Books on the Brain: Scientific Self-Help (Part 2)

Books on the Brain: Scientific Self-Help (Part 2)

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Welcome back for Part 2 of Books on the Brain: Scientific Self-Help! Today, I will be discussing: Quiet by Susan Cain and Presence by Amy Cuddy.

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In Part 1, I discussed leveraging your local library for free books and audiobooks, as well as the possibility of achieving a calm mind through a calm body, as discussed in A Calm Brain by Dr. Gayatri Devi.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

I recently discovered that I have spent a great deal of my life pretending to be an extrovert. This book opened my eyes to the fact that not only is to okay to be an introvert, but it is actually a bit of a superpower!

(Have you noticed that sometimes it is spelled “extrovert” and other times “extravert”? Read more about why on the Scientific American.)

I don’t need to be ashamed or fearful of being quiet anymore. It is who I am, and it is because I am an introvert that I am able to work independently, spend many hours working alone, and have the ability to leverage my own imagination, rather than depending on input from others.

This book really struck home for me. I give the book 5/5 stars. *A must read for introverts!*

Just last week, Susan Cain released Quiet Power, which applies principles from Quiet for kids and teens. I wish that I had found this book when I was a kid!

Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts

Below is Susan Cain’s TED Talk, which is definitely worth watching. My favorite line was “R-O-W-D-I-E; that’s the way we spell rowdy! Rowdy! Rowdy! Let’s get rowdy!” There have been so many times in my life when I had to put on my “Scooby Suit” (As labeled by Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies, on Charlie Rose. See the interview here.) in order to participate with everyone else, rather than just withdrawing into myself.

Thanks to reading Quiet, I feel much more comfortable in my own skin. 

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

A few weeks after reading Quiet, I came across this book. I will be honest: it was hard to read at first. I had seen an interview with Amy Cuddy on CBS This Morning a few months earlier and was excited to read the book. However, after 50 pages, I thought about quitting, mostly because the content did not meet my highly built-up expectations.

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

The title of the book is Presence NOT Power Poses. (That’s what I thought the book was going to be about.) I continued reading despite my irritation and found that the book really picked up around page 100.

It stinks when you have preconceived notions about a book which then prevent you from fulling living in the moment, listening to each word. That’s what happened to me at the beginning of this book- I was NOT being Present. LOL!

I eventually got to the power pose section of the book, and it was all that I hoped it would be. I was excited to start practicing. At the beginning it was hard to pose for so long without feeling silly but I felt undeniably and inexplicable strong effects on my confidence level. Presence is similar to A Calm Brain in that they both investigate how the body can affect the mind. 

This book is about so much more than Power Poses. It is a holistic view on how to live in the now and get past your anxiety. I have started listening to it a second time and am enjoying it much more than the first. I give Presence 4.5/5 stars.

Below is Amy Cuddy’s now famous TED Talk! *But remember the book is about more than the talk.*

The next book I want to read in this genre is called Grit by Angela Duckworth. She has also given a TED Talk, which you can view here. I am excited to read it and have already placed a hold on it at my library.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

I hope you enjoyed these book reviews and that you are living comfortably in your skin!

Also, remember to go to the library! It is a fun place. 🙂


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Z.Y. DOYLE

Howdy! We are a two-sister writing team in sunny Arizona. We are authors, photographers, and Woof Trekkers. Read our blog for posts about food, positivity, pets, self-publishing, and travel.
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