Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain

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  • not the freshest or best written title out there on navigating the neurology of the teenage brain
  • a worthwhile first entry onto the teen parenting bookshelf
  • does promote an optimistic perspective on teen behavior stereotypes that somewhat redeems it as a purchase

Brainstorm brings much promise to the table of teen-parent relations, a promise that unfortunately goes not entirely fulfilled. Author and clinical professor of psychiatry Daniel Siegel is endeavoring here to promote the “good side” of teenage brain development, casting an optimistic light on typically derided teen tropes like emotional unpredictability and a restless search for identity. But lackadaisical writing and an unsuccessful bid to appeal to both teen and parent readers gives Brainstorm‘s contents an unappealing brittleness.

Siegel unfortunately drowns his writing style in too much medical jargon, and starves it with too little argumentative structure, to truly stand out in the competitive teen science book category. Science diehards who insist their teen parenting books teem with hardcore research and statistics won’t go for Brainstorm, whose approach employs a softer, more results-based tone geared toward parents too busy to look up peer reviewed case studies. And few if any teenagers, at whom Siegel has aimed Brainstorm alongside their parents, would take a break from their smartphones long enough to tackle the book’sĀ impatient hopscotching from topic to topic.

Not a horrible read nor one to write home about, Brainstorm goes down best as an initial book for naive parents and teachers just beginning to delve into the stack of significant teen brain titles.