Review by Renu G -- The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach t...

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Renu G
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Latest Review: The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement by Anthony Simola

Review by Renu G -- The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach t...

Post by Renu G »

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement" by Anthony Simola.]
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1 out of 4 stars
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“If you find my arguments troubling, I sincerely encourage you to challenge them.” This is what Anthony Simola writes at the beginning of his book The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement. “There will undoubtedly be hysterical outcries criticizing my work, and I have made a firm commitment to ignoring them,” he writes at the end.

In the first edition that was published in 2015, Simola acknowledges he is a computer programmer and student of electrical engineering. The length of his book suits a doctoral dissertation, but the contents resemble an unusually lengthy undergraduate essay. I wonder from where he has compiled the interdisciplinary content that embraces medicine, technology, philosophy, psychology, and religion. The title itself has been borrowed from a book by Isaac Asimov.

Only a very senior professional with multidisciplinary qualifications at the postgraduate level as well as decades of experience could release authoritative statements on the diverse subjects. I’m certain that would include at least thirty pages of a well-chosen bibliography to prove the authenticity of the research. This book contains only five pages of a bibliography which seems to be of undergraduate level. There are endnotes for every chapter, but they are not numbered. This is unacceptable in scholarly circles. In today’s digital world with its information overload, book readers need to be very discerning. They need to identify the source of the author’s knowledge. It is a reviewer’s task to critically analyze and offer an honest opinion.

The Roving Mind is divided into three sections. The first part deals with intelligence and how it can be improved through nutrition, nootropics, etc. The next part provides examples of various thinkers on the subject along with practical advice by the author. These include teachings of eastern religions on brahmacharya, etc. The last part deals with the future of cognitive enhancement, including some discussion on psychopharmacology. As already mentioned, it refers to an extensive range of disciplines dealing with body, mind, and spirit. I have concrete reasons to believe the author is neither qualified nor experienced to give an expert opinion on any of these subjects. I would not bother describing the contents in more detail. I was enraged reading about his advice regarding a keto diet. I disliked it the most. Medical specialists are known to prescribe it in rare cases. This is inevitably started under expert supervision. Negligence can cause a coma and even death.

I have cited only one example of the risks posed by this book although there are many other points that captured my attention. Common sense tells me he has decades to go before he can teach these subjects. However, I liked the topic selected by the writer. It is relevant and fascinating. It allows the scope of genuine research by experts in various disciplines. Indeed, cognitive enhancement or growing in intelligence is needed in this world. The book seems to be professionally edited because I did not find any spelling or grammatical error. I appreciate the author for the choice of the topic. The contents have obviously been compiled from unknown sources and may appeal to uncritical readers. Nevertheless, I rate this book 1 out of 4 stars and do not recommend it for reading.

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The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement
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danielleamy
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Post by danielleamy »

It sounds like this book doesn't seem well researched or evidenced. It would be a shame if someone took medical advice from someone who wasn't a health professional. Perhaps with more research this would have potential to do well. Great review!
All the reading she had done had given her a view of life that they had never seen - Matilda, Roald Dahl
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Post by Prisallen »

This area is of interest to me, because of a history of dementia in our family. However, this book doesn't sound well researched at all and is written by someone with no professional background in brain research or the healthcare field. It is scary that there are people who might try to follow his advice. I'm staying away from this one. Thanks for a great review!
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Amanda Deck
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Post by Amanda Deck »

I just looked up keto diet and that's scary. My sister-in-law had a medical emergency where her body was doing what it sounds like this author is suggesting causing deliberately! She didn't die but it was touch and go, it was a pregnancy complication. I haven't read the book, so I can't actually claim he advocates anything dangerous but it sure doesn't sound safe from your review.
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Renu G
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Latest Review: The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement by Anthony Simola

Post by Renu G »

Thanks for your sharing your opinion!
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