Book Summary: Think Smart – By Richard Restak MD

Think Smart is a book about the brain and improving your performance. There are highlights on how to significantly reduce your chances of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Why is this important to me?

To pursue your passion in life and achieve real meaning, physical and mental health is required. The benefits of physical exercise are numerous including, lower blood pressure, stronger heart and more energy. If you have ever been sick then you know firsthand that performance and ambition don’t mean anything because you cannot perform.

Mental health is even more important than physical health. Your brain functions just like a muscle, if you do not use it, you lose it. When your brain is firing on all cylinders, you can accomplish nearly anything. The more you exercise your brain the more you grow.

Think Smart is an easy read and very actionable. There are 4 key points that I will point out for the sake of time.

1. Brain Axiom – The brain runs on Oxygen and Glucose. The greater the activity, the more blood flow to the brain to compensate. Plasticity allows us to sculpt our brains according to our activity. This means that when the average person spends 5 hours per day in front of the TV, the brain compensates for it. This is very interesting axiom because your habits and activities will dictate your brain function over time. This is great news because with a smart plan of daily activities, you can improve your brain performance on purpose.

2. The Basics – Diet, exercise and sleep all improve/decline the brains performance depending on what you do. Things to do to improve brain performance: maintain low weight, eliminate saturated fats, eat fish (watch mercury levels), decrease red meats, drink moderate red wine and take in more fruits & veggies. Exercise increases blood flow which increases oxygen and glucose to the brain. Exercise daily based on where you are at physically and continually increase the exercise as you improve. The last key to the basics is sleep. Sleep reduces stress, energizes the brain and processes new information. Cortisol is released in high stress times; too much Cortisol is bad for the brain so reducing stress is critical to brain health.

3. Cool things – You can improve your brain performance on purpose. Using your brain and consistently challenging it will increase performance. Reading, thinking, puzzles and some video games can improve performance dramatically. Some video games have shown improved reflex actions along with visual performance improvements.

4. Think Smart provides a road map to increased brain function and better health. Warren Buffett the world famous investment guru has a very sharp mind and monster IQ. What most people do not know is that he reads for hours every day and fosters his brains performance. This simple repeatable habit has had compound effects on Mr. Buffett and I think his performance proves it. There are countless examples that lead to this conclusion.

I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is use it or lose it. I have read several books on the brain and all of them postulate that the brain does NOT decrease overtime like muscle mass. The exercised brain continually improves with age. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. You see this when people retire and don’t fill their time with constructive & challenging activities. The brain atrophies and performance withers.

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