The Winner’s Brain: A book review by Bob Morris

The Winner’s Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success
Jeff Brown and Mark Fenske with Liz Neporent
DeCapo Press/Perseus Books Group (2011)

How and why your brain can help you to become the best person you can be

Note: I recently re-read this book, first published in 2010, and value what it offers even more now than I did then.

Opinions vary as to how much (on average) people use of their brain’s capacities but there seems to be almost unanimous agreement among neuroscientists that it is possible to increase those capacities through a combination of mental and physical exercises, nutrition, and an increasing understanding of what the brain is, does, and can do. Hence the great value of this book. With Liz Neporent, Jeff Brown and Mark Fenske identify and then rigorously examine eight strategies that great minds use to achieve success (however defined) and what those with less-than-great minds can learn from them.

As they explain in the Introduction, “Our definition of Winners encompasses the usual conception: people who meet with extraordinary success in the particular aspects of life they value most…The kind of Winners we are talking about revel in the journey toward their goals almost as much as the destination itself, and they strive for the type of success that helps make the world a better place.”  This is precisely what Teresa Amabile had in mind years ago when offering career advice during a commencement address at Stanford: “Do what you love and love what you do because what you love is what you’ll do best.” Brown and Fenske include dozens of such Winners in this book, telling their stories that (whether they realize it or not) “illuminate the science and the theories” on which the eight strategies are based.

These are among the passages that caught my eye:

o  On how and why a Winner’s Brain operates differently than the average brain
o  Five essential elements of success
o   “The Winner’s Profile Quiz”
o  Five BrainPowser Tools
o  The Eight Win Factors
o  How and why thinking about yourself can help you to become a Winner
o  How to cultivate the drive to win
o  How to make emotions work in your favor
o  The role of “remembering: when developing a Winner’s Brain
o  How to “bounce back” into success
0  How to reshape your brain to achieve greater success
o How to maintain, protect, and enhance your Winner’s Brain

Brown and Fenske selected a diversified group of Winners who generously share, as indicated earlier, personal stories that (whether they realize it or not) “illuminate the science and the theories” on which the eight strategies are based. Their diversity demonstrates that Winners can be found at all levels and in all areas of society. Of even greater significance, this diversity offers a reassurance that Winners [begin italics] can be developed [end italics] at all levels and in all areas of society.

Long ago, Oscar Wilde observed, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Jeff Brown and Mark Fenske agree, extending that insight to suggest, “And here’s how you can become the best person you can be.” In other words, a Winner.



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