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How My Brain Works
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.00 out of 10


Idea: How My Brain Works offers a clear, detailed introduction to the field of neuropsychology and how neuropsychological evaluation can benefit individuals seeking to assess their overall cognitive functioning. The case studies the author presents will be of particular benefit to individuals studying neuropsychology themselves, while material related to "brain games," mindfulness, spiritual connectedness, and emotional wellness will appeal to general readers.

Prose/Style: Koltuska-Haskin is a very competent writer, crafting well-organized and clear chapters. While the work doesn't provide in-depth analysis of specific conditions, it addresses how neuropsychology can provide a roadmap for better understanding and treatment of substance use disorders, depression, ADHD, and a broad range of other emotional and cognitive problems.

Originality: There are many books that touch on the topics of meditation, mindfulness, eating well, etc., many of which the author recommends for brain health. These sections of the text are not particularly novel, but the focus on neuropsychology is certainly unique. 

Character Development/Execution: This is a solidly informative introduction to neuropsychology for students as well as readers who are curious about their brain health and wish to maximize their cognitive potential.

Date Submitted: January 23, 2021

Neuropsychologist Koltuska-Haskin's illuminating debut can be characterized as two self-help guides in one, delineating the elements of neuropsychology and laying out a practical model for bettering brain health. The first section of this thorough guide touches on the history of clinical neuropsychology, effective evaluation methods, and the importance of reliable medical examinations, particularly for attention deficit disorders and traumatic brain injuries. Koltuska-Haskin clearly explains the stages of a neuropsychological evaluation for clients, taking into account differing circumstances. Outlining technical procedures in unobtrusive detail, she delves into trickier aspects of medical care, such as insurance and the privacy of medical records under HIPAA. The second half of the book offers a variety of suggestions for boosting one’s own brain health by attending to sleep, exercise, meditation, and other practices.

In unembellished prose, Koltuska-Haskin shines a light on the common hurdles accompanying a neuropsychology diagnosis. She avoids recondite jargon and patiently breaks down terms and procedures for the uninitiated. Readers will appreciate the enlightening case studies from Koltuska-Haskin’s experience as a neuropsychologist and the emphasis on how patients, their caregivers, and their medical teams can benefit from an all-encompassing neurological investigation. In the second half, her take on nutrition is ably bolstered by easy-to-prepare recipes, and she offers tips on gardening, mindfulness, and other ways to maintain a sound supply of "emotional vitamins." For readers who have trouble meditating, she suggests a helpful roadmap to achieving a calmer state of mind and alleviating emotional and physical pains.

While the prose can become repetitive at times, it only drives the points across more clearly, and Koltuska-Haskin sustains a confident and calm voice throughout while enthusiastically guiding her audience toward realizing their cerebral potential. Offering a readable interpretation of a complicated topic, this informative guide gives an engaging, digestible account of the human brain’s workings and ways to improve mental and physical health.

Takeaway: This easy-to-follow, informative guide will help readers understand the discipline of neuropsychology and how to improve brain functioning.

Great for fans of: Catherine M. Pittman and Elizabeth M. Karle’s Rewire Your Anxious Brain, V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee’s Phantoms in the Brain, Thomas Armstrong’s The Power of Neurodiversity.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: B-