Posted in:

Learn & Unlearn

This author is an award winning journalist who has written several books. They all appear to be small -sized, hard -back books. Some of the titles are “The Little Book of Scientific Principles”, “Theories and Things”, and “The Little Book of the Mind”. The size and format of this book is very conducive to picking it up and getting started. It is definitely not a tome to be afraid of, and reads easily and well.

The introduction deals with the brain, its functions and how it allows us to relearn and unlearn, and progress along new understandings.  The topics are mostly relevant and up-to-date, although the outcomes of the debate over teaching children a second language from an early age, has been long since accepted.

The first chapter deals with a common, modern concern.  Is reading from a screen detrimental for poorer readers to comprehend?  It is understandable that a Parent, reading and chatting with a child about a book, will open more neural pathways than the child reading from a screen.  However, there is still much more research to be unedertaken in this area.

Ahh! The pursuit of happiness!  Forget that, suggests the author, and “learn to have a bigger purpose than yourself.” A study by Gruber suggests that there are “right times to feel happy, and right times to feel unhappy”. Another study shows that happiness can have an effect on our genes, and this manifests in the genes as showing “favourable gene expression profiles in immune cells.”

Resilience is something often discussed and promoted in schools today.  Surrendra discusses how we should stand up to stress and embrace unpopularity if it means sticking to what you believe is true.  Another chapter suggests that smiling often increases your own sense of well-being, when done in a genuine fashion.  A further chapter looks at exercise which is likened to “jogging the brain.”

Chapter 8 deals with the aging brain, and I love the theory that the older brain takes longer to retrieve information, because it is full of it!  There are some tips and tricks to help your memory.

There are 40 short chapters in this book, and many discuss varied and interesting topics, such as “lying, sleeping, day-dreaming, cheating and talking to yourself!”

This book is excellent for short bursts of reading, and delving into current thinking and ideas.  Each chapter is a complete topic in itself.  The book will live on coffee tables in many homes, to be picked up and read frequently.

AuthorSurendra Verma
PublisherNew Holland Publishers