Book Spotlight: ‘You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to Think Big’ by renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson, M.D., empowers adolescents


Being a teenager in today’s world is not easy. Trying to fit in, enduring peer pressure while trying to discover yourself can be overwhelming. Society places external pressure on teenagers to perform well in school so they can attend a good college and land a successful career. The media pressures teenagers to “fit in” and become popular. Parents want their teenagers to grow up to be kind and caring adults. Sometimes teens feel like they are being pulled in too many different directions and, as a result, some turn to drugs and alcohol to lessen the stress. This can lead to further low self-esteem and depression. So how do you survive in this modern era in which you are supposed to be popular, make good grades, get into a good college, develop into a kind a caring person, all while trying to find out who you really are?

“You Have A Brain: A Teens Guide to Think Big” by well-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and author Ben Carson, M.D., is an inspirational book that focuses on the eight principles that helped shaped his future. In the book, Carson illustrates the eight most important concepts that form the acronym T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. — Talent, Honesty, Insight, being Nice, Knowledge, Books, In-Depth learning, and God—and presents the examples of people in his life who demonstrated those attributes. By applying T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. to their lives, and by looking to others who do as well, teenagers can overcome obstacles and work toward achieving their dreams.

Lessons for all ages

Carson opens up about his childhood and growing up in inner-city Detroit, being raised by a single mom, learning how to deal with being called stupid, overcoming his temper and his challenging road to becoming a successful surgeon. Every teenager and adult can take a positive lesson from this book. Carson’s mother always told him and his brother to “use their brains” in reference to everyday life and education. This title also is a play on how Carson is a world-famous neurosurgeon and operates on the brain for a living.

“I bought this book for my son who has been struggling with his self-confidence in school. He is not yet a teenager, he’s actually 10 but I have noticed a big change in him since reading this book. He even volunteered for his school’s quiz bowl and came in 3rd place. I’m so proud of him. I recommend this book to all parents with preteens and teens. There are even discussion questions in the back of the book so that you can have a meaningful discussion with your child,” according to an reader review.

This inspiring book is not only recommended for teenagers but also for children of all ages who are able to read, as well as parents, teachers and other adults who have children in their lives. Everyone can come away from this book learning how to positively impact today’s youth for a better future.

About the author

Carson is a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In 1984, he was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center from which he retired in 2013. In 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Through his philanthropic foundation, the Carson Scholars Fund, he strives to maximize the intellectual potential of every child. Carson has written six best-selling books, including two New York Times best-sellers, “America the Beautiful” and “One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future,” which became a No. 1 New York Times best-seller.

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