Read an excerpt from the book

How this book came to be

Curtain. I walked out of the auditorium into the theatre's foyer, where I met with the actors and director of the play. People were crowding, pushing me, eager to squeeze in closer to the stars, to bask in their cold light. I listened to the words from the speakers-but I heard my body. My shoulders and forearms trembled, and I grasped them with my hands and rubbed them to warm them, but I felt no warmth. I felt nothing at all. The next morning my whole body went numb, from my chest down to my heels. It was numb as if it had been frozen with anaesthesia. It was insensitive and hypersensitive as if my skin had turned all its receptors outward. It was something new, and interesting. I waited three days for it to go away. Considering that I was rarely sick, except for the occasional cold or mild indigestion, the new sensation was only amusing.
But then I did go to the doctor. I remember his wary look and the words, "I don't want to scare you, but you need an MRI. I remember the MRI operator's businesslike tone, hiding her excitement and sympathy. She showed me a spot on the screen on my cervical spine and told me that further examination was needed, but the suspicions were very disappointing. "So what is it?" - I asked. Surprisingly, it seemed that even before her answer, "A tumour?" sounded in my head all by itself. "The doctor will give a full transcript in an hour, it looks like a tumour or multiple sclerosis," the girl replied, averting her eyes. "So it's a choice between 'bad' and 'bad'?" - I asked. She shrugged.
And then three months of wandering around hospitals and clinics, clarifying the diagnosis: it turned out that I had a small inflammation. All this time I read tons of specialized literature, sorted out the various intricacies and analyzed the long list of factors that could affect the occurrence of the disease.
Finally, I underwent hormone therapy and returned home to recover. Family and friends breathed a sigh of relief.
I lost my job, of course. I remember how I was still on trembling legs, went to interviews, planning to go back to work in a couple of weeks and return to the old life. I must have looked weird. The realization came to me with some delay. After therapy, everything happened with a delay, like a stabilizer. You know, such devices are connected to machinery and the stabilizer diagnoses the power grid before it goes into operation. I looked at the text and caught the meaning with a delay-if I could catch it at all. The words themselves got confused, they did not immediately come to mind, and I became absent-minded. Speech slowed down, and I often stopped to search for the right word; I was not much of a conversationalist. When I realized this, I panicked. Twenty years in leadership positions, a great career, and incessant training were my reality, and it was melting before my eyes. Was it all in the past?
I began to look for specialists - through acquaintances, through references, through recommendations. Cognitive therapists said: don't worry, it's treatable, but everything is in your hands. The only caveat: the treatment is not medication, it has to be a conscious thought effort - training, training, training. I learned that cognitive ability decreases, and not only in me but in everyone, everywhere; many people do not even think about it and write it all off to fatigue and age. So I had to start reading books and practical manuals again.
For a whole year, I tried various techniques and studied literature not only on neurophysiology but also on psychology and neuropsychology, and read textbooks on cognitive sciences. I also learned Italian, trained my memory, and mastered sketch writing and speed-reading. I began to help people I knew, to tell them how to improve their concentration and memory. When people came back to me with glowing eyes, "It worked!" - I realized that it was time to create my program and work with people who were focused on personal growth, developing their mental abilities, on a fruitful partnership with their brains.
With my experience and the path I have travelled, my knowledge can be useful to others.

The question of mental abilities is quite sensitive, and not everyone is ready to admit even to himself that memory has become worse, perception of information has "sat down", it is more and more difficult to find solutions to problems, and read new books is more and more boring. The fault can be not only internal reasons related to the work of the brain but also external factors of an aggressive information environment.
I have always believed that the strategy of talking openly with myself about my weaknesses leads to decisive action - to change, to become stronger. That's how this book came to be, which talks about the various factors that affect our mental productivity. We are living longer - scientists say that old age has been pushed back by as much as 30 years. That's a plus, but it's also a challenge: to extend mental productivity by the same 30 years. Or even significantly increase it. After all, the cumulative effect of life experience can work - why not live several professional lives, and have several careers? To keep up with the digital age and easily understand the increasingly complex world around us, we need to "sharpen" our brains, and get metacognition ("knowledge of knowledge") of how our intellectual systems work. And we can also revise, upgrade, remove obsolete programs and download new ones. I invite you with me on this fascinating journey.
Your Brain Trainer, Elena Sosnovtseva