Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Stress Test - Ian Robertson

 Book Review
The Stress Test
Ian Robertson
Bloomsbury 16.6.16

Sent to me by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review

Book Info: Non-Fiction, Hardback, 256pp

Buy/Read Now (links): Amazon UK/Amazon US/Goodreads

Rating: 5/5

Audience: Readers who want to learn more about the science/psychology behind stress and also how to use stress to improve your life.

Summed up in a few words: Invigorating. Informative. Evolutionary.

First Impressions: I am a Non-Fiction lover and I am a psychology addict as well so this book was always going to sit well with me. That said I have read some pretty average books on the mind/brain but thankfully this is one of the better pieces I have read on the subject. Ian Robertson has spent four decades researching and working in both the Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology so he has an outstanding knowledge of both the brain and the mind. I believe this book is very important, it not only explains stress in a clear and understandable format, IR also shows us that we can use stress to better our lives in certain ways.

Author Bio: Ian Robertson is a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist with a unique ability to apply his research to the pressures of everyday life. His previous books, Mind Sculpture, The Mind's Eye and The Winner Effect, have been translated into many languages and he is widely recognised as one of the world's leading researchers in neuropsychology. (Website) @ihrobertson

Book Synopsis: Why is it that some people react to seemingly trivial emotional upset - like failing an unimportant exam - with distress, while others power through life-changing tragedies showing barely any emotional upset whatsoever? How do some people shine brilliantly at public speaking when others stumble with their words and seem on the verge of an anxiety attack? Why do some people sink into all-consuming depression when life has dealt them a poor hand, while others it merely increases their resilience?

The difference between too much pressure and too little can result in either debilitating stress or enduring demotivation in extreme situations. However, the right level of challenge and stress can help people to flourish and achieve more than they ever thought possible. In The Stress Test, clinical psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist Professor Ian Robertson, armed with over four decades of research, reveals how we can shape our brain's response to pressure and answers the question: can stress ever be a good thing?

The Stress Test is a revelatory study of how and why we react to pressure in the way we do, with real practical benefit to how we live.

My Thoughts: I am so glad I read this book. Being quite a stress prone individual myself, The Stress Test taught me some harsh truths and I learnt plenty along the way. Ian Robertson has been working hard for his entire career dealing with stress (and some major shifts in opinion within his fields of research) to find out whether or not Nietzsche's maxim 'What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger' is really true and to what degree. 

IR knows stress inside and out but over the years he has been putting the pieces together via his case studies and research to find out how good/bad stress really is. In The Stress Test, IR takes us on a trip through some of the main types/areas of stress like attention/concentration, to the chemical reactions that happen during stressful situations and why some people who have been through hell and back are fine and those who have suffered a minor setback have crumpled to pieces.

Over the course of the book IR elaborates on how stress really effects us and how much stress can actually make a positive difference to our health and outlook on life. He does this so well using personal experience, case studies, relationships and research to fluidly explain aspects of stress and its effects. Though IR does use technical jargon at times, he always clarifies his points in a clear and general fashion. 

I really appreciate the fact that he used his own research and case studies to give depth to his content as it is quite common in these types of books for authors to continually use famous or over used stories and concepts to make their points clear. This individuality gave this book a different feel and you could definitely sense IR's appreciation for his work and the fact that even after 40 years of doing his job, his is still as invested as he has always been.

I was amazed by some of IR'S findings and revelations in this book and they have already changed my views on past experiences with stress and also given me lots of tips and tricks to consider when dealing with stress in the future. This book is extremely important for many reasons but the ones that stuck out to me the most are the rising levels of stress and depression we all experience even in our modern, healthy and technology filled existence and the fact that almost 50% of the elderly are experiencing some form of Dementia or Alzheimer's Disease. Ian Robertson and his colleagues are doing amazing things to change our understanding of stress and mental health and how we combat it in the future and The Stress Test is the essence of that progress. 

Thank you for checking out this review. I appreciate you coming by, please leave a comment about you thoughts on my review and I hope you come back for more reviews, Q&As and much more at Always Trust In Books.




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