March 19, 2015

You Have a Brain {a review}

There comes a day when a child becomes an adult. In between those two extremes we find the teen years. Having two, almost three, teens in my home, I try to look at the teen years as a time of intense preparation. It is a unique time to grow and learn. A time like none other in the human life. A time to make the most of opportunity.

So, when I saw a book entitled You Have a Brain: A Teen's Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. by Ben Carson, MD, I had to at least take a look at it. I am ever so glad I did!

Carson begins the book with a short autobiography outlining some of the major events in his life, which helped shape him into the man he is today. In the second part of the book, Carson systematically explains the T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. acronym. Together, the two parts encourage teens to take charge of their lives and to do something of value with their brains. In the appendix, readers will find a "Personal Talent Assessment" to complete.

Reading through the book, I was struck by the easy going tone of Carson. Additionally, while the audience is teens, the book is not 'dumbed down' or condescending in any way.

The events Carson shares are relatable and purposeful. His life is inspirational and his words are full of wisdom. He shares specific incidents like a couple of long distance moves, harming a friend, and choosing between music and science. Though not every teen will experience these, the thought process, emotions, and choices serve as a model for other experiences. It was also refreshing how Carson related some menial events which at the time may have seemed ho-hum, but really helped prepare him for later in life. His job as a crane operator was not in the medical field at all, but the experience and understanding of how to operate a crane came in quite handy later in life during surgeries of precision. Using this example and others, Carson helps teen readers understand how experiences will shape and prepare us for adult life.

The second portion of the book, Carson unpacks T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G., letter by letter. He fully explains each concept, like talent, insight, and in-depth learning. Then, he shares practical ways he grew in that area and how teens can as well.

Despite not being in the target audience age group, I found the book informative and motivational for me personally as an individual (with a brain) and as a mom with four children. Obviously, anyone can glean wisdom on how to go further in life at any age. We can all use some motivation to do better. The greatest gem I found in the book, though, was how to help my children do better in tangible ways. I know the book wasn't written for this purpose. However, when I read it, I found it is a treasure chest of ideas for parents of teens and soon to be teens. Some of those ideas include finding mentors for my children in specific areas and encouraging them to take on more responsibilities in their own areas of interest.

Bottom Line
This book is a keeper! I know I've shared before how I typically give a review book to our church library after I've read and reviewed it. However, this time, instead of giving the book away, I simply recommended the library pick up its own copy. I want all my children to read this book before it gets donated.

~ Dorie

Fine Print: I received this book as part of the BookLook Blogger program. This review is in exchange for a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.

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