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Publisher's Summary

Conventional science has long held the position that 'the mind' is merely an illusion, a side effect of electrochemical activity in the physical brain. Now in paperback, Dr Jeffrey Schwartz and Sharon Begley's groundbreaking work, The Mind and the Brain, argues exactly the opposite: that the mind has a life of its own.
©2002 Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Sharon Begley (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Dacia on 03-27-12

This book has it all

I love this book because it's so mentally stimulating and so well written. The book covers a broad range of topics in it's quest to describe neuroplasticity. This book gives an in-depth account of how scientists discovered neuroplasticity, the current theories about how neuroplasticity can be used in treatment, the concept of neuroplasticity and its connection to quantum physics and Buddhist meditation practices, and more. I find this book really intriguing, exciting, and interesting, and I would highly recommend this book to anyone curious about neuroplasticity and the biology of changing bad habits.

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28 of 31 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Douglas on 10-22-13

Do Not Mistake The Message Here For Dualism!

This is not a throwback to the old mind/matter dualism of Descartes, though it does decidedly (and, I believe healthfully and rightly) break with some of the tenets of hardcore behaviorism and inflexible functionalism. In short, the authors do view the brain as the seat of thought and emotion and all lower and higher cognitive functions, but they view the mind as something other than "byproduct of a dynamic, like the noise that is emitted by a lawnmower," as some radicals have asserted. Rather, the mind is a Gestalt, a whole greater than the sum of its biological parts, a living dynamic with "a life of its own": and that Gestalt is something special and real--the minds, the personalities, the psychic beings that we are.

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18 of 20 people found this review helpful

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5 out of 5 stars
By Mervyn on 05-07-15

Masterful!

A truly scintillating, intellect discourse on the case for Mind over Matter! A patient and articulate argument put forth with Clarity. Wonderful 'read!' Confirmation that the Mind runs the Show, and that the Brain is subject to the Mental Force (wow! What a phrase!) of the Mind! Awesome read!
Proof positive that Success is an Inside Out Job!

Mervyn Barrett

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2 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Si on 03-04-17

In the end it doesn't go far enough

The authors certainly do the groundwork for their proposition, most of the book is spent explaining (clearly and engagingly, admittedly) aspects of neurology and psychology that are not even cross-referenced with the authors' theory until over half way through the book.

The idea of conscious free will as mindful attention is as old as recorded history, present to some extent in almost all (if not all) religions, most obviously Buddhism, and spin-off writings of spiritualists and mystical teachers, Gurdjieff being IMO the best example (he is not mentioned in the book). The authors make an evidential and compelling link between attention and neural plasticity in the brain but this is as far as they take it. What exactly IS will if it is not, as the authors assert, just another brain function? Where did it come from and how did it evolve? I was left wondering if the authors had fallen into the religious trap of assuming humans are somehow special in the general natural scheme, as there is no mention of will existing outside of the human condition. If this is the case then will logically cannot be an external force as the authors claim. This contradiction is not resolved in the book.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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4 out of 5 stars
By Luca on 01-28-18

Great Insightful book on how the brain works

The book is extremely detailed and elaborates deeply on how the mind works and why it works in a specific way, although at some points it's difficult to follow as it gets very specific on some topics for which I feel you should have a scientific background at least to be able to internalise 100% of it.

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