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Extended Audio Sample The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force, by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, Sharon Begley Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,179 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jeffrey M. Schwartz, Sharon Begley Narrator: Arthur More Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A groundbreaking work of science that confirms, for the first time, the independent existence of the mind–and demonstrates the possibilities for human control over the workings of the brain.

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.Dr Schwartz, a leading researcher in brain dysfunctions, and Wall Street Journal science columnist Sharon Begley demonstrate that the human mind is an independent entity that can shape and control the functioning of the physical brain. Their work has its basis in our emerging understanding of adult neuroplasticity–the brain's ability to be rewired not just in childhood, but throughout life, a trait only recently established by neuroscientists.

Through decades of work treating patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), Schwartz made an extraordinary finding: while following the therapy he developed, his patients were effecting significant and lasting changes in their own neural pathways. It was a scientific first: by actively focusing their attention away from negative behaviors and toward more positive ones, Schwartz's patients were using their minds to reshape their brains–and discovering a thrilling new dimension to the concept of neuroplasticity.

The Mind and the Brain follows Schwartz as he investigates this newly discovered power, which he calls self–directed neuroplasticity or, more simply, mental force. It describes his work with noted physicist Henry Stapp and connects the concept of 'mental force' with the ancient practice of mindfulness in Buddhist tradition. And it points to potential new applications that could transform the treatment of almost every variety of neurological dysfunction, from dyslexia to stroke–and could lead to new strategies to help us harness our mental powers. Yet as wondrous as these implications are, perhaps even more important is the philosophical dimension of Schwartz's work. For the existence of mental force offers convincing scientific evidence of human free will, and thus of man's inherent capacity for moral choice.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Stirring…a daring rescue of the concept of the free human will.”

    George Gilder, New York Times bestselling author of Wealth and Poverty

  • “Fascinating…Schwartz and Begley excel at spreading enthusiasm for science by forging scintillating concepts out of difficult ideas.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Wonderful…a great read. Anyone seeking to learn about the amazing neuroplasticity of the human brain should read The Mind and the Brain.”


  • “The medical results and treatments they summarize are exciting and deserve widespread attention…A great deal in this book is sure to motivate discussion and more research.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Schwartz and Begley bring to life the thinking and work of many original investigators in a book that thoughtful readers will enjoy.”


  • “An adventurous exploration of the hardest questions in contemporary science…A timely, humane, and pathbreaking book.”

    Colin McGinn, author of The Character of Mind and The Making of a Philosopher

  • “Profound and engaging; a splendid read and a real tour de force of intellect.”

    Floyd E. Bloom, MD, former editor in chief, Science, and chairman, department of neuropharmacology, the Scripps Research Institute

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Brandon Clark | 2/16/2014

    " Discussion of the role neuroplasticity plays in human cognition and development. Author's background is in obsessive compulsive disorder research. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Nick | 2/15/2014

    " Jeffrey Schwartz has written an impassioned argument for the neuroplasticity of the brain, based on his work with OCD patients and his practice of Buddhism. I have enormous admiration for anyone who brings together Eastern and Western ideas with skill and thoughtfulness, as Schwartz has done here, but when the work creates a genuine breakthrough in treating mental illness, then the originator deserves the highest possible praise. Millions of people suffer tragically from OCD, and the desensitization work of behavioral therapists often borders on the cruel -- and it's only partly effective. Drugs have huge limitations and of course side effects. So Schwartz has given humanity a gift by figuring out how to use the Buddhist concept of mindfulness to help people recognize and ultimately reject OCD thoughts, while at the same time making a larger argument about the plasticity of the brain, and the connection between mind and brain. A path-breaking work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Carl | 2/9/2014

    " Fascinating book by an M.D. who has done a tremendous amount of research on the brain and presents his interesting theories. Well written and engaging "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Landin | 1/9/2014

    " Great book. Didnt give it 5 stars for 2 reasons 1. it is unnecessarily cerebral and difficult to get through. Author is too wordy and wont connect to most people and even some with a general understanding of psychology or science. It's that nerdy. 2. It lacked wholeness. For something with such a scientific tone it ended up as being nearly stream of conciousness. The original argument and original study never came full circle. Despite these things, it was right up MY alley. Simply, I am PERSONALLY interested in this stuff. It also supported things I have long suspected as true, it touched on other topics that interest me and as a result steered me into the next direction. The most important thing was that it made me think, and that I can take away something from it, and it was the catalyst to my next pursuit. To be able to say that about any experience, book, movie, song, etc. is rare in a lifetime. 5 stars on that front, i just wish the author would have made it a little more universally readable. "

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