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Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body cover art

Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body

Written by: Daniel Goleman,Richard Davidson
Narrated by: Daniel Goleman
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Publisher's 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 listeners say about Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body

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Read it

Probably a much better read than a listen with technical details and ability to skip to summary pages.

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3 people found this helpful

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  • ian
  • 2019-03-22

amazing

good book. I enjoyed it. definitely for the more scientifically inclined. sometimes hard to follow the neurology terms and I had to stop the tape a few times to look up some terms. it would definitely work better with a couple diagrams. overall excellent book and work by the authors. keep up the good work!

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2 people found this helpful

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A very humble commentary of research on mediation

A journey of two researchers who ventured to the u known , strong conviction, courage to accept flaws in design and constant perseverance for the sake of knowledge

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1 person found this helpful

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Great summary of scientific research on meditation

"What you know about meditation might be wrong. What is true about meditation you might not know". (paraphrased from the book)

Altered Traits delivers on what the authors promise in introducing the book. It summarizes the reasonably robust research findings on a few different benefits of meditation. I particularly liked that the authors are upfront about the potential shortcomings, abuses and misreporting of growing "research" on the benefits of meditation, and separate the reliable findings from the rest.

The order of the middle chapters seems somewhat arbitrary and the quality of the results they report varies. However there are several remarkable findings and thought-provoking hypotheses particularly in the final chapters.

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  • E. A. Jacques
  • 2017-12-14

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

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89 people found this helpful

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  • Luana
  • 2018-01-11

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.

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24 people found this helpful

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  • Cliente Amazon
  • 2019-01-17

Scientifically precise, but not so entertaining

The book does not present a story throughout, instead each chapter present scientific findings related to meditation and mindfullness. Although the science seems precise and convincing the presentation is dry and repetative, mentioning too many unnecessary details and I had a hard time listening to and paying attention to the content.

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19 people found this helpful

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  • Tristan
  • 2019-01-05

Couldn't wade through it

It is strange that one of the authors is a journalist, because the writing does not flow. The stories feel like a distraction rather than something that pulls you in. I skipped forward a bit to try to get to the meat and then just gave up. Other reviewers are right that when the authors write about themselves in the 3rd person, it doesn't work. Instead of sounding personal and engaging, it sounds jarring. It'd be ok if it were for just a moment, but the whole book is written that way.

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19 people found this helpful

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  • Bryce
  • 2018-01-27

Fascinating

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

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18 people found this helpful

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  • Wade
  • 2019-03-01

Easily digestible

this book does an excellent job of reviewing the research done on meditation and its effects. it also speaks to the topic of what makes valid research. and how the scientific community has gotten away from it in some respects. I will admit the author's kind of go on tangents about there meditation experiences and retreats. but they make up for it with a focused in a nutshell summary at the end of each chapter. if you want to focus on the nuts and bolts just read the summaries.

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  • lisa
  • 2019-02-14

infomercial stroke session

Actual information if present at all is buried so deep in this disjointed infomercial you can't get to it. The repeated "we're so great and we were beyond our time" makes this book tedious and unbearable. Who published this self- serving tripe? Don't waste your time. So disappointed.

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  • OCreviewer
  • 2020-07-12

Disappointing

Most of this book is miscellaneous ramblings about various personages involved in different levels of meditation or similar concepts. Perhaps ten percent of it contains anything resembling “science” or revelations from scientific efforts. I thought it not worth the time to read

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  • Joel C S
  • 2019-02-23

A Totally Understandable Summary of the Science

This excellent book provides a clear and comprehensive summary of what is know scientifically about the benefits of meditation and its effects on the human mind. If you are a practiced meditator; a scientifically interested person; a scientist working in the field of neurobiology and psychology looking for a summary overview of the field; or a person just interested in improving your mental health and considering meditation as an approach, this book is for you. As a working scientist and meditator myself, I loved this book and have recommended it to my nonscientific friends who have raved about it. A must read for any curious person.

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  • Marguerite Smoot
  • 2018-12-19

Great book! Scientific support for meditation.

the book of gives an exhaustive explanation of scientific research and methods and that part may tempt you to not listen to the rest of the audiobook, but it gives important insight into how meditation has been proven to be a benefit and how it can actually change your physical and mental traits. please listen to the whole audio and stick through the "boring" details.

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  • tom
  • 2018-11-05

Truly exceptional compilation of research.

Daniel happens to be a excellent narrator as well. A nice scientific approach for those close minded about the religious aspects of meditation like me.

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