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

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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

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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