It makes sense to tell the story of how I got to reading this book, where I really came from, so that you might have some sense of whether or not the book would speak to you in a similar way it did to me, at the point you stand in your life today. Daniel Siegel's work is almost easier to listen to than it is to read, in my very humble opinion, because his calming energy communicates the ideas that he's speaking in a more energetic sort of way. The thing about Neurobiology of We, like Mindsight (which I also listened to but haven't read), is that there is quite a bit of detail. Looking at my audible.com history, I bought the book on March 10, 2012, thinking "Wow this sounds interesting." I was very into reading personal development books, but hadn't really hit a lot of the therapy type books. I remembered Mindsight being a challenging book. My goal for getting through the book was to actually UNDERSTAND the ideas the guy was talking about. And then ironically a big idea in this book was that mindfulness and meditation actually "repairs" parts of your brain. You can change your brain in a relationship (which is what therapy is really all about, and as a "being an adult" person I can absolutely start to see that). This brain-mind-relationship idea is a big one for me. (I wasn't beaten or raped or anything, and I always THOUGHT my childhood was "normal" which to me meant I was fine...and over the past few years I've realized WHOA I'm not crazy...they were! But then that made me "crazy" but repairably so...) I had thought the highest leverage area I could learn about was business (its still a high leverage thing I plan to pursue after I feel good about my emotional work with my therapist and all this reading and stuff.) And now, from Siegel's ideas, I realize that the biggest area for growth for me was this emotional work and understanding my brain. But not understanding it from like BOOK SMARTS, but more so from LIFE EXPERIENCE SMARTS, making sense of my experience of life.
This book is an excellent work on how our relationships shape our mind and how empathy and compassion between us creates new neural pathways for integration in the brain to create a better sense of we.
Attachment style is linked to child response: secure-attachment children reach out to the parent, and then resume play; avoidant-attachment children ignore the parent; anxious-attachment cling to the parent and are slow to be comforted; disorganized-attachment exhibit confused, contradictory responses. The demographic ratios between these styles in US society tends to be 55% secure, 20% anxious, 20% avoidant, 5% disorganized. Another interesting point of the book relates to trauma, or PTSD. The first is a matter of definition; Siegel likes to define the mind as a "process that organizes energy and information flowing through the brain". My second criticism is one that I have so far felt against the fields of positive psychology as a whole: I just didn't learn very much from this book. That said, this book does represent a fairly compelling "beginner's guide" to interpersonal neurobiology, and I look forward to learning more (especially how interpersonal neurobiology relates to mindfulness meditation).
Published author of several highly acclaimed works, Dr. Siegels books include the New York Times bestseller Brainstorm, along with "Mindsight," "The Developing Mind," "The Mindful Brain," "The Mindful Therapist," in addition to co-authoring "Parenting From the Inside Out," with Mary Hartzell and "The Whole-Brain Child," with Tina Bryson. He is also the Founding Editor of the Norton Professional Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology, which includes "Healing Trauma," "The Power of Emotion," and "Trauma and the Body." Dr. Siegel currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife.