Review: Mindhacker

Published on Thursday, September 22, 2011 in , , , , , ,

Mindhacker by Ron Hale-Evans and Marty Hale-EvansThe author of Mind Performance Hacks has a new book out, called Mindhacker: 60 Tips, Tricks, and Games to Take Your Mind to the Next Level.

Disclaimer: I was provided with the book by the publisher without charge, who was asked by the authors personally to provide Grey Matters with a copy. The thoughts below are purely mine as a result of going over the course on my own time for the purposed of informing Grey Matters readers.

Many regular Grey Matters readers are probably thinking, “If it's being reviewed here, then it must be all about memory, math, and logic.” Of the 9 chapters, only 2 involve those specific topics, but they're a good place to start.

Each chapter is broken up into 5 to 10 “hacks”, individual techniques that can improve your mental acuity. The great majority of these techniques are not simple re-hashes of classic ideas, rather they're either newer ideas with a solid basis, or classic ideas taken in new directions.

The Memory chapter, for example, talks about spaced repetition (which already has its own section in my Memory Tools page), but brings a new light on it by showing how this classic technique is more widely used with the advent of computers. You may have read about the classic memory palace technique, but it's brought up to date here by relocating it, into a dungeon, surprisingly (you'll have to read the book to find out how this is a modernization).

In the Math and Logic chapter, there are great hacks about topics such as how to use knowledge of common errors to your advantage, rolling mental dice, and the benefits of mixing induction and deduction with abduction.

The other chapters in the book cover learning, time management, creativity and productivity, communication, mental fitness, and clarity. With topics like these, you might expect a dry boring textbook style, but that's not the case with Mindhacker.

Sure, each hack is detailed, but never boring. As I went through it, I couldn't help but notice the emphasis on looking at old things in new ways and engaging in exercises whenever possible. Those of you who have Mind Performance Hacks might remember the occasional use of download computer programs to help in the exercises, which also happens here. There is a great sense of fun in each hack, but it never overpowers the original purpose, so as not to lose sight of a given hack's goal.

Obviously, as a non-fiction book, this isn't meant to be read from beginning to end. There are however, two basic ways to read it. Feel the need to improve, say, your mental creativity and productivity skills? Look that up in the table of contents, and find that section to learn more. Want to reread a particular hack, or look for a specific type of help for a mental challenge? Look through the second table of contents that covers both the chapters and individual hacks. This definite gives the book a more approachable feel.

Mindhacker really is a good match to Grey Matters readers, as it is all about improving your mind, and having fun while doing so. It's approachable, educational, fun, and neither intimidating nor condescending in tone. I highly recommend Mindhacker. If you haven't already picked up Mind Performance Hacks, do your mind a favor and pick them up together.

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