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Pocket Guide To Interpersonal Neurobiology [Paperback]

Daniel J Siegel
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 10 2012 039370713X 978-0393707137
Many fields have explored the nature of mental life from psychology to psychiatry, literature to linguistics. Yet no common framework where each of these important perspectives can be honored and integrated with one another has been created in which a person seeking their collective wisdom can find answers to some basic questions, such as, What is the purpose of life? Why are we here? How do we know things, how are we conscious of ourselves? What is the mind? What makes a mind healthy or unwell? And, perhaps most importantly: What is the connection among the mind, the brain, and our relationships with one another? Our mental lives are profoundly relational. The interactions we have with one another shape our mental world. Yet as any neuroscientist will tell you, the mind is shaped by the firing patterns in the brain. And so how can we reconcile this tension that the mind is both embodied and relational? Interpersonal Neurobiology is a way of thinking across this apparent conceptual divide. This Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology is designed to aid in your personal and professional application of the interpersonal neurobiology approach to developing a healthy mind, an integrated brain, and empathic relationships. It is also designed to assist you in seeing the intricate foundations of interpersonal neurobiology as you read other books. Praise for Daniel J. Siegel's books: Siegel is a must-read author for anyone interested in the science of the mind. Daniel Goleman, author of Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships [S]tands out for its skillful weaving together of the interpersonal, the inner world, the latest science, and practical applications. Jack Kornfield, PhD, founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Center, and author of A Path With Heart Siegel has both a meticulous understanding of the roles of different parts of the brain and an intimate relationship with mindfulness . . . [A]n exciting glimpse of an uncharted territory of neuroscience. Scientific American Mind Dr. Daniel Siegel is one of the most thoughtful, eloquent, scientifically solid and reputable exponents of mind/body/brain integration in the world today. Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are, Full Catastrophe Living, and Coming to Our Senses"

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Many have explored the nature of mental life, yet no interdisciplinary approach has existed to address its issues or even define what the mind is. This book offers a new way of assessing how the mind works. "

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!! Feb. 2 2013
As a counsellor I have found this book to be one of the most useful in understanding so many of the mental health challenges facing our teens in a the 21st century. This is a must read for anyone working with adolescences.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible Dec 2 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am astonished that a Harvard-trained physician, published by Norton, would turn out such an embarrassingly amateurish rehash of fringe science, billing it as cutting-edge theory. Furthermore, every time a word is used in the text that appears in the glossary, a star is added. This, combined with the inappropriate and massive use of italic and boldface type is very distracting, giving the effect of a web page designed by a first grader.

I see that Goleman and Kabat-Zinn have praise for this man's work. I can only conclude they must be referring to other, previous works. This book should never have been published.

Gregory Sweitzer, Psy.D., C.Psych.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book organization and praise for the Kindle edition March 27 2012
By Jim Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is organized to have three hierarchical levels of division. Each level can be viewed as being an interconnected network of topics. Each node within the network provides entry to a separate topic.

The first level of the network is the book's individual 43 short chapters. The second level comprises 158 topics. These topics are listed at the very end of the book in a section titled Nodal Network. The third level has almost 400 nodes. These are keywords which link to the book's extensive annotated glossary. These keywords include all secondary nodes, plus about 240 additional concepts or processes. Dan Siegel views these other 240 network nodes as providing background for understanding.

From the point of view of someone who is not familiar with neurological research like me, these additional 240 concepts are absolute necessities. Without understanding them, much of the chapter text would be incomprehensible. For me the tertiary level of organization is necessary to getting a reward from this book.

A Kindle makes easy the task of moving from text to glossary; and back again. The procedure is: When reading a chapter I encounter a keyword that I don't understand. Using the moving cursor I select the keyword and push the "Enter" key. Rapidly the screen changes. At the top of the new screen is a glossary explanation for the keyword. After reading the explanation, I press the "Back" key to return to the chapter text I am reading. This process provides an almost seamless experience of reading.

In this way I match my reading of each sentence to my current ability to understand. An expert might seldom need to use glossary entries. In contrast I often use glossary explanations. The choice is yours.

Easy availability of glossary explanations allows Daniel Siegel to write each chapter concisely, so as to focus on key issues.

The content of this book challenges my understanding. I suspect that I am the type of reader for whom this book is written. Without understanding glossary explanations, I would be lost. Having that understanding, I mostly find this book a fascinating read.

I wish to highlight another unusual feature about this book. The book's nodal network enables a reader to explore by starting reading at any chapter; at any of the 158 secondary nodes; or alternatively, by starting at any of the almost 400 glossary definitions. A reader can then follow a personally selected path, and go on any sidetrack needed to pursue a topic of immediate interest.

In conclusion I wish to thank Daniel Siegel for his many efforts to bring an innovative body of research work to the general public. All of us have a mind which interconnects with other people; a mind which interconnects with body and with emotions. We each have a mind that better functions when fully integrated. This book provides understanding for how to foster that integration.
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusually Arranged And Powerfully Informative March 31 2012
By Cathy W. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is truly ingenious. Dr. Siegel arranged the chapters to be used independently (i.e. no need to read each chapter sequentially) of each other. However, these chapters have indicators as to their interrelatedness. In other words, the layout conveys Dr. Siegel's central message of how the mind stores / maps information and how this information is interrelated. If you don't read the introduction, you may find it challenging to fully utilize the book's information. If you are looking for the traditional sequential lay-out, you will be disappointed. However, if you want to get a deeper understanding of how our mind stores, incorporates and utilizes information, you will be delighted. It is an intriguing concept to present information in a manner consistend with the book's central message of how the mind receives, arranges and utilizes information. I couldn't put it down after getting it yesterday. It is NOT your average book and will challenge you from the minute you begin to read it. Vielen Dank! Cathy W. LMFT, CADC
53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential and unique book for understanding the mind,brain and relationships March 24 2012
By Laurence Drell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a unique contribution to the understanding of how our minds, brains and relationships develop and interrelate. Although titled a pocket guide, (you will need a big pocket) it is actually an incredible and rich resource for exploring this new territory.

Dr Dan Siegel is well known as a gifted researcher and writer in the growing field of understanding what the mind actually is and what is consciousness. In his clear and inventive way he created and named the field of interpersonal neurobiology. This field explores the science of how mind and consciousness actually develop within the world of social interactions.

Understanding the complexity of how our minds form and function and interrelate with others is critically important to improving our capacity to function in the world and our own personal growth as emphatic beings. Although there are many books trying to explain this new field, this book is a special guide to these topics.

In many ways he ventures into areas that we know exist, take for granted but don't truly understand. We know we can be "aware" of things and that we have feelings and emotions, but what is really going on? What actually is awareness? And how does it work? What is a thought? What is consciousness? and how are these all interrelated? And how does one person's being truly affect the mind and being of another.

Neuroscience is giving us new tools and information about the nature of the brain and the mind. Dr Siegel has written several books and speaks often on the importance of developing an understanding of how our minds work. (See his web site for more info and videos drdansiegel.com) Increasing our understanding is not only so that we can be more knowledgeable about science but also by understanding the complexity of mind we can become better in working with others and to better to ourselves.

Dr Siegel has the unique talent to describe and explains these areas and in this latest and much needed book. He helps bring a deeper understanding to anyone interested in learning more about these areas. But this book is not a research manual (see The Developing Mind); this is a special guide to the basic questions.

This book is actually written in the form of a travel guide. And as you might pick up a guidebook when visiting a new city and wished to discover and learn more on many levels. This book provides the opportunity to see the overview and to explore the richness of understanding the complex workings our own mental capacities.

It is written so that it can be read sequentially or you can jump around to explore for yourself and gather more information about a particular concept and see the connections just as you might when exploring a new city and would cross reference places of interest and see their interrelatedness.

It is written so that you can gain greater understanding about the basic concepts and it provides the links to how these interrelate and are integrated into bigger pictures of understanding our capacities to experience life. It takes a moment to get used to but it is well worth the effort.

It has a vast glossary, which is incredibly useful because we are all venturing into new territory as we explore the mind. It is often necessary and useful to go back to deepen your understanding. Like walking with a good tour guide, he points out, describes and explains the beauty and magic that we are all a part of. And like a good guide to the new discoveries in neurobiology he offers information on how the concepts and models are interrelated and what the implications are.

The fact is Dr Dan Siegel is actually a remarkable guide to this new science. I both enjoy and find myself continually marveling at his gift for explaining difficult concepts in clear language. Sometimes reading him is like reading Shakespeare.

He has a unique way of stating observations about the human condition and the newest scientific discoveries in almost poetic fashion. He points out and describes aspects of how our inner experience may work. And like great writers and thinkers you can keep rereading him to discover even deeper understandings, nuances and implications of the subject.

This book is valuable to a wide range of readers: professionals who are in the helping professions, organizers of business or social programs, educators and parents. Actually it is written for anyone who is curious about what our minds are, what thoughts are, and what consciousness is.

This is a much-needed guidebook to this complex and evolving area. It is an essential part of anyone's library on understanding the current science of the human mind. And it is incredibly useful for anyone curious in understanding how we actually connect with one another (how one mind actually affects another human mind) and how this can help us create a better life for ourselves individually and greater empathic relationships. And perhaps, a better world.

Laurence Drell, MD
Washington, DC
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely masterful in structure and substance April 13 2012
By Phillip Stall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The layout of the book is as others have stated: a reflection of the networked reality of our neural selves. It is a masterful way to structure a book like this, and would be something that Einstein would likely be giddy over (being someone who believed that trail-blazing with the mind in innovative paths was the essence and inspiration of science, rather than textbook regurgitation).

For the younger generation of neuroscientists & medical practitioners out there, I'll put it this way:
it's structured as a "Choose Your Own Adventure Book" for the social brain. And as you will soon learn or be convinced of, there are no individual human brains in nature. Siegel demonstrates otherwise, integrating eloquent research and application of research findings from the likes of Cozolino, Porges, and Damasio into this fine text.

The only thing that could make this better, is more evidence from more research that has not yet been done. But since time travel isn't possible, I recommend rolling with this. I'm even encouraged that this could have significant clinical relevance, given the praise it's received from friends.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is simply enlightening... And a pleasure to read/look through/review due to it's layout. Dec 1 2012
By Roberto Garzon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you are interested in learning more about the concept of mind and why it matters to actually understand it, then this book is an invaluable reference for you. Admittedly, I am a fan of Daniel Seigel's work and like i mentioned in the subject line of this review, I find his insights into the mind enlightening. I gave this book five stars based on the value of the topic, ease of comprehension, and practical layout.

I already touched upon the nature of the topic; the field of interpersonal neurobiology truly is a remarkable approach to first defining the mind (apparently a practice avoided or believed to be impossible/unnecessary) and subsequently building a cogent framework for the rest of the phenomena of mind, energy, and information processes to be understood. Ease of comprehension is critical in allowing non-experts, like myself and most of you, to effectively integrate ;) the information that lies within this 500+ page guide; Daniel Siegel makes the wise decision of carefully defining all key terms. Furthermore, these terms are organized in two different ways that allow for a truly "pocket guide" experience that need not a substantial investment of time to learn something of great use. Daniel Siegel makes use of an annotated index which serves as a glossary and index of sorts, followed by a nodal index which lists the key terms as they first appear with corresponding terms that are interrelated in the network of facts and concepts, allowing one to guide their learning based on whatever their inclination is at that moment.

I do not have any qualms about this book. And though I have not dissected it completely, I'm sure I will never feel disappointed with any of the areas that have led to my appreciation of it up to now.
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