Book talk: Self-help, intelligence and health


This week, Jeff Popple reviews three books about self-help, intelligence and health.

The Book of Knowing by Gwendoline Smith

Allen & Unwin, $21.99

Gwendoline Smith is a leading New Zealand clinical psychologist and speaker. She specialises in mental health, especially for young people. In The Book of Knowing, she provides a practical and easily accessible explanation of how we think and feel and how we can gain control of our feelings. She uses simple, clear language and illustrations to explain why we sometimes feel overwhelmed, anxious and confused and gives good advice on how to cope with and overcome these feelings. Originally aimed at young people, this book has wider application and is a useful guide for all of us.

Smarter Next Year by David Bardsley

Simple Truths, $24.99

An embarrassing ‘senior’s moment’ at a shopping centre inspired Doctor Bardsley to start an 11-year investigation into the decline in cognitive ability that many believe comes with increased years. What he found was that it is possible to reverse the trend of cognitive loss and enhance cognitive ability at any stage in life. His research has led to the development of eight tips to improve mental capacity and improve memory. These are not the usual gimmicks, but eight peer-reviewed scientific understandings that will help you expand your cognitive ability. One of the best self-help books you will read, if you can remember where you left the book!

The Breakthrough by Charles Graeber

Scribe, $32.99

The battle to overcome cancer is a topic that resonates with almost all of us. In The Breakthrough, New York journalist Charles Graeber provides a fascinating and engaging account of the Nobel Prize-winning work to develop a code that can enable the human immune system to fight, and perhaps cure, cancer. Written with the verve and tension of a medical thriller, Graeber vividly brings to life the scientists and physicians on the front-line battle with cancer and details in simple terms their efforts and breakthroughs. He clearly explains the successes to date and provides cautious hope for the future. Recommended.

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