Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Think, Learn, Succeed by Dr. Caroline Leaf

Leaf offers scientific information on the mind, learning and memory. Much is from her own research but she includes insights from the work of others as well. The quality of her information is evidenced by the number of footnotes and suggested reading list, about forty percent of the ARC I read.

Leaf also provides tools to help readers develop successful thinking habits. She writes about the power of mindsets, the unique way each of us thinks, and her Switch Your Brain 5-Step Learning Process.

I liked her exploration of mindsets, the way we see life. She certainly encourages useful mindsets, such as one seeing life as full of possibilities. I liked her comments as to how relying on the internet is changing our thought processes. I was surprised to find that spending more time on social media and other screen activities correlates to lower levels of happiness and higher levels of depression. (Loc 427/5555)

Leaf also helps readers determine what she describes as their own unique, or customized, mode of thinking. This is a complex section and I felt confused by it most of the time. Leaf mentions a theorized arrangement of seven modules across the brain. “It is theorized,” she writes, “that our customized way of thinking is shaped by the way these seven modules of thinking interact.” (Loc 1459/5555) Questions help readers determine how information theoretically goes through these seven areas, producing theoretical insight into how thoughts are uniquely incorporated into the mind. It seems this is still theorized and I am not sure of the benefit of it, although Leaf does claim she has helped others with this theory.

It takes time to incorporate all the information in this book. It takes time for thoughts to become part of of the unconscious mind. (Loc 3255/555) Leaf mentions 21 day practice routines that need to be repeated three times for a total of 63 days. I did not come across any suggested practice routines. The Appendixes were not included in the ARC I read so I have no idea if they were included in them or how such routines might work. Leaf includes Activation Tips at the end of each chapter. “Choose to develop a mindset that...” (Loc 953/555) “Train yourself to...” (Loc 962/5555) Great suggestions but lacking in practical strategies to accomplish them.

I think there might be a caveat to this whole book. Leaf writes, “It is important to note that despite centuries of research, encoding in the brain has remained quite mysterious.” (Loc 3031/5555) Perhaps we should look at Dr. Leaf's work as one theory still needing independent study.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Dr. Caroline Leaf is the author of Switch On Your Brain, Think and Eat Yourself Smart, and The Perfect You, among other books and articles. She and her husband live with their four children in Dallas and Los Angeles. You can find out more at

Baker Books, 320 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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