An uninspired litany of workmanlike tasks to stimulate the brain.


This third installment of a series of workbooks offers ways to improve mental acuity.

Litvin (Sailor’s Psychology, 2012, etc.) has argued over the course of several books that the human brain is an impressively elastic organ, capable of considerable dysfunction as well as spectacularly efficient repair. Intellectual underperformance, he contends, is not usually the result of genetic disadvantage but rather the kind of damage done to the brain that reduces its overall operational power. More specifically, he believes a malfunctioning brain ceases to shuttle information throughout its various regions properly, essentially delivering packets of data to the wrong places. The principal culprits are complex brain cells, which can be repaired or replaced by the targeted stimulation of simple cells. According to Litvin, a psychologist, this may be accomplished by compelling the brain to process different kinds of perceptual stimuli in rapid succession. The author presents his general theory regarding brain operations in Psychoconduction (2012), and the theory underlying the exercises in particular in Litvin’s Code (2011). The exercises require the participant to translate symbols embedded in mathematical equations into different modes of perceptual expression. For example, a number can be represented by a smell (like a bar of soap) or a noise (like knocking on a table). The final volume presents the series’ most difficult equations, which neatly fall into problems of multiplication, division, and reverse division. Typical of Litvin’s other workbooks, the problems are clearly explained in plain language unencumbered by academic jargon and include helpful instructional illustrations by Martirosyan (Intermediate Brain Stimulation by Psychoconduction, 2011, etc.). This is only intended as a workbook—a catalog of mental drills—so no explanation of the psychology justifying the problems’ efficacy is presented here. The author never comments on what precisely is meant by advanced, and it remains unclear for whom the exercises are intended, though they seem to be suitable for readers in their early teens. The effectiveness of the exercises is difficult to ascertain—in none of his books does Litvin ever supply a systematically clear or scientifically substantiated account, and his claims regarding their expected results challenge credulity. The exercises themselves lack a creative element or the promise of entertainment—they are computational tasks. One is compelled to conclude that most readers will experience these drills as the performance of an educational duty. 

An uninspired litany of workmanlike tasks to stimulate the brain.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4669-0152-0

Page Count: 100

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?


This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet