Book Review | Super Mind

Super Mind : How to Boost Performance and Live a Richer and Happier Life Through Transcendental Meditation by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D.

***I was given a chance to read this book this past Spring/Summer.  It came out in May.  I received a copy for free from TarcherPerigee to facilitate this review.  All opinions are 100% mine.***


When I first heard about this book, I was like, "YEAH!  I would LOVE to read it!"  I mean who wouldn't want to learn how to have a Super Mind?  Count me in!  I began reading it almost as soon as I received it in the Spring.

I'm going to start off by telling you two things about my time reading the book.

First, there is no doubt that Dr. Rosenthal believes in the powers of Transcendental Meditation.  His love of the process and the results is obvious. His enthusiasm might sway someone who already knew about Transcendental Meditation, and was considering it and needed more info.

Unfortunately, I found parts of the book hard to read.  Sometimes I would read the same line repeatedly several times because I couldn't pay attention to what it was saying.  Some parts were just too scientific for me.  There were other parts that were easier reading, but by the time I got through most of the book, Summer vacation had begun and life just took me away from it and it became harder to get through the book.

I knew nothing about Transcendental Meditation before I read this book.  I still don't know much about the actual act or process of Transcendental Meditation after reading the book, however I do now know it's benefits.  I didn't realize that the book wasn't going to actually teach me HOW to do TM.  Apparently, to be able to practice TM, you have to go to a qualified teacher to learn the technique and from what I've been able to find out, it can cost thousands of dollars.  There are references to how "effortless" TM is several times throughout the book. But, the book isn't about teaching you TM, it's about telling you the benefits.

Dr. Rosenthal has the book very well laid out.  He explains up front what each chapter is going to encompass.  He cross-references different chapters within each chapter if he has made mention of a certain subject before and tells how it relates.  He also has charts and graphs throughout the book.

In his own words, this is why he wrote Super Mind:

"I thought I had said everything worth saying about TM when I wrote Transcendence, so you might well ask, what's left to say? Transcendence focused on TM as a powerful technique for helping people with problems--for reducing stress and its related ailments. In contrast, the goal of Super Mind is to help anybody--including healthy and successful people, and even superperformers--who want to live a richer, more creative, and more fulfilling life.  It shows how TM can influence brain  functioning beyond mere stress reduction--and open the door to new possibilities."

I think a lot of the research that he references could be biased because the research is done by institutes that are involved in Transcendental Meditation.  But, Dr. Rosenthal admits that and also states many places that sometimes results could just be coincidental. I liked that. At least it showed me that he was honest about his findings and how he came about them.

There are a lot of examples from real people in the book about how TM has helped them, including examples from Hugh Jackman, Barry Zito and Megan Fairchild.

Reading the excerpt above about why he wrote the book, you might be thinking "I'd like to live a richer, more creative, and more fulfilling life", but still wonder why "Super Mind"?    From what I can understand from reading the book, Super Mind is when a person is in a state of Cosmic Consciousness~~a state when a person's consciousness develops to the point where transcendence is present continuously, and imparts all of the benefits of being in that state.

In order for you to understand it better, you would have to read the book.

I find it interesting that Dr. Rosenthal practiced TM when he was younger, fell out of the practice, came back to it several years later, and has been doing it since.  As I said earlier, it's easy to tell that he enjoys the practice, and he feels that he benefits from it greatly.  I'm glad that he took a scientific approach to the study of the practice and its benefits, instead of just saying, "This is why I do it and you should too."

A lot of the info that Dr. Rosenthal used for the book, he gathered from the Consciousness Integration Questionnaire.  It was a survey that collected data from 607 meditators, referred by various TM centers in the US and South Africa.  The results are shown in the book and there is a copy of the questions in the back of the book if you would like to see the questions that were asked.

Each chapter begins with quote(s) and ends with a summary that states the main points that the chapter was making.

There are 3 parts to the book:
1. Developing Consciousness
2. Gifts of the Super Mind
3. Beyond the Super Mind

Plus, 2 Appendices
and  an Index

If you have been wondering about Transcendental Meditation and its benefits, but unsure if you really wanted to learn it, this book could help give you more information to base your decision on.

About the author--
  Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D., is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School and the New York Times bestselling author of books including Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation and The Gift of Adversity: The Unexpected Benefits of Life's Difficulties, Setbacks, and Imperfections.  Dr. Rosenthal conducted research at the National Institute of Mental Health as a research fellow, researcher, and senior researcher for more than twenty years and was the first psychiatrist to describe and diagnose seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

You can find him in these ways:

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