so I can mentally track back, it will help me retain and learn from what I have read.  I’ve decided to write a review on the book ‘Super Brain’. Super Brain has been described as a book about ‘unleashing the explosive power of your mind’1 and maximising the potential of the human brain in practical and actionable ways. It is co-authored and written by Deepak Chopra a public speaker and licensed physician and Dr Rudolph E. Tanzi a Professor of Neurology at Harvard and one of the world’s foremost experts on the cause of Alzheimer’s.

Overall I did think it was a good read and it is a good book that reminds us how powerful our brains could be. I enjoyed the first half of the book which describes the science and origins of our most ingrained reactions, I also enjoyed the dispelling of long held myths such as “aging in the brain is irreversible” and “the brain’s hard wiring cannot be changed”. I particularly liked the stories of geniuses, polyglots, savants and how their stories offer reasons to reject these long held myths. This reminded me of Oliver Sacks' work and his recounts of case histories of patients lost in the bizarre neurological disorders. Oliver Sacks is considered “one of the great clinical writers of the twentieth century” (The New York Times) and if you get a chance read “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.” It’s an extremely fascinating read and a humbling meditation on the beauty of imperfection.

I did find that the Super Brain at times lacks cohesion and this is most likely because it is co-authored. Twice upon reading I’ve struggled to read the last third of the book as I believe it descends to a typical self help book. I find the abstract mindfulness and meditation mantras do not cohere well with the scientific examples. It felt at times that the neurological theories, especially the quantum mechanics theories were included purposefully to provide more validity to abstract spirituality concepts. However, validity is dispelled when scientific research is not backed with citations or references. This is a little leery for this book especially when it claims in the blurb that is draws “upon the very latest findings of neuroscience”.  All legitimate scientific works provide citations and references. I particularly disliked the arguing and the blatant distaste towards atheism and attacks on certain professionals and their beliefs. I find it highly hypocritical for a book that advocates open mindedness throughout, there’s a lack of open mindedness and respect of others’ beliefs.

In conclusion, this is not an essential read however it is an excellent reminder that when we are an active observer of our mind we have the ability to control our mind and when we take full control we can achieve amazing things. 

[1. Sub title of Super Brain]
[Illustration by Owen Davey]

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