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Summary

Two New York Times best-selling authors unveil new research showing what meditation can really do for the brain. In the last 20 years, meditation and mindfulness have gone from being kind of cool to becoming an omnipresent Band-Aid for fixing everything from your weight to your relationship to your achievement level. Unveiling here the kind of cutting-edge research that has made them giants in their fields, Daniel Goleman and Richard J Davidson show us the truth about what meditation can really do for us, as well as exactly how to get the most out of it. Sweeping away common misconceptions and neuromythology to open listeners' eyes to the ways data has been distorted to sell mind-training methods, the authors demonstrate that beyond the pleasant states mental exercises can produce, the real payoffs are the lasting personality traits that can result. But short daily doses will not get us to the highest level of lasting positive change - even if we continue for years - without specific additions. More than sheer hours, we need smart practice, including crucial ingredients such as targeted feedback from a master teacher and a more spacious, less attached view of the self, all of which are missing in widespread versions of mind training. The authors also reveal the latest data from Davidson's own lab that point to a new methodology for developing a broader array of mind-training methods with larger implications for how we can derive the greatest benefits from the practice. Exciting, compelling, and grounded in new research, this is one of those rare books that has the power to change us at the deepest level.

©2017 Penguin Group (USA) LLC (P)2017 More Than Sound, LLC

What members say

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Not for me, unfortunately.

Having read previous books by Daniel Goleman I was excited about this one. Unfortunately I struggled to finish it as I thought he was going on and on about things and not getting anywhere. Perhaps it's one to be listened to whilst resting rather than running errands, exercising etc.
Narrator is excellent though. Sometimes it felt like he was an acquaintance just having a chat.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Top read if you are into meditation

Well worth the listen. Excellent book, masterfully read. The overview of the science behind meditation makes a very compelling case.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding

If you're considering taking up meditation, this book is a must read. A work of research spanning some forty years, including the most recently available data, it demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt the many - and often profound - benefits of practising meditation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Indepth but not over reaching

No crazy claims made, points out holes in research. Fascinating stories and findings. Good narrator!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

A good mixture of science, intuition, and enquiry.

This book contains an animal into the explorations of two scientists into the world of meditation. Furthermore, it offers re-sources and concepts that can improve daily life, using the different kinds of meditation.

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Morally Bankrupt

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

By displaying a modicum of ethical consistency and integrity. The authors make a big deal of the truth and evidence (and an even bigger deal of being Harvard researchers, on and on they go about it.)
But their opening story is of a heroic general who led the slaughter of untold numbers of people in Afghanistan and Iraq following the 9/11 attacks. But the whole rationale for those invasions was a pack of lies. Yet this goes unremarked by the Harvard professors, who obviously feel that those lies and deceits are excusable, as long as you don't lie about the results from the lab. And so evil is done, and the evil doers are protected from feeling bad by the techniques developed by people at Harvard.

Has Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body put you off other books in this genre?

It has put me off any psychology popular science books with the word 'bestseller' in the advertising material.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Daniel Goleman?

George W. Bush

What character would you cut from Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body?

Its not a fiction, so your question is meaningless.

3 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Luanna Vieira Leite
  • 11-01-18

Important information for meditation seekers

Good to know the proven benefits of meditation. I had a little difficulty in understanding the narrator before I started listening to the audio on a lower speed.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Bryce
  • 27-01-18

Fascinating

Some of the most interesting research and anecdotes in the field of neuroscience today. Great book for the science minded meditator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • E. A. Jacques
  • 14-12-17

Couldn't Make it Past the Two Hour Mark

I have a standing rule that I will listen to any audio book I purchase until the end, no matter what. I have a few that are still queued up that I intent to finish at some point so I am true to myself. This one has been relegated to that queue. Over two hours into the book and so far, no substance what so ever. I do not see what people are getting from this book.

I practice meditation daily and am working to making living mindfully a way of life. I have purchased countless books on the subjects. Some of the top rated and some not so high up the list and every one has been far better than this book.

I had a hard time figuring out where the authors were going with this book. Just babbling about who traveled where and did what, some vague references to studies that were completed, and just plain dribble for two hours. I started skipping chapters to see if it was going to actually get-on-with-it. Nope. Same old stuff.

And to make matters worse, the narrator speaks like he is reading a kids book to a bunch of first graders. Not that it could have saved this book, but spend the money and get a professional narrator next time.

I would have given it one star in every category, but since I did not finish the book, I gave it two stars for story.

There are sooooo many better books out there on meditation and mindfulness. Do yourself a favor don't make this your first one on the topic and skip it if, like me, you have been studying for some time. Not worth the credit. I wish I could get a refund

23 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert Merlin
  • 22-09-18

Good information

Kept my attention but the authors voice was hard to listen to. Normally I enjoy when the author reads their own work. But the story of meditation and the studies were so captivating that it was ok. Read this if you want to know about the science of meditation and not the fluff that we are being told is real. loved the wrap up at the end of each chapter.

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  • Ken
  • 11-09-18

Great mix of careful review of science and autobio

This is an excellent and very accessible overview of the current state of our understanding of meditation practices. Part autobiography and part literature review, it does a fine job of both humanizing the difficult task of doing good research in cognitive science and neuroscience even while reviewing the best work in the field. Especially valuable and too often missing from reviews like this is the clear statement of criteria used to decide whether a study's results can be trusted. It's worth paying careful attention to learn how to spot good versus bad work in research in general. Highly recommended.

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  • Anthony I. Jack
  • 27-06-18

the definitive current science of meditation

A very important book which separates the overhyped nonsense about meditation and mindfulness from what is reasonable to currently conclude on the basis of science. This book is essential for anyone interested in teaching or merely having their own true evidence based mindfullness practice. Also, the history is fascinating and the book could not have a more reputable pair of authors. They were there from the start of the science of meditation and are very accomplished in their own rights as a research scientist and as a science journalist. My only quiblle is that Goleman's narration wasnt that lively and even seemed to get emphasis wrong at points. Not a bad performance but not the brilliant performance I expected.

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  • Amrendra
  • 10-06-18

Enjoyable listening

Very deep insights into mind body consciousness, and about how important is meditation in our daily lives.

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  • Reid Hicks
  • 13-05-18

Pretty good

Altered Traits walks the reader through different types of meditation and to be careful that it is now being sold as a product which is counter to what meditation indeed is: a practice to better oneself. Both authors use science and practical explanations of the benefits of meditation that are both intriguing and in a sense tempting because you’ll want to stop reading and dive deeper into your meditative practice.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-04-18

Interesting Information

I enjoyed the book and plan to purchase hard copy for reference purposes for the future.

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  • Dipanshu Sharma
  • 17-04-18

Excellent book

The book takes a scientific approach to testing and proving actual results of meditation and yoga practice. Results prove increased focus, compassion and mindfulness.

It also disproves some extreme theories such as ability to increase body temperature etc.