The best neuroplasticity books

Many authors have picked their favorite books about neuroplasticity and why they recommend each book.

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My Stroke of Insight

By Jill Bolte Taylor,

Book cover of My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey

This is an enlightening memoir recounting the story and journey of experiencing and recovering from a stroke. I love this book because it uniquely combines perspectives of the author being a researcher (neuroscientist), patient (experiencing the stroke), and just a common person with a normal life - which was turned upside down by the stroke. The author walks you through the arduous physical and emotional roller coaster of recovery, a few neurons at a time. The human brain candidly expressing what happened to itself, is a marvelously fascinating concept that you get to learn by reading this book.

Who am I?

Life caught me by surprise when our youngest son was born with a birth defect that launched our family into the world of surgeries, and treatments. After experiencing the management of chronic care for our child firsthand, I realized how important it is to share personal stories and experiences. It enables empathy and a deeper understanding and appreciation of what patients and families go through. Autobiographical accounts of patients and families are still very limited. We need more people to come forward and share their own patient/family experiences in order to promote the betterment of healthcare and healing through relating with others and learning from others’ experiences.

I wrote...

The 5000th Baby: A Parent's Perspective and Journey through the First Year of Life

By Devesh Dahale,

Book cover of The 5000th Baby: A Parent's Perspective and Journey through the First Year of Life

What is my book about?

A story of the first year of life of a baby who was born with a rare birth defect which occurs with a frequency of one in approximately 5000 babies born. A vivid description of the journey of a family that was shocked and overwhelmed by the fear of the unknown, and the perils of the surgeries and treatments that would follow. The story is a detailed account of the medical aspects (surgeries, recoveries, complications, infections, and treatment regimens) while often encountering a “not so friendly” medical system at times as well as dealing with psycho-social aspects of life.

The book provides valuable tips and suggestions so that others may benefit from the author’s experience. Learn about the journey with its trials and tribulations as experienced through the patient / parent’s perspective and appreciate the blessing of a normally functioning healthy human body.

Pink Brain, Blue Brain

By Lise Eliot,

Book cover of Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps -- And What We Can Do about It

This book holds a magnifying glass up to the gender differences and stereotypes we see every day. Eliot describes in easy-to-understand language the neuroscience behind gender differences and details how small differences between boys and girls at birth become amplified over the course of childhood by parents, teachers, and the culture. 

Who am I?

Christia Spears Brown is an author, researcher, and professor of Developmental Psychology. She is also the Director of the Center for Equality and Social Justice at the University of Kentucky. She earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. Brown began her academic career on the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles. Her research focuses on how children develop gender and ethnic stereotypes, how children understand gender and ethnic discrimination, and how discrimination and stereotypes affect children and teens’ lives. As part of her research on discrimination, she also examines the perpetration and acceptance of sexual harassment and how children understand politics, public policies, and societal inequalities.

I wrote...

Unraveling Bias: How Prejudice Has Shaped Children for Generations and Why It's Time to Break the Cycle

By Christia Spears Brown,

Book cover of Unraveling Bias: How Prejudice Has Shaped Children for Generations and Why It's Time to Break the Cycle

What is my book about?

Biases and prejudice don’t just develop as people become adults. They begin when children are young, slowly growing, and exposed to prejudice in their classrooms, after-school activities, and, yes, even in their homes, no matter how enlightened their parents may consider themselves to be. The only way to have a more just and equitable world—not to mention more broad-minded, empathetic children—is for parents to closely examine biases beginning in childhood and how they infiltrate our kids’ lives.

Unraveling Bias uncovers what scientists have learned about how children are impacted by race, gender, immigration, and LGBTQ biases, and how we adults can help protect them from those biases. Part science, part history, part current events, and part call to arms, Unraveling Bias provides readers with the answers to vital questions.


By David Eagleman,

Book cover of Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain

Eagleman uses patient stories and metaphors to beautifully illustrate the remarkable flexibility of the human brain. Far from being static, our brains are constantly changing, shaped by our experiences and our surroundings. This comprehensive book explores the limits of our understanding of this ‘live wiring process. Based on his own research, as well as decades of work by other scientists, Eagleman explores how it is that we are able to learn to use new senses, adapt to new body parts, and form new memories.

Along the way, he examines how plasticity can explain common human experiences, from dreaming to heartbreak. This book will leave you with a newfound respect for our incredible brains and in awe of how they might allow us to incorporate technology into our lives in the future.

Who am I?

I have always been curious, but it wasn’t until university that I discovered my fascination with brain science. Here was a real challenge. An incredibly complex system, full of mysteries and unknowns, that needed breaking down, and understanding at the most fundamental level. And not only that, but it was something that affected us all, every day. I was hooked. Since graduating, I have worked as a science communicator, sharing my love of the brain with anyone who will listen- via podcasts, books, blogs, and on stage. I also founded Braintastic Science! which provides spectacular shows, workshops, and resources to help young people understand and get the best out of their amazing brains.

I wrote...

Overloaded: How Every Aspect of Your Life Is Influenced by Your Brain Chemicals

By Ginny Smith,

Book cover of Overloaded: How Every Aspect of Your Life Is Influenced by Your Brain Chemicals

What is my book about?

From adrenaline to dopamine, our lives are shaped by the chemicals that control us. They play a role in all aspects of our experiences, from how we make decisions, who we love, what we remember to basic survival drives such as hunger, fear, and sleep.

In Overloaded, author Ginny Smith explores what these tiny molecules do: what roles do cortisol and adrenaline play in memory formation? How do hormones and neurotransmitters affect the trajectory of our romantic relationships? Ginny meets scientists at the cutting-edge of brain chemistry research who are uncovering unexpected connections between these crucial chemicals. An eye-opening route through the remarkable world of neuro-transmitters, Overloaded unveils the chemicals inside each of us that touch every facet of our lives.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

By Betty Edwards,

Book cover of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

If you think you can’t draw, then read this book! It’s a bible for anyone wanting to draw, and is by all accounts “the world's most widely used drawing instruction book.” If you want to start drawing or have been unable to get much beyond a “childlike level,” the exercises in this book will help you gain those skills you have always sought.

I often use the “Upside down Drawing” exercise with my portrait classes; my students are usually astounded at how quickly and accurately they can produce a likeness! This is a fascinating book and whether you are an experienced artist or just starting, it will give you inspiring confidence and deepen your artistic perception.

Who am I?

I have always loved to draw ever since my Dad used to sit drawing with me at the kitchen table when I was little. At Art School we had to spend the first six weeks doing a daily life drawing class before being allowed to pick up a paintbrush! I then studied graphic design setting up my own business, at a time when, without computers, drawing was essential for presenting layout and design. Nowadays, I’m constantly instilling in my students the importance of drawing and sketching. Having been a professional artist all my working life, drawing has been a fundamental element in every way, and all the way.

I wrote...

Drawing for the Absolute Beginner

By Carole Massey,

Book cover of Drawing for the Absolute Beginner

What is my book about?

The book is a complete drawing course, designed to help you progress from simple techniques such as lines, circles, squares, and ellipses to capturing landscapes, figures, and buildings.

There are numerous simple step-by-step demonstrations as well as larger projects, and outline tracings are provided of the more complex drawings that you can transfer straight onto your paper. Most of the artworks in the book are created using pencil, but Carole also uses ink, ballpoint pen, pastel pencil, and water-soluble pencils to encourage you to experiment with other media too. By the end of the book, you will have learnt all you need to know to take your drawing skills further and become an accomplished artist in your own right.