New Book: The Vigorous Mind, By Ingrid Cummings

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How to Cross Train Your Brain to Break Through Mental, Emotional and Professional Boundaries

The new book The Vigorous Mind advocates for “cross-training your brain” by intentionally diversifying your portfolio of activities. Using historical as well as contemporary “Renaissance people” as inspiration, the book argues for a return to a generalist gestalt during the hours of the day when we’re not pursuing ever-narrower career specialties. With an all-new approach to time management, The Vigorous Mind puts a contemporary spin on what it means to be “well rounded,” a notion that sounds delightfully quaint today.

The book taps into one of today’s hottest trends: The application of neuroscience to everyday brain health. Scientists are proving that strategically pursuing a broad spectrum of sometimes-counterintuitive activities can actually strengthen your brain and make you better at everything you do. For instance, you can become a better doctor by writing poetry; a better plumber by taking up chess.

The secret is consistent, incremental “baby steps,” in the spirit of the newly popular Japanese belief system called kaizen. Kaizen is an ancient Japanese Zen philosophy that advocates taking small, even trivial steps to accomplish large goals. According to The Vigorous Mind, kaizen can help refresh careers, defeat depression, and rewire our brains for greater cognitive abilities.

Ingrid Cummings makes the case that through knowledge of seemingly unrelated fields and interests, a person becomes less burned out, more fulfilled, better at their job, and more creative, and therefore develops a truly Vigorous Mind. Through her corporate training, Ms. Cummings teaches this theory to everyday people who are becoming burned out or bored by their daily lives and shows them that by pursuing and developing new, varied, and multiple interests, they will benefit in all areas of life and even revive and reinvent the ’specialty’ they have committed to.

Cummings offers a 7-step program in The Vigorous Mind for accomplishing this goal in the context of everyone’s busy schedule. She urges readers to return to a Renaissance way of life and offers insights into why and how our culture has abandoned the idea of Renaissance thinking and cross-training in favor of rampant specialization.

About Ingrid Cummings
Chosen to speak at the prestigious Chautauqua Institute in New York this summer, Ingrid Cummings has also been named one of “Eight to Watch ” by The Indianapolis Star. Ms. Cummings is the author of The Vigorous Mind (HCI), an ‘idea’ book that celebrates the glories of generalists in a world hell-bent on specialization. She is host of the radio show Rubicon Salon (WICR 88.7 FM) and is a Contributing Editor at Indianapolis Monthly magazine, where her “Life Lessons" column has her taking up belly dancing, woodworking, canning, sailing: you name it. She also writes for national magazines such as Yoga Journal and Budget Living. Ingrid is an international public speaker, teacher, and trainer as well as a writing editor and coach. She has a master’s degree and (too much) corporate work experience, but prefers to think of herself as self-educated, self-employed, and self-directed.

NOTE TO EDITORS & PRODUCERS: For tape of Ingrid, please click here: Vigorous Mind

Ingrid E. Cummings
ISBN: 0-7573-0698-5
PB :: February 2010 :: $14.95
Available at


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