Having a bit more down time over the holidays has allowed me to tackle the pile of books at my bedside that I have been wanting to get to for some time now. At the top of this pile was Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, by Daniel Siegel. Daniel Siegel is the person who ignited my passion for neuroscience and psychology, so I am always eager to read anything by him! He did not disappoint—he never does!
What I’ve always loved about Siegel’s writing, and what has drawn me to his books, is his ability to make complicated, scientific concepts interesting, easy to understand and easy to remember. I also really appreciate the real life examples he shares in his writing, which this book in particular, is full of.
The name of the book, Mindsight, is a term that Siegel coined himself and it refers to the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy. The idea is that through focused awareness or the practice of mindfulness, we can actually re-shape or re-wire our brains (neuroplasticity). A huge part of the book focuses on real life examples of how Siegel has successfully used a mindsight approach in his practice, to affect positive change in people with various struggles, all of which he attributes to the different life experiences that shaped their brains.
I feel like the subtitle of the book, The New Science of Personal Transformation, suggests that it is a “self-helpy” kind of book, and that some readers may be disappointed with it’s lack of concrete step-by-step strategies, but I really found it fascinating and revealing to read the case studies and how Siegel felt their different situations and experiences had shaped their brains. It naturally had me reflect not only about my own experiences and how these have shaped who I am, but also those of family, friends and students. I didn’t have enough post-it page markers to bookmark all of the passages that resonated with me!
Siegel also referenced his famous hand brain model throughout the book, which I had first read about in The Whole-Brain Child and that I absolutely love and refer to regularly! This hand brain model is a great example of what I mean when I say Siegel makes things so easy to understand. It was nice to come accross it again in this book!
Mindsight might be my new favourite of Siegel’s books! Get a copy and get your post-its ready!