Sunday, January 17, 2016

Let's Be Less Stupid: An Attempt to Maintain My Mental Faculties

It's not easy growing older, but for Patricia Marx, the decline of the mind provides fodder for a smart, often laugh-out-loud exploration of the human brain—"the three-pound wrinkly glop of glopoplasm in your skull" that contains "about a hundred billion neurons." In Let's Be Less Stupid, Marx--a curious, comic writer and contributor to Saturday Night Live, The New Yorker and the author of Starting from Happy--presents a candid, loosely structured memoir about her four-month mission to better understand, sharpen and boost her brain, which she claims is, "the size of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's fist, the consistency of flan, and weighs as much as a two-slice toaster." She states, "if you were a plastic surgeon, you'd say my brain needed a facelift."
Marx believes the modern world inundates minds, especially hers, with an overabundance of information--"the shoe size of my ex, the names of Sarah Jessica Parker's children, the calories in cottage cheese"--and, with age, the brain becomes a clogged think tank where "our cerebrums are filled with more facts than are contained in all the editions of Trivial Pursuit." Thus, she sets out to examine and test ways of transforming and rejuvenating her "ol' noggin'." She offers a trove of neuro-knowledge factoids and clever self-help strategies fortified with statistical data, word problems, quizzes, brainteasers and "Middle-age Mad Libs"; graphics, doodles, photographs and charts; physical and nutritional enhancements, medical tests and meditations. These accoutrements illustrate, reinforce and/or dispute theories Marx encounters amid her hilariously sophisticated, often literally mind-boggling, "get-smart" crusade.

Twelve Books, $22.00 Hardcover, 9781455554959, 208 pp
Publication Date: July 14, 2015

To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (7/30/15), link HERE