Wish there were a gym for your brain? Your muscles need exercise to increase energy, strength, and dexterity -- and so does your brain.

Reading, puzzles, and other mental activities improve memory and learning capacity so you process information more efficiently. Ready to see how much it benefits your performance at work? Find your favorite books below and get started.

Best Books to Improve Intelligence

1. "Tactical Thinking: 50 Brain-Training Puzzles to Change the Way You Think" by Charles Phillips

Work puzzles created to develop and train your intellect. From warm-up exercises to advanced "simulators," your brain will get a real workout.

Review: Unavailable

2. "Train Your Brain" by Terry Horne and Simon Wootton

Practical exercises, puzzles, games, and tests help you develop intelligence and a healthier lifestyle.

Review: "Very thoughtful. It helps you to explore your potential ... no matter your age"

3. "Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain" by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Learn to think productively, creatively, and rationally. This book offers readers a new way to solve problems -- from minor lifehacks to major global reform.

Review: "I love anything that smacks around my thinking and turns it in new directions -- and this book did exactly that."

4. "How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why it Happens" by Benedict Carey

Learn how our brains absorb and retain information so you can proactively flex neural muscles and make deep learning possible.

Review: "A very interesting book with so many references to learning better and retaining what we learn for a longer period of time."

Books to Stimulate Your Mind

5. "The Sherlock Holmes Puzzle Collection" by John Watson

This playful book's riddles, puzzles, and teasers get your mind moving as only Sherlock and Watson can.

Review: "It is a fun book that's intriguing for all -- not just Sherlock Holmes fans."

6. "Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long" by David Rock

This book explains why our brains feel overloaded at times. And it shares strategies for staying calm, making good decisions, and boosting mental capabilities.

Review: "Rock's work ... is a godsend to those of us who don't have a PhD but want to take advantage of the work pioneers in SCAN are doing."

7. "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Charles Duhigg argues the key to achieving success is understanding how habits work.

Review: "The information in this book is simply life changing."

8. "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" by Malcolm Gladwell

Learn that great decision making isn't about time spent deliberating -- it's about knowing which filters matter.

Review: "This book is an excellent resource, explaining the power of thin slicing and the concept that most people call intuition."

Best Books on Memory Techniques

9. "Train Your Brain for Success: Read Smarter, Remember More, and Break Your Own Records" by Roger Seip

This collection of time-tested recipes might seem banal at first glance, but they work effectively -- even if you don't think your memory needs a boost.

Review: "This book has really helped me improve my career and personal life. I'm more deliberate with my day, accomplishing more than I ever expected."

10. "Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything" by Joshua Foer

This book describes the 12 months the author spent trying to understand his memory. Learn about the brain's internal mechanisms, natural protections, hidden potential, and training techniques.

Review: "This book not only captivates but conveys a well-rounded history and impact of memory."

11. "Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain" by Ryuta Kawashima

Japanese scientist and neuroscience specialist Ryuta shares his 60-day program of simple logic challenges that stimulate "gray cells."

Review: "I definitely feel an improvement in the movement of my thoughts. The exercises keep you current on your sharpness of mind, and you understand that without challenge your power of thought will weaken instead of strengthen."

12. "Boost Your Brain" by Joel Levy

The brain can be trained just like the body. Increase memory capacity and the ability and speed of analytical thinking. Plus, take a test that reveals your IQ and identifies areas you need to train.

Review: "This is a great puzzle and logic book for an advanced math student or gifted learner. Keep in mind that this book is designed to be a supplement for those who already know most math concepts."

13. "Unlimited Memory: How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More, and Be More Productive" by Kevin Horsley

Gain tools, strategies, and techniques for improving your memory by learning how to concentrate at will, store and recall useful information, and eliminate wasted time.

Review: "Mr. Horsley gives you clear and detailed methods that will help you improve your memory. The book is very well written, with exercises and examples of different techniques that guide you along the way."

Books to Expand Your Knowledge

14. "The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructable Self" by Dr. Alex Lickerman

Dr. Lickerman explains how to rebuild your mind, face problems, and see challenges as a source of strength.

Review: "The book ... has expanded my perception and understanding on how we experience difficulties in life."

15. "Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on It" by Ian Leslie

Everyone is born curious. This book explores why only some of us retain habits of exploring, learning, and discovering as we age.

Review: "This is a thought provoking read. It invited me to look at how I seek information."

16. "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman

Nobel prize-winning economist Kahneman explains the mind and its two systems that drive the way we think. Learn how to tap into the benefits of slow thinking, and find out when you can and cannot trust your intuition.

Review: "This book is easy to read and strikes an impressive balance; It preserves much of the evidence and logic found in his academic works, but presents the information in an approachable narrative."

Give your brain the workout it craves, and see tangible improvements in your everyday performance. What do you have to lose?

Want more? Read 12 Must-Read Sales Books For Beginners.

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Originally published Dec 28, 2017 5:41:00 PM, updated April 18 2018


Best Sales and Business Books