Book Review: Your Playlist Can Change Your Life

Your Playlist Can Change Your Life:  10 Proven Ways Your Favorite Music Can Revolutionize Your Health, Memory, Organization, Alertness, And More, by Galina Mindlin, Don Durousseau, and Joseph Cardillo

I am no stranger either to thinking about, reading about, or practicing music therapy in my own life [1].  As a person with a high degree of anxiety in my own personal life, there is much that I find necessary to do in order to keep myself on an even keel.  This book is one that gives some thoughtful advice and even if the choice of music the book gives is not particularly enjoyable to me for one reason or another, and even if the authors of the book are clearly guilty of overselling their advice, which is a common issue, there is still much of value here.  You simply have to detract the overselling rhetoric to come to a more reasonable judgment of the worth of music and to insert your own music tastes instead of the alternatively too hipster and too overplayed songs chosen by the authors as representative samples in order to find worth.  Since that isn’t too much work to manage, this is still a decent and worthwhile book to read for those who want to wire their brain to be more effective by using music, or who may already do such things and not know the science behind it.

When the title of the book states that changing one’s playlist can do ten things for the brain, they are exaggerating slightly, as there is a great deal of overlap among the things that music can do for the brain, but even so, music can do a lot.  For example, the authors begin by talking about how music can be used to make one’s mind flow, and then how it can be used to keep the mind flowing.  Then the authors discuss how to use music to alleviate anxiety and after that to increase one’s alertness, and then how to feel happier.  The authors then talk about how music can organize one’s brain and then sharpen one’s memory, before closing the book with discussions on how one can music to improve one’s mood, live creatively, and use the brain’s own music.  It is towards the end of the book, particularly in the last chapter, where one realizes that the authors have a financial motive in urging the reader to turn their own brain waves into music at various centers for the profit of the authors.  And though this leaves a sour taste in the mouth of this reader, at least it makes the agenda of the authors plain enough and open enough.

In about 200 pages, much of which is filled with somewhat repetitive lists of songs that serve as placeholders for how one can use music to program the mind.  Yet the authors discuss it as a complicated task that requires a certain amount of sensitivity to do well.  Songs that work for driving to work peacefully do not always work well for driving home or trying to prepare for a stressful conversation or recovering from an unpleasant life event.  Likewise, songs that remind one of a partner can be good in lowering irritation but bad if you and the partner break up.  The authors show a great deal of sensitivity and encourage the reader to do the same in working out the complexities of how to program the brain, but supposing someone is self-aware and fond of music, there is probably much in here that the reader would already know before reading the book.  Even so, this is the sort of book that belongs among the better side of self-help books, because even if the authors have a clear agenda of supporting the sale of brain waves packaged as music, at least the authors don’t have some sort of Eastern religious agenda as is so common in books of this kind.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/05/02/suffer-the-children-tears-for-fears-and-musical-therapy/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/07/23/book-review-how-music-works/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/08/03/abbaesque/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/07/15/25-or-6-to-4/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/09/23/bloggers-gonna-blog/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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