This book is one of the best introductions to the concept of brain plasticity possible.
There are a couple main concepts:
a) The brain and its constituent pieces, though genetically programmed to do certain things, are incredibly good at rewiring themselves to take over other functions from regions nearby that have been damaged for one reason or another.
b) Neurons that fire together, wire together. Each circuit has stimuli that can trigger it to fire. And if both circuits receive these stimuli at the same time and then fire at the same time, both circuits will eventually fire when just one of the original circuits receives its stimulus.
c) That every time a neural circuit fires, it is progressively (albeit slowly) easier for that circuitry to fire. That what happens when you learn something new. At first it’s hard. Then it gets progressively easier. It’s all just neural connections strengthening in the brain. But even cooler is that the opposite is true. If circuitry is NOT allowed to fire, it’s connections wither with time.
And these are the ways in which the brain can change. Or more importantly how YOU can force your brain to change. And that’s the more interesting piece of this whole thing. Over time, with consistency, you have the power to change the circuitry of your mind.
Sidenote: He gets into some explanations of weird-ass shit. Like the reason people have foot fetishes is because the foot is wired into everyone’s brain right beside the genitals, so sometimes there’s cross-over, haha.