Non-fiction November: Be the Expert/ Become the Expert

Most of my non-fiction reading is related to what I’m studying/ have studied at uni – genetics and now counselling. Although these areas are separate, there’s a fascinating intersection when you start looking at the role of instinct, intuition, nature/nurture and fields such as neuroplasticity.

Like this week’s Nonfiction November host, Sophisticated Dorkiness, I’m going to break the rules a little bit and offer up a list that’s a combination of Be the Expert and Become the Expert – three books about the intersection between our physical being and our psychological being.

The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing by Judith Rapoport – there are probably hundreds of more up-to-date books about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) than this one however, when I read it at age 14, it launched my interest in books about the intersect between the physical and psychological being.

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge – a truly engaging look at neuroplasticity using fascinating case studies to explain how people have overcome trauma, brain injury and illness by ‘re-wiring’ their thinking. I’m currently reading Doidge’s most recent book on neuroplasticity, The Brain’s Way of Healing.

The Boy Who Loved Too Much by Jennifer Latson – haven’t read this one yet but I’m really looking forward to it. It’s the story of a boy with Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that makes people biologically incapable of distrust.

“…it has been described to me as a ‘cocktail party syndrome’ that made people socially fearless, quick to greet strangers and to strike up a charming conversation laden with compliments and endearments.”

Join in Nonfiction November here.

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25 responses

  1. My non-fiction reading is almost non-existent, Kate. These books sound intriguing. My husband was working with a psychologist to ‘re-wire’ his thinking. He had a mild issue with paranoia. It did help a lot. He has since been diagnosed with Bi-polar 1. It is fascinating stuff!

    • It seems the biggest obstacle in neuroplasticity is patients who are willing to try these things for some time before they see results – it takes a lot of effort to re-wire neurons! The most success seems to be with people who have run out of all other options and are willing to do whatever it takes to alleviate pain. Either way, it takes a lot of commitment.

  2. The Brain That Changes Itself looks particularly interesting. A little while back I read a book called The Shallows by Nicholas Carr about the way in which our use of the internet changes our brains. Fascinating – I recognised some of it with alarm! The idea of repair is very heartening, though.

    • *adds The Shallows to the TBR*

      I think the way technology has changed the way we think has been well-documented now (as I mentioned, when Doidge’s book came out, many refuted his claims about this topic). It’s scary stuff. The good thing about his book is that while he does mention the downsides of this ‘re-wiring’, his overall focus is on how neuroplasticity can be used for good.

  3. I found The Brain That Changes, a fascinating read. Though I am an expert on the ‘media and reporting’. I have read this year The Media and the Massacre: Port Arthur by Sonya Vourmard, Invisible Women by Kylie Fox – How the media report on the murder of Sex Workers and Finding Eliza by Larissa Behrendt: Power and Colonial Storytelling.

    • The Brain the Changes Itself is almost in the ‘classic’ status and should be easy to get hold of. Boy Who Couldn’t Stop is quite old but I think it had so many reprints, it should be around. The Boy Who Loved is relatively new and I know it’s available on Kindle.

  4. The Boy Who Loved Too Much in particular looks very interesting to me. I don’t typically read much in this focus area, so I appreciate you sharing these. The human brain is an incredible thing!

  5. The Brain That Changes Itself was truly amazing wasn’t it? I read it over several months whilst my youngest booklet was doing swimming lessons many years ago. Every time I see the cover or hear the book mentioned or see it on a post I get an automatic whiff of chlorine!
    Is the second book as good? fascinating etc?

  6. Pingback: Nonfiction November Week 3 Wrap-Up

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