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Your Best Brain: The Science of Brain Improvement

Narrated by: John Medina
Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Inside your head sits the most complex object in the known universe - the human brain. This amazing organ has unique powers to make predictions about the future, form relationships with other people, adapt to rapidly changing circumstances, and so much more. We all have a basic conception of how our brains function, but when did you last dive into the fascinating world of neuroscience to truly understand the inner workings of your mind?

For decades, the field of neuroscience has been in a near-constant state of disruptive transformation, as we continually learn more about our incredible brains. Thanks to rapid advances in technology and in our understanding of the brain, today’s neuroscience research goes far beyond trying to understand how the brain works, and into the search for proven ways to optimize brain performance. In Your Best Brain, Professor John J. Medina - an award-winning scientist, New York Times best-selling author, and leading advocate for brain research - delivers 24 exciting lectures that probe the origins of consciousness, memory, emotion, attention, intelligence, and beyond. He focuses on five key areas of study in neuroscience: the brain’s physical structure and function, and how it enabled us to become the planet’s apex predator; the ways in which the brain processes information, and how that relates to intelligence; the intricacies of emotions and socialization, and how empathy is a vital survival mechanism; how our brains develop and change throughout our lifetimes; and how we can best use and expand our cerebral processing performance. After gaining a thorough understanding of the science behind your best brain, you’ll learn scientifically proven methods for improving your memory, boosting your creativity, and keeping your mind sharp for years to come.

©2014 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2014 The Great Courses

What listeners say about Your Best Brain: The Science of Brain Improvement

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  • Charles
  • 22-07-15

Beautifully Clear and Entertaining

In all of creation, the least likely thing ever to be well understood is the human brain. Professor Medina spins what we know and the fuzzy parts we think we know into an engaging and entertaining story. Easy to follow and peppered with fascinating anecdotes and examples, this is a good listen for anyone, regardless of educational level or background in the sciences. As an MD and son of a neurology professor, it is the best telling of this story I have yet found.

116 people found this helpful

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  • discoshrimp
  • 28-01-15

Great Narrator

wow! I am blown away by the narrator in this book. He is charismatic and very well informed. His cadence and tone really hook you and keep you paying attention; you can practically hear his smile as he peppers in anecdotes and real world situations to support what he is speaking about. I highly recommend this audio book.

89 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 28-01-17

Brainy but not nerdy

This lecture series teaches you about the structure and function of the brain, and is also packed with practical tips on how to get the best out of your own brain.

What makes this lecture series stand out from the rest is the ‘lecturer’. I’ve put that word in quote marks because he’s so unlike the standard lecturer that it doesn’t feel right to use the regular word. He’s more like the host of a children’s TV programme, in the nicest possible way. He’s incredibly animated, frequently rising to peaks of excitement that send his voice into a shrill falsetto. That’s his style, to come across as being spectacularly enthused about his subject. He doesn’t sound like an academic, but he clearly knows his stuff and he shares this knowledge using lots of anecdotes and metaphors to illustrate an array of fascinating facts about an organ that just sits there, with the consistency of tofu, and doesn’t appear from the outside to do a fat lot. Appearances can be deceptive.

The practical tips are about a number of things: How to keep your brain alive and well for longer, how to improve your memory, how to avoid stress, and the importance of sleep. All good stuff and well worth a listen.

72 people found this helpful

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  • A. Reilly
  • 13-05-15

Mind blowing!

This is one of the greatest of the great courses. I found the lectures compelling, timely and well-explained. I even re-listened to a few segments because they were so fascinating. Awesome series! I highly recommend this one.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Douglas
  • 04-03-15

Essential Listening for All who Own a Brain

Brilliant!
Prof Medina is a gifted lecturer & presents the material with the confidence and passion of an expert in the field. Essential listening for all who own a brain....

18 people found this helpful

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  • Nancy Olson
  • 03-07-15

This was a great work of non-fiction.

Would you listen to Your Best Brain: The Science of Brain Improvement again? Why?

I have been in the medical field for over 30 years and found the science behind sleep, memory, emotion and other functions of the brain fascinating. You don't need to be knowledgeable in the medical arts to enjoy this book however. The Author and narrator is wonderful. He breaks down his subject in such a way that anyone will understand what he is talking about. The Professor wrote and narrates the book. He is jovial and obviously enjoys sharing his knowledge with you. You will learn why you feel as you do and it will make sense to you the way he has written the book. It is presented as a series of lectures and very easy to follow.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved learning new facts about the brain and its workings.

Which character – as performed by Professor John Medina – was your favorite?

There was no characters in this book.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely. the lectures were engaging, entertaining and full of interesting facts. I will listen to this book again simply to remember all the details the Professor spoke of.

Any additional comments?

Even if you aren't medical give this book a listen. It is one of the best nonfiction offerings I have read.

16 people found this helpful

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  • I love audiobooks
  • 09-03-15

Very enjoyable.

Informative and easy to understand. For all my fellow baby boomers a positive and instructive listen. I highly recommend to all ages.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Luke
  • 09-03-15

Have no doubt, this is worth it!

Any additional comments?

If you are interested in brain science or human behaviour this courses is well worth your time and money. The course is informative with the material being presented in an easily digestible form that doesn't dumb it down too much. I have listened to numerous books and courses on these topics and this course is the best for beginners and those wanting a refreshing refresher. The lecturer tries to maximise the presentation of the topics so you will remember them.Ultimately, this is one of the best purchases I have made, and is probably the best of The Great Courses I have listened to.

Note. The lecturer sounds like a slightly higher pitched, slightly more excitable Penn Jillette and that might not work for everyone. I like Penn Jillette, so it was a bonus for me.

55 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 10-02-15

The standard fare for brain science

The breadth of this lecture series is considerable, although I was hoping for a little more depth. The lecturer is very careful to qualify his information with peer reviewed research, which is refreshing. I guess I primarily had hoped that there was more new information out there, since I had already heard much of this from other sources. Narrated well. The lecturer is a skilled public speaker who knows how to maintain attention during a lecture.

93 people found this helpful

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  • Nobody's business
  • 28-03-16

Not as advertised and not particularly useful

Generally speaking, I really enjoy the Great Courses. I find most of their courses useful and well presented. This one, however, fell short.

I gave it three stars for the information in chapters 3 and 13 (on depression) and 22 through the end of the book (how exercise, diet, etc. influence brain function). Most of the book, however, is not about how to improve your brain (therefore the part of my review title about "not as advertised"). Most of it is a primer on brain function.

Don't get me wrong, there is interesting information, here, it's just not particularly useful for any actual brain improvement. If you want a primer about brain organization and function, this wouldn't be a terrible choice, although, you could probably do better there, too.

Most of the book deals with the way the brain takes in a processes information and what parts of the brain do what. Again, this is interesting, but I didn't find any relevance to ways I could actually improve my brain.

The narration is overly cutesy for me for something like this. While there were a few entertaining metaphors and similes, the metaphors and similes were overdone and the tone seemed to be geared more for an adolescent audience.

Again, this is not a terrible choice for understanding some of the more basic points of brain function, but don't think you will get a lot of good advice about brain improvement. What should be improved is the title of the course and to some extent, the course itself.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Md Lachlan
  • 05-02-15

Good information slightly marred by presentation

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator has a lot to say but the style of the delivery is perhaps more suitable to early adolescents or pre-teen children than to adults. He is so keen to be accessible and easy to understand that it sometimes comes over as a little patronising. 'Don't get intimidated by all those long words, now!' He seems an affable enough chap but could do with trusting his audience a little more.

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  • Sue Blue
  • 07-11-16

Fantastic, just what I wanted

Great explanations of how the brain works in relation to our feelings emotions and general wellbeing and how to optimise it's functions. Well read in a way that holds your interest and even quite amusing at times.

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  • Hamed Adefuwa
  • 17-07-19

How to improve your brain??

My review is very similar to one on here already so I'll just repeat; "Generally speaking, I really enjoy the Great Courses. I find most of their courses useful and well presented. This one, however, fell short. I gave it three stars for the information in chapters 3 and 13 (on depression) and 22 through the end of the book (how exercise, diet, etc. influence brain function). Most of the book, however, is not about how to improve your brain (therefore the part of my review title about "not as advertised"). Most of it is a primer on brain function."

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-10-18

Fascinating!

What a great informative course and delivered in such an amazing way by John Medina. If my lectures at school were delivered in this way I am sure I would have done so much better and paid much more attention. Thank you!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jb80
  • 15-08-15

Wow brain tastic

This course is really well put together , the narrators enthusiasm for his subject is great the explanations and detail into each chapter are exceptional , if your a novice with a keen interest in understanding the mechanics of the brain and its fundamental functions upon human behaviour you will be so glad you invested the time to listen as it has helped me with my study and it will help you too , once you have listened thru once you will find yourself dipping into each lecture of choice and absorbing a little more with every listen , great investment in your time .

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  • Gharper
  • 18-03-15

Very useful, and interesting!

Particularly enjoyed the sections about keeping your mind healthy and mental health problems. I would particularly recommend this course to anyone looking to get a better understanding of their thought processes and how they can improve them, but anyone else should also find it interesting

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  • Chris
  • 02-03-15

Really interesting

Really liked this, found the lecturer a bit irritating at first but he grew on me! Content very good, and great for anyone who is looking for an induction to brain function.

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  • Nkululeko Sibanda
  • 04-03-15

Good but too much anecdotes and movies references

Although all the movie references were correct, I tend to think that too much references to them leads inexperienced readers to think that these are usually fact based. While most apply facts a huge chunk of even science or fact based TV programs respond to the need to entertain than provide reference material..

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rosie J
  • 21-09-20

Amazing entertaining informative

The most thing I liked in this course is Mr Medina’s enthusiasm towards the course. He makes it so fun to listen to. This course is for people who are curious to know more about the brain, human habits, emotions and other neurological matters. I give 5 stars to the course because it is all round so good and it’s worth the time spent on it.

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  • Murat Islam
  • 16-01-19

Amazing

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. What a performance. Brilliant keypoints and advice throughout. Definitely raised my awareness

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  • Nandi
  • 13-10-17

Mostly evolutionary theory

I was not impressed that this whole series of lectures are evolutionary theory rather than brain science.

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  • Jon
  • 06-10-15

Very informative

I love professor Medina's personality and passion. He makes it very enjoyable and easy to understand. Recommended to anyone interested in brain function

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-02-19

Great best audio book

This was the best audio book on the topic I have listened to so far

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  • Becky
  • 14-03-16

Very enthusiastic and captivating.

Struggled through the first couple lectures but it really picked up after that. Learnt some very interesting things and got some great advice.

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  • Bree
  • 23-02-16

great information, odd delivery

I enjoyed the content, a good layperson's guide to the brain. but I really didn't like the delivery, weird cadence and vocal tones, overenthusiastically delivered text, and a strange laughing approach.