Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Uncommon Knowledge
Cosmos Magazine
Brian Martin
Conscious Choice

Elkhonon Goldberg

The Wisdom Paradox

Our brains tend to deteriorate as we get older. On the other hand wisdom seems to be associated with old age. In The Wisdom Paradox Elkhonon Goldberg examines this apparent contradiction, and looks at what we can do to get the wisdom rather than the deterioration. He shows that, as well as the holistic/reductionistic distinction, recent work links the right side of the brain to dealing with novelty and the left to recognising patterns. He looks at how the relative importance of these two sides changes as we get older - and at what can be done to influence this.

However, I wouldn't suggest this book if you just want a 'how-to' book for mental fitness as you get older. Firstly, it doesn't just look at the effect of aging - the early chapters look at a wide range of neuroscience (including much of Goldberg's own research). Secondly, Goldberg runs a 'cognitive fitness program', and I felt that his later chapters were as much about promoting this program as about telling readers ways to improve their own mental fitness. Hence this is more of a book for readers who want a wider picture of what happens to our minds as we get older. info
Paperback 337 pages  
ISBN: 1592401872
Salesrank: 534768
Published: 2006 Avery
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Hardcover 288 pages  
ISBN: 0743264010
Salesrank: 395727
Weight:1.32 lbs
Published: 2005 Free Press
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Paperback 352 pages  
ISBN: 1592401872
Salesrank: 240274
Weight:0.6 lbs
Published: 2006 Avery
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 44.59:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description
The Wisdom Paradox explores the aging of the mind from a unique, positive perspective. In an era of increasing fears about mental deterioration, world-renowned neuropsychologist Elkhonon Goldberg provides startling new evidence that though the brain diminishes in some tasks as it ages, it gains in many ways. Most notably, it increases in what he terms “wisdom”: the ability to draw upon knowledge and experience gained over a lifetime to make quick and effective decisions. Goldberg delves into the machinery of the mind, separating memory into two distinct types: singular (knowledge of a particular incident or fact) and generic (recognition of broader patterns). As the brain ages, the ability to use singular memory declines, but generic memory is unaffected—and its importance grows. As an individual accumulates generic memory, the brain can increasingly rely upon these stored patterns to solve problems effortlessly and instantaneously. Goldberg investigates the neurobiology of wisdom, and draws on historical examples of artists and leaders whose greatest achievements were realized late in life.