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The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force Audiobook, by Jeffrey M. Schwartz Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jeffrey M. Schwartz, Sharon Begley Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2011 ISBN: 9780062133069
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)
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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 Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brandon | 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 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 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 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renah | 1/8/2014

    " This book is just PACKED with serious implications about a number of topics. Let's just say that, if this guy is on the right track with his ideas about how paying conscious attention to specific thoughts, stimuli, etc., can actually affect the physical structure and circuitry of the brain, there are some tremendously important conclusions to be drawn about how the mind, consciousness, and the brain (and even the physical world outside the body) are related. Not to mention the conclusions that can be drawn about materialistic and existentialist philosophy! I'm not a huge fan of his dwelling on Buddhist philosophy-- it's relevant and clearly pushed him to explore the topic, but it doesn't add a lot to his theory. Not particularly well-written (a bit hard to follow the thread of his ideas, possibly because I took a 9-month break from reading it when I got to the middle....), and I would really like to see some current research on the topic, but this book was VERY much worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Earnest | 1/3/2014

    " Truly amazing book about the plasticity of the human brain as it deals with the power of free will. A proponent of cogitative behavior therapy, there are some implications made here that could be groundbreaking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 12/14/2013


  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 AnnaMolly | 9/17/2013

    " Very informative especially in regards to understanding OCD and unleashing the brain's true potential. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paton | 9/5/2013

    " The act of focusing attention can change the wiring of one's brain. Schwartz provides evidence and convincing arguments that support Henry Stapp's QM-based theory of consciousness. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 9/4/2013

    " Scientific evidence for the soul, free will. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hakan | 8/2/2013

    " Though this book got pretty jargon heavy at times and a bit over my head, most of it was pretty comprehensible. This book proves some good ammo for the determinism/ free will argument for the latter's side. Also gave some good arguments of why the mind and the brain are different. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonnie | 5/10/2013

    " This started a rabbit hole of interest for me into the relationship between neuroscience and particle physics, but I think you could still enjoy it without that interest. On the heavier side of including actual scientific information into a pop book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 1/3/2013

    " Very informative. Torture to read. I had to take about ten breaks in order to finish the book "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandra | 11/30/2012

    " Some interesting stuff about neuro science, but author tries over-hard to convince that quantum mechanics explains how the brain can change its own wiring. OK. Just seemed kind of one-sided. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Penn | 5/14/2012

    " I really enjoyed this book! Excellent! Now I've got more books he cites that I want to read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 5/6/2012

    " Really interesting so far and totally satisfies my inner neuroscience lover. But I'm putting it back on the shelf until summer is over so I can make time for all of the other books on my neverending "to-read" list. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marcy | 4/16/2012

    " Schwartz, a psychiatrist at UCLA, is a Buddhist as well, and has applied the principles of mindfulness--that is, focusing one's thoughts in a directed way--to working with OCD... and many studies find that this CAN indeed rewire and resculpt the brain! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew | 4/7/2012

    " A good introduction to how the quantum theory interacts with the mind and how the mind interacts with the brain. A much more insightful read the second time through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brainwise | 2/10/2012

    " Brain physiology, biochemistry, OCD training, the mind-body problem, and the quantum Zeno effect. This book covers quite a bit of ground. "

About the Author

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, MD, is an internationally recognized authority on obsessive-compulsive disorder and is the author of the bestseller Brain Lock. He is a research professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine.

About the Narrator

Arthur Morey has won three AudioFile Magazine “Best Of” Awards, and his work has garnered numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and placed him as a finalist for two Audie Awards. He has acted in a number of productions, both off Broadway in New York and off Loop in Chicago. He graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. His plays and songs have been produced in New York, Chicago, and Milan, where he has also performed.