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A Review of 3 Brain Books

March is Brain Awareness Month so the bookstore was overflowing with intriguing selections for me to take on vacation.   I have a lifelong passion for brains.  How do they work? What happens when they are broken? How do you get the most out of your brain?  For instance, I am intrigued by the notion that many of the behavioral observations that have been made about the brain, behavior, cognition, and personality over the course of thousands of years can now be confirmed through imaging techniques such as the fMRI or the PET scan.  Indeed, there is no better time than now to learn about the brain, appreciate individual differences, and to be wowed by it’s wonders.

The first book I read was The Edison Gene/ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child by Thon Hartmann (By clicking the link, you can also read the American Psychiatric Institute’s review  of the book).  There is ongoing controversy as to whether ADHD is a real disorder or if it is the gift of creativity and adaptability in it’s highest form.  Thomas Edison, left school after only 3 months of formal education and was labeled, “a problem child, stupid and difficult” by his teachers.  He set his father’s barn on fire to see what would happen.  He laid on goose eggs to see if he could hatch them.  His mother had to move his laboratory into the basement for fear that he would blow up the house.  Of course, without Thomas Edison, there would be no light bulbs, no phonographs, and no motion pictures among other critical inventions.   The author makes the case that medicating or trying to “break”  the highly creative types like Edison, our society would not move forward.    As I read the book, I imagined the Thomas Edison types to be intuitive- thinking-perceiving types  ( ENTP  and the INTP) using the Myers-Briggs terminology.  Another parallel terms would be right brain thinking (holistic, random, intuitive and a “could be” focus) versus left brain thinking (linear, sequential, concrete,and a “what is” focus).

I agree with the author’s assertion that people are wired differently and are therefore more adept at various tasks.   Some individuals tend to remain open to changes in incoming data and adapt accordingly while others prefer structure, organization and consistency. Neither style of thinking is superior to the other. 

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Lockdown: Two Procrastinators Join Forces to Slay the Snapping Alligators

Everyone procrastinates; some do so rarely and others battle it all of the time.  For some MBTI personality types, particularly the ENTP and ENFP types, procrastination is omnipresent.  For these types, there always seems to be a monkey on the back or an alligator snapping at the knees waiting to be addressed.  That is because these two types have   extraverted intuition as the dominant cognitive process. The ENTP and the ENFP are always scanning the external environment for something more interesting, amusing or new.   The brain is literally lit up when a new experience is present and conversely, it is lulled to sleep when an old task has to be completed or is excessively repetitive.    People procrastinate because they can’t find the focus to do what needs to be done.  In the world of a dominant extraverted intuitive, possibilities present themselves almost constantly with procrastination being a natural byproduct of these distractions.

Now what happens when an ENTP type and an ENFP type, two professional procrastinators get together to get work done? Here is the amazing story of Lockdown 2010.   I am an ENFP and I had work that had been hanging over my head for 6 weeks.  My friend, an ENTP,  had a project that had hung over her head for much longer than that.  We both knew that we would feel the sense of accomplishment once it was done.  However recall,  taking something off the “TO DO” list isn’t necessarily the driving force that spurs a dominant extraverted intuitive into action.  It’s the newness. The fun. We can start off with the best of intentions but easily get sidetracked by something interesting to read,  lunch with a fascinating companion, a new project.   Anything is better than dotting the “i’s” or crossing the “t’s”.   We knew we had to make it fun.

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