5 Books on Thinking Brain and Intelligence: Poured Milk and Simple Brooding {Review}

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Sparkling and fresh, research results on counterfactual thinking are presented in one of the books. Who thinks, a book about doubt - that can only be terrible, depressing, boring and dry, is wrong! Unfortunately, the other two books pretty much disappoint thinking.

By the way: You can find many more hand-picked reading recommendations in our section Editorial book tips.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


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Oliver Ibelshäuser 85Oliver Ibelshäuser is a journalist and owner of the editorial office Text und Vision.


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Wolfgang Hanfstein 38Wolfgang Hanfstein is co-founder and chief editor of Managementbuch.de, the leading bookstore for executives, entrepreneurs and self-employed persons.


Things you can not change - and why O.K. is howling at it

Do you sometimes whine about things that you can not change any more and then listen to your surroundings, how annoying that is? Then this is the right, admittedly a little older, but not outdated book for you:

In “Oh, I should have”, author and university professor of psychology, Neal Roese, gets to grips with counter-factual thinking. It's better than his reputation.

If only I had this or that

If only I had told him that I love him! If only I had done a different training! If only I had applied for this job! If only I had spent more time with the kids! Often you spend a lot of time thinking about what could have been if ... And so do many.

These thoughts about missed opportunities and possibly wrong decisions are inevitable, says psychology professor Neal Roese. They are spontaneously produced by our brain to show us what we can do better next time. It shows how our “psychological immune system” processes them and how we can make them productive for our actions.

Counterfactual thinking: better than his reputation!

The author has surprised me honestly: not only with his dashing writing, but also with its content, which really provides many new insights that are also quite reassuring.

Having doubts and crying about spilled milk is by no means always as bad as the truisms make us believe, but helps us to see what we can do better next time. Assuming you do not overdo it. Conclusion: a really great book. And the whole thing is also scientifically proven with many empirical results. Highly recommended!

Good idea: Simple truths are usually wrong!

At a time when Simplify books are becoming bestsellers, with a veritable streamlining trend in sight, this book was long overdue.

In fact, a lot of things are not as easy as it seems, if too much simplification can lead to big problems.

The problem with the expectation

And there is no doubt that the simple truths in this book are critically, deeply and intelligently illuminated. Only: That was the least I expected. And as is the case with expectations ...

I had promised myself a book of this title that beats the Simplify trend with its own weapons: Rich in wit and irony, a simple clear language - and yet subtle.

Dry instead of tangy

Instead, a scientific-analytic-dry style, where Mrs. Gronemeyer provides in the argument hardly empirical evidence, but above all their personal, purely subjective views for the best.

And they sometimes strike a bit morally. Moreover, the author herself is not protected from simplification. For example, their comments on business founders: Indisputably, the policy of recently trying to force the unemployed into the start-up and many fail because of the fact that politics does not at the same time improve the basic conditions for small-scale entrepreneurs.

Moraline Sacrifice

Whether many of these micro-founders but like to be stylized by Mrs. Gronemeyer as a victim, is an open question. Because there are many self-employed people who work with conviction, drive and optimism - something that unfortunately lacks this book.

There are just IMMMER such and such and it is just NEVER so simple. After all, it is good that this book was written, even under a title that promises more .. well, it is well meant.

How does our brain work?

Man - a neural machine? ” Asks science journalist Hubert. Neurobiology has recently gained some insights into the age-old question "What is a human being?" delivered.

And these findings have caused quite a stir and apparently do not appeal to everyone. Questions about the nature of man become loud.

Are we responsible for our actions?

First of all, this book raises questions and makes you think. For example:

  • Are we responsible for our actions or are we only controlled by the brain?
  • Does our brain determine our actions?
  • Do we really have no free will?
  • Isn't there an “I” at all?
  • And what consequences does this have for our everyday life?

Man guided by neurons - a threatening idea?

Apparently some people, including the author of this book, find the idea threatening that man could only be guided by his neurons.

Why? Because then man would be more than a piece of nature that can steer through his mind - more than the crown of creation?

Subjective overview

Personally, I do not understand these reservations and therefore can not quite follow the line of reasoning of this book:

Actually, the author wants to use many examples and experiments to overview the most recent discussions in neuroscience. But in fact he tries to refute bit by bit the allegedly so terribly reductionist human image of the brain researchers.

Vie noise for nothing

The result is no scientific analysis, but the pseudo-philosophical representation of an opinion, namely, that man nevertheless has a free will.

For my taste a lot of noise for nothing, this book could have been saved.

Lie support for our brain

We pay attention to what we eat and we go to the gym - or at least we have it. Completely unnoticed, however, we let our brains slumber in front of them and allow our upper room to rust. Now does the ex-memory world champion and TV presenter Christiane Stenger something against it.

In her new book, she describes what we can do to make it easier to play with a well-trained brain in many fields - from time management to coping with stress. How does the brain work, which areas are responsible for processing knowledge, memories and emotions? This is of course also detailed in the book "Do not leave your brain unattended".

Unused potential in the cerebellum

Above all, however, former memory world champion Christiane Stenger is concerned with the slumbering, as yet unused, potentials between the cerebellum and the prefrontal cortex.

For the fact that you could live (and think) more efficiently, more motivated and happier is out of the question for the author. Accordingly, she has put her brain-jogging course through more than a dozen stages.

The brain jogging course

And the following points are on the agenda:

  • attentiveness
  • coping with stress
  • Time management
  • learning techniques
  • decisions
  • Concentration
  • creativity

In short: All dimensions of the individual performance, which are elementary of the thinking, feeling and evaluation.

100 billion nerve cells are only waiting to be used

Though, indeed, with reference to research results, Stenger writes without any academic duo. Neuroscientific laws and results of cognitive psychology are introduced by a simple hand and translated into everyday German.

Stenger uses many analogies and methapers (again and again those of the brain as a colorful aquarium full of busy fish) to visualize important processes. Above all, her book is a guide and a collection of clever tips that boost the “work of 100 billion nerve cells” to your advantage.

Sneaky brain tips for everyday life

Stenger knows how to fully utilize or spare your gray cells at work, because your brain needs both: rest breaks and learning phases. In the process, for example, visualization and mental enthusiasm help the fabric.

What you find interesting and can be packed in pictures, you are very impressed. Stress, on the other hand, is not disadvantageous by definition, but first of all it promotes performance.

Stress is positive until control loss

It only becomes a burden when you think you are losing control. Ask yourself how you can recover them in stages. Nice tip for people who have long struggled with a decision and simply cannot come to a result: "Just throw a coin and watch how you react to this (provisional) decision". If it doesn't hurt, it can't be wrong.

"Don't leave your brain unattended" is a clever book, pleasant to read and peppered with interesting information and tips. Those who want to get or stay mentally fit will find numerous good suggestions here. Recommendation!

Instruction manual for brain - working

Making a career or working successfully is more and more a question of the right tools. And the neurosciences deliver important new impulses. David Rock now shows how time management, project management and stress management have to be neurobiologically sound. Very illuminating!

We know how to use Outlook, how to synchronize mobile phones and manage files. But we do not know how to work so that the brain reaches optimal performance. The neurosciences have made sensational progress in recent years.

The better we understand the brain, the better we can use it

In "Brain at work", David Rock is one of the first to apply these findings to everyday work. The result: brain-friendly time management, brain-friendly stress management and brain-friendly project management. On the one hand, his suggestions help us not to constantly overload ourselves and, on the other hand, we can do great things.

The advice is well known: no multitasking, the most important thing first, and do not let yourself be put under pressure. The reasons are new. By familiarizing David with how the brain works, it immediately becomes clear why we can not do two things at the same time.

At the cutting edge of research and yet easy to understand

And who knows that big tasks actually consume a lot of brain energy also understands why one does not use that energy for checking the overfull every morning eMail- should waste mailboxes. In this neurological light, “Fist things first” is given a compelling justification.

More than three years, says David Rock, he worked intensively on this book. He has analyzed the most important studies and held talks with important neuroscientists. Result is a page by page high quality book. The author has also thought a lot about the presentation of highly complex knowledge and found a convincing solution.

Master stress situations brain optimized

He introduces each chapter with the fictional yet highly real story of two people to whom the eMailThey are all around the ears, who have to prevail in meetings (and do not always succeed) and who should not lose sight of the family at the same time.

The stress scenarios that David Rock creates are taken from work. All the more surprising when David Rock goes through the same situation again, this time “brain-optimized”.

Escape reflexes at Chef-Conversation

The topics addressed in “Brain at work” concern the whole range of professional life. The deeply buried patterns of behavior will always cheat us. But at least we now know why!

Also conflicts with employees and superiors. If, for example, you know that the brain automatically switches to attack or flight during a conversation with the supervisor because this conversation threatens your own status, you can take countermeasures.

For example, as a supervisor, reduce your own status, give positive feedback to others. In “Brain at work” David Rock manages to make the knowledge of neuroscience usable for everyday work. It shows how we perceive and act via the brain. And it shows how we can manage our projects and our time more effectively and stress-free.

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  1. Jacob

    Really great site!


    Counterfactual thinking and why it's good: woe about spilled milk? via @berufebilder - Highly recommended Pi9gl8FVSZ

  3. Thomas Eggert

    Counterfactual thinking and why it's good: woe about spilled milk? via @berufebilder - Highly recommended 4xUIbdPAVl

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