Double Your Brain Power: Increase your memory by using all of your brain all the time, by Jean Marie Stine

My Copy: 9780131867192 (image from

Another blast from the past, another self-improvement book on the shelf…but I’ve actually read this one…way back when. I was just so young I didn’t know what to do with it.  My memory sucks, and with all the books on my shelf (and all the classes I keep signing up for), I need to improve my memory and my reading.

I’m already a decent reader, but I’m easily distracted and everything under the sun has gotten in my brain and won’t leave me be. Pulling this book out of storage has reminded me of so many things I read, but didn’t incorporate the first time.

It also means I can donate some other self-help books, now. Finally…I have to make more room.

Double Your Brain Power was something I picked up as a pre-teen, but didn’t really have the ability to grasp what it was telling me. It’s not that the language is too confusing for younger readers, but it’s more that we don’t have the drive at that age to really put all the tips and tricks to the test. Life hadn’t intervened with financial problems, college, career paths, etc. yet.

This book is 30 years old, and I find some of the things in it are remarkably useful, even today. Hell, the last couple of chapters are worth the whole book to me! I’m always regarded by people I meet as a bookworm who knows a ton of stuff–however, my education has been lacking in that I’ve never known how to apply any of it.

That’s part of the reason this blog exists in the first place.

I’ve bought other books on reading faster and being a better learner, but they didn’t give me the information I needed most regarding how to remember what I learned better, to improve my recall, and not only read faster, but with better accuracy and recall. I can see the words on the page fly by, but it doesn’t mean I actually remember any of it.

Double Your Brain Power gives little ways you can tweak your information gathering. Yes, there are plenty of sidebars and tips in text blocks as reminders of things you can do. Considering it’s a book on learning and improving brain function, some repetition’s a good thing. Not all methods will work for all learners, but you can be aware of them. The chapter on “Applying what you think” has highlight marks all through it now, because that’s one thing many people my age are still discovering: how are you supposed to apply everything you’ve learned about? This book doesn’t have all those answers, but it’s definitely a stepping stone to get better.

That’s where I made my mistake the first time I read this book as a kid–I thought reading about it WAS learning. Nope, you have to give it a shot, try out the tips and tricks the writers put in there. I am going to work more on active listening and the memory mapping for my note taking in the future. I color-code and mess with my notes all the time, so a pretty colored bubble map can’t be too far-fetched a tool for someone like me.

No wonder I was so eager to pick it up and REALLY learn this time.

Honestly, I have to wonder why I didn’t remember some of this earlier, but I guess I just wasn’t in the place to work with it. I could’ve tried to use some of this information teaching kids how to read better. On the other hand, I’m sure in the past 30 years, plenty of learning researchers have mined this text for great ideas for their own books and classes.

Double Your Brain Power is a book I’d recommend to anyone who wouldn’t mind a broad overview of learning and dozens of tips and tricks. There are hundreds of books on the shelves that are far more specific, such as books on better listening, memory function, etc. I have at least half a dozen of those myself, but haven’t read them yet.

I suppose there’s a good reason why this one’s stuck to my shelf for so long…I just had to be in the right frame of mind to receive it.

Happy reading (and remembering).

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