The Brain That Changes Itself: Understanding the Power of Neuroplasticity

Have you ever heard of neuroplasticity? It’s the concept that the brain is constantly adapting and changing based on experiences and behaviors. In fact, the brain is capable of rewiring itself in a way that was once thought to be impossible. This phenomenon is the focus of the book “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge. In this blog post, we’ll explore the key concepts presented in the book, delve into some criticism, and explore how you can take advantage of neuroplasticity to improve your own life.

What Is “The Brain That Changes Itself” About?

In “The Brain That Changes Itself”, Doidge presents compelling evidence that the brain is more malleable than we once thought. Through case studies, he shows that people can recover from traumatic brain injuries, overcome learning disabilities, and even regain lost senses by rewiring their brains.

One of the main themes in the book is the idea that our brains are not fixed and unchanging. Instead, they have the ability to adapt and change throughout our lives. This is due to neuroplasticity, a term that refers to the brain’s ability to form new connections and reorganize itself in response to new experiences.

Doidge provides real-world examples of how neuroplasticity works. For instance, he writes about a man named John Pepper who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Rather than relying solely on medication to manage his symptoms, Pepper began practicing a new walking technique that required him to consciously make small changes in the way he walked. Over time, this technique rewired his brain, allowing him to walk without tremors or stiffness.

Another example in the book involves a woman named Barbara Arrowsmith-Young who struggled with severe learning disabilities. Rather than accepting the limitations placed on her by her condition, Arrowsmith-Young developed her own cognitive exercises. These exercises challenged her brain to adapt and rewire itself, ultimately leading to a dramatic improvement in her ability to learn and process information.

Criticisms of “The Brain That Changes Itself”

While “The Brain That Changes Itself” has garnered positive reviews from many readers, there has also been some criticism of the book. One of the main criticisms is that the book focuses too heavily on anecdotal evidence rather than scientific research. Doidge’s case studies are certainly compelling, but some critics argue that they don’t provide enough evidence to support the book’s claims.

Another criticism is that Doidge sometimes oversimplifies complex scientific concepts. While the book is aimed at a lay audience, some critics feel that Doidge doesn’t always do justice to the complexities of neuroscience.

Despite these criticisms, “The Brain That Changes Itself” offers an insightful look at the power of neuroplasticity. Through well-written stories and case studies, Doidge offers compelling evidence that our brains can rewire themselves in ways that were once thought to be impossible.

Taking Advantage of Neuroplasticity

So, what can we learn from “The Brain That Changes Itself”? One key takeaway is that our brains are capable of much more than we might think. If we want to take advantage of the power of neuroplasticity, there are steps we can take to help our brains adapt and change.

One of the easiest ways to support neuroplasticity is through exercise. Studies have shown that regular exercise can help promote the growth of new brain cells and improve cognitive function.

Another important factor is mental stimulation. By engaging in activities that challenge our brains – such as learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, or doing crossword puzzles – we can help encourage new connections and promote neuroplasticity.

Finally, it’s important to stay curious and open to new experiences. Trying new things and pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones can help keep our brains active and engaged. By remaining open to new possibilities, we’re more likely to take advantage of the brain’s incredible capacity for change and adaptation.

Where to Find “The Brain That Changes Itself”

“The Brain That Changes Itself” is available in a variety of formats, including paperback, audiobook, and e-book. You can find it on Goodreads and other online retailers. Additionally, there is a documentary based on the book that is available to watch online.

If you’re interested in learning more about neuroplasticity and the power of the brain to adapt and change, “The Brain That Changes Itself” is a great place to start. Whether you’re looking to overcome a personal challenge or simply want to better understand the way our brains work, this book is a fascinating read that will leave you feeling empowered and inspired.


“The Brain That Changes Itself” is a testament to the incredible power of neuroplasticity. By telling stories of individuals who have overcome incredible challenges, Doidge provides a compelling argument that our brains are capable of much more than we might think. Whether you’re looking to improve your own brain function or simply want to learn more about the amazing capacities of the human brain, “The Brain That Changes Itself” is an engrossing read that is sure to leave you feeling inspired and empowered.