Book Review: The Mind Manual
If an apple a day can keep the doctor away, imagine what a “mindapple” can do for you. In The Mind Manual, author Andy Gibson defines a mindapple as “anything you do that’s good for your mind.”
The Mind Manual is a layperson’s guide to how the mind works and how we can keep it healthy. Though this book is based in neuroscience, the principles are accessible to anyone; no professional or academic background required. Gibson’s background in both psychology and business gives him an interesting perspective and a knowledge base of timely and relevant information on how people can maintain healthy minds in today’s busy world.
A book with heavy neuroscience research is not something that I would read at the end of the day when my mind is tired. But the practical information is presented in just a few pages, which makes the The Mind Manual is an appealing book. The beauty is in its simplicity. Anyone can pick up the book and find something to use.
It should be noted that a serious mental health diagnosis is a complex problem that will not be solved with five mindapples a day. But those who are in a good place psychologically and want to maintain that, or feel they could be doing a little bit better, will benefit from The Mind Manual. The book will offer them helpful ideas to put into practice.
The Mind Manual reinforces things readers already know. When we pause and think about it, most of us know what makes us happy and keeps us mentally well. But in the busyness of today’s culture, we tend to react to what is in front of us rather than behave proactively by doing what we know is good for us. The Mind Manual is a good reminder to do what we need to do to take care of ourselves.
In addition to highlighting things we need to do, The Mind Manual encourages readers to rethink concepts we believe we already know. Like time management, for example. There is no shortage of advice on how to better manage one’s time. Gibson offers a different approach, suggesting that rather than manage our time, we manage our energy. This is a principle I have heard before that makes sense, but it is easy to forget when I have a long list of things to do in front of me. No matter how well we manage our time, most of us sustain our attention for only a short while. We need to notice when we are most energetic and respect the rhythms of when we work best, rather than follow a formula of time management that experts say is good for everyone.
Although a “self-help” manual is generally not a book people want to be seen carrying for fear of embarrassment, they will not feel that way with The Mind Manual. I will even go out on a limb and say that this book may truly be written for everyone. Who does not want to be more productive, find balance in life, sleep better, or be kinder to other people? And with a user-friendly description of each major topic, it is easy to find practical applications.
“Good mental health isn’t about constantly trying to change yourself, it’s about learning to live with yourself. Rather than trying to tame your mind, make friends with it,” writes Gibson.
It is not worth changing to look like somebody else because we were all uniquely created to be the people that we are. And we were all designed with different brains.
I don’t hold on to every book that I review. Some are not applicable to my work as a counselor or what I experience in life. Frequently, I donate books to another clinician, friend, or the library. However I will keep The Mind Manual and share with people who want something applicable and relevant to today’s world.
The Mind Manual: 5 a Day for a Happy, Healthy Mind
Softcover, 192 pages