Give Your Mind a Workout With These Brain Boosting Reads

Get smart with puzzle books that go beyond Sudoku.

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The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain by Barbara Stauch


The aging brain is more capable than previously thought, according to Stauch, who astutely explores the latest scientific findings and explains how to keep the mind in tip top shape. 


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How Math Can Save Your Life by James D. Stein


You and math broke up back in high school? With Stein’s book—which illustrates how re-learning arithmetic can save you money, help you win an argument and much more—you may consider getting back together.


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Brain Candy: Science, Paradoxes, Puzzles, Logic, and Illogic to Nourish Your Neurons by Garth Sundem


It’s hard not to judge a book by its cover, especially when it advertises something so sweet and rewarding and includes discoveries about the science of body language, "how your diet might make you dumb" and "the truth about brain sweat." Play games and get smart with this compendium on the latest in neuroscience. 


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Sit & Solve: Fun & Easy Cryptograms by Trip Payne


Are you crazy for celebrities? Indulge your love of all things La La Land and feed your head with these celeb quip-revealing cryptograms. 


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The Playful Brain by Richard Restak, M.D. and Scott Kim

A neuroscientist and a puzzle developer teamed up for this read, which explores how and why  games benefit your grey matter.  


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Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal


Games do a body good—even the video variety. Here, McGonigal, the director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future, shows how gamers help “improve the quality of our daily lives, fight social problems like depression and obesity and address vital 21st century challenges.”


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Better Living Through Science by Mark Frary


Whether you’re struggling to open a pickle jar, rid yourself of nasty garlic breath or move a baby grand piano through a not-so-grand doorway, Frary’s got a practical scientific solution (think physics, chemistry, geometry) to solve your household problems.  


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Pocket Post Logic by The Puzzle Society


Give your iPhone a rest! For the ultimate geek chic accessory, pick up this feminine, purse-sized book of 100 logic puzzles (a grid is used to sort through positive and negative information).


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600 Black Spots by David A. Carter


I spy with my little eye something . . . black. That’s the idea behind Carter’s clever pop up puzzle. It’s dotted with black spots, but shapes and colors can play tricks on the mind, so beware.


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Why Did I Buy This Book by Lynn Brunelle


This antidote for the absent-minded builds on the idea that the brain can rewire itself for learning and memory—with the help of word games, visual spatial challenges trivia and more. And Emmy Award-winning author Brunelle has plenty of smarty pants street cred: she’s written for Cranium, Brain Quest and Bill Nye the Science Guy.


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Conundrums by Harry Pearce


Words and images collide in this playful little book of brainteasers. Challenge yourself to solve all 171 typographic puzzles. Bonus: This chic, modern tome is suitable for your coffee table too.


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KenKen to Exercise Your Brain by Will Shortz and Tetsuya Miyamoto


Sick of Sudoku? Try KenKen. The square grid setup may look the same, but KenKen stretches the mind with math.


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First Published January 12, 2011

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