Rod Hilton's rants about software development, technology, and sometimes Star Wars

The book essentially covers two topics. The first topic is how your brain works. This is interesting, to be sure, but the book really shines when it comes to the second topic: how to use your brain, knowing how it works.

Andy talks about very light cognitive science, and he puts it into extremely digestible terms. I never felt lost, but I never felt patronized either. I emerged from reading the book with a far better understanding of the brain in an academic sense.

But more importantly, I understand exactly what the limitations of my brain are. I understand what my brain is good at, and what it is not so good at. I understand why I think of programming solutions in the shower. I understand what makes the difference between retaining what I read and not.

This book is essentially a toolkit for electro-shocking your brain. It teaches you how to nurture the creative parts of your brain, and how best to utilize the differences between the different aspects of your mind. It teaches you how to manage your focus on different tasks and how to avoid incorrect and biased thinking. In short, it teaches you how to use your brain the way it’s truly meant to be used.

This is not a book you can skim through. The information is exactly as dense as it can be, and no denser (no surprise considering that the author understands the limitations of the brain very well). It is the perfect balance of curiosity-satisfying academic knowledge and real-world pragmatic knowledge.

Since reading this book, I have noticed a fundamental change in the way I treat and understand my brain, and I have found solutions to problems far more easily than I used to. I hate to use a cliche’d phrase like “life-changing” but, yeah, it’s kind of life-changing.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to turbocharge their mind, programmer or not. But I recommend it even more highly to programmers.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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