This fat, distinctly jolly-looking book is just crying out to be placed under the Christmas tree, waiting to bring fun and new skills to children of all ages.

Although the target audience is, I suspect, school children and teenagers, there are so many useful skills to be learned from this book that everyone should enjoy leafing through it.

Dilip Mukerjea has already written several other books which teach you how to acquire, in his own words, “brain skills for the 21st century.”  In “Unleashing Genius” the author takes us, chapter by chapter, on a journey where we learn how to remember better, how to solve problems, how to read more efficiently, and all done in a fun, easy way.  There are masses of brightly coloured illustrations, most of them comic-y in feeling, which gives the book more of a child feel than an adult feel, but this reviewer found plenty to think about.

The first chapter “The Brain” leads naturally to a chapter on “Memory Boosting” and then “Mind Mapping.”  It was when I read the section on meeting people, that I realised that the author is definitely writing for all ages, since everyone of us can benefit from useful tips on how to meet and greet people for the first time and, most importantly, remember their names afterwards.  The trick is, apparently, to repeat the person’s name and to look for an outstanding feature on their face “to make them effortlessly recognisable’.

We learn about the Major System for numbers, which was developed as far back as 1648 by Stanislaus Mink von Wennsshein, but is here explained with cartoons and fun mnemonics such as shining frisbee and pregnant goalkeeper.  In a world where increasingly we all have long lists of pin numbers and log in codes to remember, tricks to help are always useful.  By the end of the section on recaling numbers, the author has helped the reader remember a 20 digit sequence, which should safely see us all through the most complicated of on-line log ins.

There’s a cute memory test which the author tells us is for adults.  It’s the recipe for a Singapore Sling.  We are supposed to memorise it for 5 minutes, and see if we can recall it a day, a week, a month and even a year later.   He then converts the recipe, using the Major System for numbers, to help recall what it takes to make the perfect cocktail – 30ml Gin becoming 3 mice, and 15ml Cherry Brandy becoming a towel.  Yes, I know, it sounds as though I’ve had too many Singapore Slings, but it will all make sense once you learn the mnemonics.

From working the brain and the mind, the author moves onto reading dynamics, which help people to read faster and more efficiently.  As Dilip Mukerjea says in this chapter “The people who get ahead in the Information Age are those who are able to assimilate large chunks of information accurately and swiftly.” 

Even if you have always thought you can’t draw, the chapter on Creativity will soon rid you of any artistic inhibitions you might have by teaching you how to draw circle doodles.

I got slightly carried away when reading my review copy of the book, when I came across 6 pages in the middle of a chapter that were printed upside down and back-to-front.  “Ah,” I thought, “a new learning technique.  A new way of viewing problems” – but I think the banal truth was that those 6 pages were nothing more than printed upside down and back-to-front !

Conclusion?  A fun book for youngsters which will be read with equal enjoyment by their parents.

And the recipe for a Singapore Sling is…?

Published by Westland, this big, far-larger-than-usual paperback costs Rs1195.

And here’s the link.  You know what to do!

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