The Genius Within: Unlocking Your Brain's Potential

The Genius Within: Unlocking Your Brain's Potential by British journalist David Adam explores the neuroscience revolution igniting the global scientific community. Cognitive enhancement, in the form of pills, therapy and electrical stimulation, is increasingly relevant in a world where one quarter of the population struggles with some sort of mental disorder. Adam was inspired to research the field after undergoing successful cognitive behavioral therapy to treat his severe OCD (which he wrote about in The Man Who Couldn't Stop). The therapy helped rewire his brain and, much to his astonishment, led to improvements outside his original concern.

Beyond treatment, there are people who try cognitive enhancement for the additional brain boost or mental upgrade it provides. Some turn to ethically dubious "smart" pills, while others experiment with deep electrical brain stimulation--which can activate and release knowledge and behavior from the subconscious mind. Adam compares it with a potential side effect of brain injury, as when a blow to the head causes a person suddenly to develop astute recall skills. In the name of scientific research, Adam experiments with pills and subjects himself to amateur electrical stimulation, sharing the results with a healthy dose of caution.

Adam's approachable and mild-mannered tone, entertaining historical anecdotes and thorough command of the field make this a compelling investigation. It's a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the future of dementia and mental illness treatment. After all, if the performance of one's heart can be improved by medical intervention, then why not one's brain? There is much to admire in Adam's continued effort to investigate ways in which people with mental disorders might gain relief. --Shahina Piyarali, writer and reviewer

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