My Books

Blame My Brain

blame-my-brain-nicola-morgan

The revised edition of Blame My Brain – The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed - first published in 2005 and updated in 2007 and 2013.

Signed copies available from my online shop, unsigned copies from all good shops, and the ebook from wherever you normally buy ebooks!

BLAME MY BRAIN was shortlisted for the Aventis prize for science-writing, is internationally acclaimed, and has been reprinted many times and translated into other languages. It is highly unusual (possibly unique) in being written specifically for teenagers to understand their own brains.

“Nicola Morgan has that rare gift of being able to communicate science and make it fun. She brings the biology of the brain to the general reader in a way that will not only educate but entertain.” (Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Department of Developmental Psychopathology, Cambridge University)

“I want to say how much I enjoyed the book. It is excellent and just what is needed.” (Professor John Stein, Oxford University)

“..really good and it taught me a lot about my brain.” (Ross Rae, 13)

“…and me a lot about my son!” (George Rae, 45)

I do many events for teenagers and for adults who wish to understand about teenage behaviour and be reassured about it. Do look at the events page above. I’ve done work for charities, mental health departments and local councils, as well as schools. And if the cost of that would be out of your budget, look out for information about Brain Sticks, my forthcoming multimedia learning resources about the brain and mental health.

About the book: Blame My Brain shows what’s going on in your head, why, why it’s important, how long it will last, and what you can do about it. It speaks directly to you, teenagers, and is for you. But parents and teachers usually grab it and devour it eagerly… There’s fantastic research into the teenage brain and what scientists have discovered in the last few years will amaze you. And reassure you. And amaze and reassure your parents.

Scientists used to think that when we are born we have all the brain cells (neurons) we’ll ever have. Now they know it’s not true. And especially that just before puberty large numbers of extra ones suddenly grow. Then, during the rest of adolescence, about the same amount are cut back drastically. During adolescence, bits of your brain develop at different speeds. Your teenage brain is in a state of physical change, probably greater than at any time since you were two years old and greater than at any time you will experience again.

As an example, researchers asked a group of adolescents and adults to look at a picture of a woman showing a particular emotion. Then they asked them all what the emotion was. All the adults got it right. About half of the teenagers got it wrong.

BUT the most amazing thing was that when researchers scanned their brains while they were doing the test, the teenagers who got it wrong were using a completely different part of their brain. They were using the bit that deals with raw emotion, gut instinct, not logic. The adults were using the logical bit.

You can do that test too: it’s in the book.

Writing Blame My Brain changed me. I didn’t mean it to. It has changed other adults who have read it, too. Quite simply, it has changed positively the way we react to and think about teenagers.

MAIN REVIEWS

British Medical Journal, Lesley Morrison, GP: “Written for teenagers but invaluable reading for those coping with them – parents, doctors, and teachers – Blame My Brain, a guide to the biology behind teenage behaviour, is informative, accessible, interactive, and fun. There are self administered “tests,” scientific explanations (including wonderful images of trees to depict brain development), useful advice about emotions, sleep, risk, and harmful behaviours, and guidance about websites and other sources of reliable information. I am a parent of three teenagers, and many of its stories about getting risk in proportion rang bells for me…

“Although she states clearly that she is not a scientist, she is well qualified to communicate scientific material about “the amazing teenage brain.” Her message to teenagers is subtle but clear: “You might even decide to respect your brain and treat it a bit better, once you know what’s going on inside it.”

“…. Blame My Brain is pro-teenager without being anti-adult, sympathetic without being sentimental, sensitive and funny.

“Our practice has a books-on-prescription scheme. The local library holds books on health related issues for us and we issue “prescriptions” for patients who are not library members. I am going to suggest that we get six copies of this book. In fact, maybe I’ll suggest that we get a copy for every family in the practice.”

The Scotsman, Frank Gerstenberg: “It is very rare that an author succeeds in writing a book for teenagers which is also a “must read” for their parents and teachers. Nicola Morgan has done just that with her Blame My Brain. It does not seek to excuse anti-social teenage behaviour, but it certainly goes a long way to explaining it … There is no adequate text book for parents and their children, but this one fills an important gap, and Morgan deals with all the issues with good humour. … she ends on an optimistic note, emphasising that the brain is indeed a wonderful thing, and that while a small number of teenagers do suffer greatly during their teenage years, the vast majority come through relatively unscathed. Blame My Brain can only help them do that.”

Times Educational Supplement, Rosanne Bartlett, assistant headteacher: “Blame My Brain was written for teenagers, but teachers and parents can benefit from it. … I only wish this book had been around when dealing with my own teenager’s antisocial behaviour. … The sections on alcohol and drug abuse will support PSHE programmes in school, as well as offering useful websites. … This is a good resource to share with students to help them deal with what is potentially the most challenging, but also the most exciting, period in their development.”

Sunday Herald, Lindsey Fraser: “Blame My Brain won’t prevent you taking the flack for some of your less illustrious actions, but it will shed some light on why you think and behave in the way you do.”

Reading Time (Australia): “…this is one of those rare information books that entertains as it informs….Smart advice in an irrestistible package.”

Austral Ed, Australian website for schools: “As the mother and teacher of teenagers and also a writer for teenagers, Nicola Morgan brings an extremely interesting mixture of scientific knowledge which she has related to the social context of teenage behaviour.  … This is an extremely informative and entertaining book.  At times it is very funny and I think teenagers, parents and teachers will all find it very useful to help them understand why teenagers can behave so erratically at times.”
http://www.australed.iinet.net.au/MYP_NF_Areas.html

Katy Balls, 15: “It’s nice to know that your bad moods, bad attitude and all the less attractive parts of your personality could be partly down to your teenage brain! I particularly enjoyed the cut scenes, quick tests and the helpful hints to make my brain brilliant!

CURRENTLY WRITING: The Guide to Teenage Stress - publishing summer 2014