Top 5 neuroplasticity books and resources
Why do London taxi drivers navigate the 1000s of streets with seemingly more ease than Google Maps? How did a 77-year-old South African man rewire his brain to manage the symptoms of his Parkinson’s?
The answer is neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to change and adapt its neural pathways. Whether you're learning a new skill or—as seen in some of the below examples—managing symptoms of a disease, you can encourage the brain to create new neural pathways. This makes your brain more flexible—and the more flexible your brain, the more easily you will be able to pick up new languages, adapt to new situations, and less likely to suffer from cognitive decline.
Whether you’re a newbie to neuroplasticity or looking to delve deeper into the subject, we have rounded up five resources to help you on your journey.
Best neuroplasticity book for changing your brain:
The Source by Dr Tara Swart
From being Chief Science Officer at Heights and helping to formulate our Smart Supplement, to lecturing at MIT and writing a bestselling book, Dr Tara Swart has many feathers in her cap. But is there a secret to her success? In The Source, Swart gives readers an easily understandable introduction to neuroplasticity, along with the tools to help you change your brain (and your life) for the better. For a taster, check out her article on how to help your brain thrive.
Best introductory neuroplasticity book:
The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
Norman Doidge is credited with helping neuroplasticity cross into the mainstream thanks to his popular book, The Brain That Changes Itself. Using case studies and incredible examples (such as the woman with half a brain who rewired it to work on par with a whole one), the book shows how neuroplasticity affects our lives. When you’re done with that, Doidge’s second book, The Brain That Heals Itself, looks further into the theory that people can rewire their brains to manage medical diagnoses, from recovery from strokes through to reducing the risk of dementia.
Best podcast on neuroplasticity:
Working In with Heights
You work out to keep your body fit, so why don’t we work in to keep our brains healthy? That’s the concept behind our 15-minute, easily digestible Working In podcast, where we chat to scientists, doctors, campaigners, and everyone in between on how to care for your grey matter. For an introduction into neuroplasticity, plug into Dr Tara Swart’s episode, ‘WTF is Neuroplasticity?’ for a quick explanation on this fascinating topic.
Best neuroplasticity book for delving deeper:
Evolve Your Brain by Joe Dispenza
Combining brain science with self-help, Joe Dispenza’s Evolve Your Brain is an in-depth look at neuroplasticity and how we can alter it in order to change our lives. Central to the book’s theme is the idea that we work on autopilot for much of our existence—however, we have had to learn the action for it to become so natural—harnessing and understanding that gives us the power to break bad habits. As a lecturer and researcher, Dispenza has included some more complex science in the 500+ pages, but it’s well worth sticking with.
Best neuroplasticity TV series:
Neuroscience: Understanding the Brain on Amazon Prime
Formatted in bitesize 30-minute episodes, this 2015 series looks at all things neuroscience, with talks from professors at John Hopkins, MIT, and Harvard. There are five episodes to get stuck into, and along with several sections on neuroplasticity, there are explanations on the nervous system, the history of neuroscience, and the childhood brain.
Ready to continue on your neuroplasticity journey? Check out these three exercises to improve neuroplasticity.