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How to Become Smarter [Kindle Edition]

Charles Spender

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Product Description

Product Description

*** Updated in March 2015 ***

A shorter, less technical version of this book, "Become Smarter," is available:

The book describes techniques for improving mental abilities. Some of the things it can help you to achieve include the following:
  • Depending on circumstances, use different lifestyles that improve one or another mental function.
  • Experience euphoria without drugs and come up with new ideas, when needed.
  • Slow down and prevent yourself from making rash, impulsive decisions, when necessary.
  • Sharpen your wit, become more talkative, and entertain people.
  • When necessary, lower your mood and increase emotional tension, which can reduce procrastination.
  • Increase your score on intelligence or general aptitude tests.
  • Concentrate on reading and writing for many hours daily.
  • Increase your grade point average if you are a student or improve your job productivity if you are a knowledge worker.
The proposed methods are brief cooling or heating of the body (water therapy) and three different "smart diets," each suitable for a different type of task. The text also describes a "depressant diet," which is not a smart diet but can improve self-control and sleep. Readers don't need to use the strict diets on a permanent basis and the book recommends the conventional food pyramid most of the time. The text also discusses several useful social skills and studying/writing techniques as well as the role of luck in personal achievement.

Most authors in this field will tell you that you should read more books, solve mental puzzles, buy their nutritional supplements, sleep well, and exercise in order to get smarter. In contrast, this book is proposing moderately cold hydrotherapy and a smart diet (which involves avoiding all dietary supplements). To give another example, most books on anger management say that you should try to change your thinking in order to overcome anger, while this book suggests hot hydrotherapy and the exclusion of certain foods from your diet. The main focus of discussion in this text is on changing the biological workings of the brain, not on pop psychology. In particular, the book describes various combinations of diets and hydrotherapy that have the following effects: sedative/sleep-promoting, stimulant/wakefulness-promoting, attention-enhancing, antianxiety, antidepressant, mood-stabilizing (mood-lowering), and euphoriant. In addition, the book presents existing scientific evidence of pain-reducing, fever-reducing, antifatigue, immunostimulatory, antinausea, antihypertensive and anti-inflammatory effects of hydrotherapy. The text also discusses the possible side effects of the diets and hydrotherapy.

Despite its technical content, the book is written in an accessible language and has an informative summary for each chapter and a list of key points at the end of each section. The book supports most of the claims in the bulleted list above with a theory and the author's personal experience (a healthy subject). Previously published scientific studies directly support about a half of these claims, including the claim about intelligence tests.

About the Author

Charles Spender graduated with honors from Novosibirsk State University, Russia in 1999 with an equivalent of a Master's degree (a 5-year program) in biology/molecular biology. He got a Ph.D. degree in molecular and cellular oncology in 2006 from the George Washington University, Washington, DC, where he was a recipient of the Presidential Merit Fellowship. Charles Spender is an author or coauthor of 15 scientific publications in the field of biomedicine and he served recently as a Guest Editor of "Infectious Disorders - Drug Targets."

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1216 KB
  • Print Length: 414 pages
  • Publisher: KDP; 4th edition (March 29, 2015); original edition (Jan. 2 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0032JT11K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,728 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Title is misleading but GREAT information on the effects of food on mental clarity and mood! May 3 2010
By Vicki Liston - Published on
Russian-born microbiologist Charles Spender takes his years of self-tested theories about food and delivers this knowledge in an easy to read format called, "How To Become Smarter". Although I found the title misleading when considering the direction of the content, his book is crammed full of all kinds of information you won't find in other food resource books.

"How To Become Smarter" is Spender's comprehensive and in-depth study of foods, food additives, and elimination diets and their affect on mental clarity and mood. While well documented and interesting, he also responsibly notes several times in the book that these experiments are self tests and not clinically proven. His tests do have limitations, though as his results are subjective and based on opinion, there are no experimental or control groups utilizing various ages or ethnicities, nor could there be any blind or double blind set ups for validity. He does point this out several times throughout the text to avoid misleading his readers. Spender tackles such subjects as natural versus unnatural foods (ie. additives, flavor enhancers, coloring, etc), raw versus cooked foods and the chemical changes which occur as heat is added, and the effects of these foods on mood, concentration and such disorders as Attention Deficit and Hyperactivitiy Disorder (ADD/ADHD), testing, reading, and writing abilities, and a wide range of emotions and social tendencies. He offers elimination diet ideas for all types of intellectual, emotional, and social goals while pointing out that these diets are a temporary fix and not permanent solutions. The book ends rather abruptly after his chapter on social intelligence; Spender offers no wrap up or conclusion for the reader.

I did find Spender's "How To Become Smarter" title to be quite misleading; I was definitely not expecting a `food book'. Something like, "Mood Food", "Feed Your Mind", or "Anything and Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Food" would better suit the text while appealing to a wider audience (such as those interested in alternative, natural, and holistic health and wellness). With over 400 pages of details, observations, comparisons, research, suggested foods to eat or eliminate which relate to specific goals, the title "How To Become Smarter" didn't seem to do the book justice.

Charles Spender writes an intelligent, organized book on the mental and physical effects of food on the human body. Meant to serve as informational versus clinically proven fact, "How To Become Smarter" is a great resource!
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Title isn't exactly accurate but some interesting information nonetheless March 28 2012
By Mike Matthews - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
In this book, the author shares the findings of his research on the effects that food have on the brain and our cognitive abilities.

Although I'm not sure that you can become "smarter" by eating better, you certainly can become more alert, focused, aware, and emotionally balanced, and thus you will be able to study better, communicate better, and think clearer. For all intents and purposes, you will feel smarter.

The meat of this book is a full explanation and breakdown of the author's extensive study of foods, food additives, and diets, and how they affected him. He makes this clear: these are not peer-reviewed, clinically proven tests--they are his own experiments with his body. This doesn't mean they're irrelevant, though.

Mr. Spender dives into many areas of nutrition that are very relevant today, such as chemical additives used to enhance flavor, shelf life, presentation, and more; raw versus cooked foods and what happens when you heat food up; natural foods versus heavily processed counterparts; and more. I found the research on food's relationship to "disorders" like ADD and ADHD particularly interesting, because there have been quite a few news stories of schools that simply switched their cafeteria food to healthy grains, proteins, and vegetables, and found that the cases of ADD/ADHD dropped dramatically, grades improved considerably, the children were better behaved, and more. This only makes sense, of course, as a small body that's pumped full of sugar and toxins is not going to behave in a calm, composed manner.

This book offers some dietary tips for eliminating foods that can impair intelligence, mood, and comfort, but these are more along the lines of "quick fixes." If something in your life is causing you a ton of stress and dampening your mood, you're not going to feel like a million bucks by eliminating some chemicals and toxins from your diet.

The writing was a bit rough, but I didn't mind it because I found the information interesting. For 99 cents, you're getting over 400 pages of anecdotal research on food and its effects on your body, mind, and mood. The author clearly put a lot of work into this and is not just trying to make a quick buck.

P.S. If you're looking for something a bit more on-topic for "getting smarter"--that is, getting better grades, improving data comprehension and retention, etc.--then I recommend The Power of Words: Unlock Your Ability to Learn and Do Anything. It taught me a really simple, practical study system that's so common sense and helpful that I'm actually kind of shocked that it's not taught in every school.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Think how you Eat! Jan. 20 2011
By K. Albertson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This author brings a very interesting and unique view of the brain, and the correlation between what improves thinking and the foods we eat.
He has a Master's in Molecular Biology and a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Oncology. I enjoyed how he has personally tried several types of diets in an effort to find those that assist mental acuity as well as those foods that suppress our moods and thinking ability. What would you eat to improve your SAT or GRE scores? Want ways to improve your fluid intelligence--raw foods!
What foods suppress, or antagonize your mood and behavior? Want to learn a language? What is the fastest way?
He outlines critical elements for your success. The book has great appendices which outline various types of diets. For example, the anti depressant diet, and the anger management diet. He explains how they alter your body's chemistry. There are interesting sections on ADHD, autism and ADD.

This book outlined what an IQ test consists of and how to improve scores. It explains crystallized social intelligence (measures vocabulary, general knowledge) vs. fluid socialized intelligence (the ability to understand and solve novel problems) which I found very interesting. The author explains "mental clarity", "social intelligence," and how they are measured. He explains ways to improve the brain and how to think better. I learned a lot and will use many of his ideas.
The book reviews control vs. placebo studies, standard deviation, significance and insignificance in a statistical study and how to interpret evidence from a study.
Breast fed vs. formula? Animal products significantly affect our thinking and our health. Eskimos for example eat raw foods without artificial ingredients. However, in industrial societies, today's animal products have changed and have pathogens which our immune systems can't handle.
Our brain can't adapt to processed foods, chemicals, refined sugars, and artificial ingredients. Food additives, sweeteners, thickeners vegetable gums, table salt, MSG, and nitrates impair learning and affect alertness. This book covers an enormous amount of facts and allows you to look at being smarter in a new light. Be prepared- you will want to take notes. I learned a lot and will go through it again to digest all of this information.

I received a complimentary review copy.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eat right and you can be smarter than a fifth grader April 12 2010
By Cindy Vine - Published on
When I picked up How to become Smarter by Nikolai Shevchuk, I wondered if I was smart enough to read this book. I was pleasantly surprised. Either I am very smart, or Nikolai's book is easy to read. I tend to go for the latter in this case, I was never a high academic achiever at school. Earlier this year I had my son tested by an educational psychologist. He appears to be quite smart with many things, but when it comes to exam situations, something happens and he might end up writing the same sentences over and over again. The educational psychologist found that he was above average intelligence and there was no reason why he could not perform academically when under pressure. That is, he had no apparent learning difficulties. Nikolai Shevchuk's book seems to be the answer to my problems with my son and academic performance. He explains how he too was a classic under-achiever at school, until he started trying some of the strategies in the book. I read the twelve things How to become Smarter can do for you and I was hooked. It was almost as if this book was written especially for my son and me.
This book mostly discusses ways of improving functioning of the brain. Preservatives affect your intelligence in a negative way. Feed your kids natural foods, but avoid giving them raw food because raw food often comes with diseases. Although, raw foods are the best at increasing your mental abilities. Something interesting I read in this book, is that cooked grains can act as a mild sedative. I guess that explains why I feel tired after a bowl of hot porridge and lazy after a sandwich. Shevchuk gives diets to try to increase intelligence. He reckons, that we need to go back to our ancestral diets. He propagates mixing meat and milk which is against the Jewish religion. However, he does say that diets are not the only way we can improve our mental faculties.
Although he confesses to not being a chef, Shevchuk does give recipes that one can use to create a diet that increases your mental ability. After reading this book I know what I have to do. I have to drastically change my diet.
There is quite a bit of technical jargon and evidence of a lot of research in the book. I definitely felt smarter after I finished it, as I ate my dinner of boiled meat, vegetable and grains.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Full of Anecdotal Materal June 7 2011
By Charles Heath - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of the few books that at about the halfway point, I started scanning. I found the writing rambling and inconsistent from place to place with a lot of "digression" and anecdotal material. If I start a book and find it less than compelling, I still usually force myself to plow through it to the end, but I just couldn't do it with this one.

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