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4.The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity by Norman Doidge

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Canadian psychoanalyst Norman Doidge is also a poet, a fact that became apparent with his breakthrough book, The Brain That Changes Itself. His follow-up addresses important issues that research these and more in his beautiful prose. Including an entire chapter on the work of movement genius Moshé Feldenkrais added an even bigger smile to my face. 

“The use of force is the opposite of awareness; learning does not take place when we are straining.”

5.The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

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I first read Indian-American physician Siddhartha Mukherjee’s debut out of curiosity. A few years later it offered comfort when dealing with my own cancer. His gorgeous style and sympathetic approach, displayed as a columnist for The New Yorker and NY Times, portrays cancer as an integral part of what we are as animals. His follow-up to this exhaustive biography is the highly recommended The Gene. On Twitter he told me his final installment of what he considers to be a trio will be on vaccines. Plenty to look forward to from this masterful writer.

“Cancer is built into our genomes: the genes that unmoor normal cell division are not foreign to our bodies, but rather mutated, distorted versions of the very genes that perform vital cellular functions. And cancer is imprinted in our society: as we extend our life span as a species, we inevitably unleash malignant growth (mutations in cancer genes accumulate with aging; cancer is thus intrinsically related to age). If we seek immortality, then so, too, in a rather perverse sense, does the cancer cell.” 

6.How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett

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Psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett presents one of the most counterintuitive books in recent memory by claiming that we don’t react to our environment so much as constantly construct our reality. This groundbreaking work will change how you view your inner world forever, empowering you with the knowledge that pretty much every “reaction” can be changed. (Listen to my chat with her here.)

“With concepts, your brain simulates so invisibly and automatically that vision, hearing, and your other senses seem like reflexes rather than constructions.”

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