Author: Dan Hurley
Source: from publisher for review
Fun Fact: After weaning, the only food proved to enhance cognition is coffee.
Review Summary: The author clearly did his research and presents his findings in an engaging, fun fact filled way.
Can we make ourselves smarter? Dan Hurley tries to answer that question by first interviewing many intelligence researchers and then trying the most promising strategies himself. This involves everything from exercising to learning the renaissance lute to wearing a nicotine patch. The results include some actionable advice and lots of fun stories.
As a scientist, I think we need more people like Dan Hurley – one for every subject! The first half of this book contained the same information as a review article for the field of intelligence research. It read like a story. The research was explained clearly and simply for a general audience. Areas where scientists disagree or are uncertain were clearly distinguished from known facts. And in a brilliant move that gave this section a narrative, the research is explained as the author shares his experiences talking to researchers. Conversations, first-hand views of research labs, and witty asides keep this potentially dry section moving right along.
The second half of the book describes the author application of what he learned to his own life. This included adding a lot of things to his daily routine, so it was both hectic and humorous. I appreciated that the author made it clear his results were unique to him. No conclusions were drawn from his sample size of one. It did, however, make for a good story. It also gave the author more room to include his experiences with different brain-training techniques. I would love to see more fields of research summarized in such an accessible way. Highly recommended for anyone who likes books with lots of fun facts, who appreciates accurate science, or who has wondered if we can learn to be smarter.