Brain On!: Mental Fitness Strategies for Sharpening Focus, Boosting Energy, and Winning the Workday

Deb Smolensky

Publisher: Amplify Publishing Pages: 224 Price: (hardcover) $28.00 ISBN: 9781637556641 Reviewed: June, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

Global Well-Being and Engagement Practice Leader Deb Smolensky is a firm believer that any brain can be trained for optimal career performance—as long as the brain’s owner is equally focused on mental health and happiness. “The core of well-being is nurturing a strong, healthy, resilient mindset,” she writes, adding: “I believe the only way to thrive at work is to prioritize mental well-being above anything else.”

This refreshing viewpoint—particularly timely post-COVID, as workers look to find a saner and happier approach to work—is bolstered by a cheery, conversational tone. Smolensky touches lightly on the science behind behavioral change, including neuroplasticity, the effects of meditation, and how the brain works. She goes into more depth on how to change the relationship with your brain, how to keep your brain focused, and how to create a learning environment for your team, with a particular focus on emotional regulation.

Smolensky’s cheerleading style is warm and encouraging, and the message is likely to be well-received. The book’s interior is well-designed, with peppy cartoon brains and lots of easy-to-absorb bullet points.

The book falters, however, in the advice and tips themselves, which are interspersed with workbook questions for self-reflection. The suggestions cluster around identifying what brings you joy, finding your purpose, setting intentions, and focusing on the positive—all well-worn ideas explored in countless books.

Still, their application to the workplace is fresh. And although there’s little readers will find groundbreaking, the familiar tips are well organized and clearly presented. Those who need a friendly push to form better emotional habits will find it here.

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