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In recent years, dozens of neuro-self-help books have been published that all purport to help improve brain function with just "one weird trick." With lifestyle changes, recreational drug use, prescription interventions, or the latest in fashionable electromagnetic stimulation, we can lightly embroider, severely alter, or dramatically deconstruct the brains we have. In The Tailored Brain, biologist and science writer Emily Willingham takes a different approach. There is no trick.
No prescription drug, perfect diet, or just-right dose of psychedelic is going to transform your mind and life forever. But there are ways to assess yourself inside and out and tailor an approach that is just right for you. This book looks at the realities of popular self-help and brain-tailoring promises, from cannabidiol to special diets to electromagnetic stimulation, and how they can (and cannot) produce results.
Willingham offers clear, actionable guidance on how treatments for epilepsy and mania might improve focus, why magnetic stimulation might help depression, and whether microdosing really improves creativity. TK also takes stock of what's outside your mind-your environment, including the people, places, and things - and explores how cultivating meaningful social relationships and a strong sense of community may help you think more clearly than any drug could. But even if we can tailor our brains, should we? Brain tailoring can often look like a plan for making your brain work the "right" way.
Yet the idiosyncrasies and "flaws" we might perceive in our cognition are often not really flaws at all; they are different ways of thinking that contribute to the creativity and resilience of the human race. This book is unique in that Willingham also offers ways for readers to think through whether they want to tailor their brains to become something we want to be, something society expects us to be, or something we can't be because society doesn't give us the support we need. You and you alone can decide how your brain should function.
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