5 Brain Boosting Books
We know that to be physically fit we must workout and exercise, but what about our mental fitness?
To begin, let’s identify what mental fitness is:
Mental fitness involves “keeping your brain and emotional health in tip-top shape” (Healthline, 2019) by introducing mental dexterity exercises such as exercising, playing a brain training app/game or learning a new skill. Introducing such exercises into your daily routine can help to:
- Develop your mind
- Improve your psychological fitness
- Slow down
Exercise enables us to perform to the best of our abilities and as Merriam Webster defines it, helps keep our bodies in, “good health and strength.” The same applies to mental fitness. It’s just as important to sharpen your mind as it is to flex your muscles. We often forget to exercise the mind during the daily hustle and bustle of life and if you’re new to it, it’s difficult to know where to start. Luckily, we’ve worked tirelessly to come up with a list of books that will advise you on how to improve and maintain your mental fitness.
1. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
Written by 2006 U.S.A. Memory Champion Joshua Foer, Moonwalking with Einstein explores how the human mind remembers and shows ways in which you can improve your memory skills; through the ancient mnemonic ‘memory palace’ technique, first practised by Simonides of Ceos over 2,500 years ago. If you struggle to remember important dates and often lose your house keys, then this may be the book to help you discover and unleash the full potential of your memory.
‘Passionate and deeply engrossing … The more we challenge ourselves, the greater our capacity. It’s a fact that every teacher, parent, and student would do well to learn. The lesson is unforgettable.’– Washington Post
2. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Jumping to conclusions, regretting decisions and emotional thoughts are all biases covered in Thinking Fast and Slow, the international bestseller written by Daniel Kahneman, Nobel prize winner of Economic Science. Kahneman reveals all about decision making, explaining how and why we decide based on the two conflicting systems in our brains: The “emotional, fast and instinctive” vs the “deliberate, slow and logical”, often leading us to an error in our decision making and leaving us full of regret. Kahneman guides the reader to inhabit practical techniques for smarter thinking and better judgment.
‘There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Thinking, Fast and Slow,’- Financial Times
3. Brain Fitness: The Easy Way Of Keeping Your Mind Sharp Through Qigong by Dr Aihan Kuhn
Brain Fitness by Dr Aihan Kuhn will put your mind and body to work. Dr Kuhn shares her knowledge and expertise in tai chi, qigong and medicine to provide you with exercises that may help to promote your mental, physical and emotional health. The book features an illustrated manual detailing exercises (that you can do in the comfort of your own home) to help prevent your brain from ageing and aid:
- Emotional balance
- Lifelong learning
As Dr Kuhn likes to remind her readers, “these are exercises for all ages and the younger one starts, the better.”- Kirkus Review
4. The SharpBrain Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimise Brain Health and Performance at Any Age by Alvaro Fernandez and Elkhonon Goldberg
From the independent market research firm devoted to brain fitness and cognitive health, this guide on brain fitness by SharpBrains supplies, “evidence-based methods to preserve and enhance brain function throughout life.” The book features 20 interviews with leading scientists, identifying essential brain research, lifestyle factors and products that contribute to brain fitness. The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness is ideal for anyone who wants to learn more about the field of neuroplasticity and cognitive health.
“This is the book you need to begin to think differently about your brain and actively embrace the exciting and promising reality that your brain’s health is the cause of the century.” — Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, Founder and Chief Director, UT-Dallas’ Center for Brain Health (cited from SharpBrains)
5. Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential by Dr Carol Dweck
In this no.1 bestseller, world-renowned Stanford psychologist Dr Carol Dweck explains how the way you think shapes and controls your success. With over 50 years worth of research and experience, Dr Dweck shows that people either have a ‘fixed’ mindset or a ‘closed’ mindset and this can be a crucial factor for achieving your life goals. Whether they be personal or professional. Mindset offers helpful tips and practical tricks you can use in your day-to-day life to become more productive and reach all the goals on your checklist.
“A great book is one whose advice you follow. I have found Carol Dweck’s work on mindsets invaluable in my life, and even life-changing in my attitudes toward the challenges that, over the years, become more demanding rather than less. This is a book that can change your life, as its ideas have changed mine.” – Robert J. Sternberg, IBM Professor of Education and Psychology at Yale University
Mental fitness is crucial to the wellbeing and health of the brain. It is now easier than ever to access information, with hundreds of books available online and in stores. By understanding how the brain works, you can focus on the bits you want to improve, whether it be your memory, decision making or general wellbeing by implementing small changes into your daily routine.
Did we mention that reading also helps to “ignite many parts of the brain”?( Healthline, 2019).
You just exercised your brain.
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Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential by Dr Carol Dweck
The SharpBrain Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimise Brain Health and Performance at Any Age by Alvaro Fernandez and Elkhonon Goldberg
Brain Fitness: The Easy Way Of Keeping Your Mind Sharp Through Qigong by Dr Aihan Kuhn
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
Butler, G., Grey, N. and Hope, R. (n.d.). Manage your mind.
All information featured in Peak – Brain Training articles are provided for informational purposes only and are not substitutes for medical or physician advice.