You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G.

Throughout his life, renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson has needed to overcome many obstacles: his father leaving the family; being considered stupid by his classmates in grade school; growing up in inner-city Detroit; and having a violent temper. But Dr. Carson didn’t let his circumstances control him, and instead discovered eight principles that helped shape his future.

In You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to Think Big, Dr. Carson unpacks the eight important parts of Thinking Big—Talent, Honesty, Insight, Being Nice, Knowledge, Books, In-Depth Learning, and God—and presents the stories of people who demonstrated those things in his life. By applying the idea of T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. to your life, and by looking at those around you as well, you too can overcome obstacles and work toward achieving your dreams.


  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Reprint edition (August 9, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031074945X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310749455
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (268 customer reviews)
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3 thoughts on “You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G.”

  1. You Have a Brain by Dr. Ben Carson.
    This is the second book I have read by Dr. Carson and I have found both inspirational and informative. I was glad to see a chapter devoted to his mother, Sonya Carson. This mother is one who cared for her children and was the biggest influence in their lives as far as I was concerned.
    Dr. Carson was a world-known neurosurgeon who worked hard to get to his position. He proves it can be done and it is up to you to do what is necessary to make your goal in life.
    The chapters are:
    Chapter 1: The Amazing Brain
    Chapter 2: Think Beyond the Can
    Chapter 3: Gone
    Chapter 4: How We Got Smart
    Chapter 5: Bookworm
    Chapter 6: Taming my Temper
    Chapter 7: Expanding My Options
    Chapter 8: The Smartest Choice
    Chapter 9: Off to College
    Chapter 10: The Challenge-Medical School
    Chapter 11 : Becoming a Neurosurgeon
    Chapter 12: More Twins
    Chapter 13: Mother’s Influence
    Chapter 14: Talent
    Chapter 15: Honesty
    Chapter 16: Insight
    Chapter 17: Nice
    Chapter 18: Knowledge
    Chapter 19: Books
    Chapter 20: In-depth Learning
    Chapter 21 : God
    Chapter 22: Think Big
    The chapters are short and I personally think this should be a classroom study book. It can be done in 20 minutes a day with reading and a discussion. It is also a good family book to read and discuss.
    Sonya Carson kept telling her sons, Ben and Curtis, they have a brain that God gave them so use it. One became an engineer and the other a doctor.
    Dr. Carson tells about his childhood, his jobs, his surgeries, his temper and his family. He is a very religious man and talks about God. He encourages young people to T.H.I.N.K.B.I.G. These are chapters 14-21.Read more ›

  2. I read Ben Carson’s book, Gifted Hands, many years ago and was so inspired I gave it to a woman who works with inner city teens. So I was very interested in this book written specifically for teenagers.

    At first I thought it a rather odd title but when one begins reading, you find out what the title means, his mother was always telling her two boys to “use their brains”… not only with education but in common sense living. Not to mention it is a play on Dr. Carson being one of the worlds most famous neurosurgeons.

    I liked it even better than Gifted Hands, which is an autobiography. While this book also provides the story of how he went from failing school to becoming the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, it also gives a lot of excellent specific advice on becoming the best person they can become… whatever God has planned for them.

    I have found it difficult to find a book written by a very devoted Christian that helps young people succeed in the secular world. Perhaps I’m not reading them. But I still believe this is one of those rare books that will inspire young people in their studies, interests, reading, career goals… and their relationship to Christ!

    I must add a caveat here, this books is an excellent read for college students and adults. I’d give it as a gift for any person needing inspiration in their current education (especially young people struggling in school) as well as we adults who need reminding that God has gifted us uniquely.Read more ›

  3. Even if Ben Carson’s mother had foreknown her son’s future as a neurosurgeon, she could hardly have come up with a more fitting rhetorical question to challenge him throughout his childhood: “Do you have a brain?” Mrs. Carson never doubted the affirmative response to that question, and the resulting story is one that deserves to be told, as much for the re-telling of Dr. Carson’s remarkable life as for the revelation of Sonya Carson’s mothering style that anchored her two sons.

    Ben Carson got off to a rough start. When his father abandoned the family, they were left in poverty and instability, which resulted in severe educational deficiencies for Ben by the time he reached fifth grade. Taking matters into her own hands, Mrs. Carson prayed for wisdom to resolve her son’s problems, and He who gives to mother’s liberally and without reproach guided her into a hands-on approach that launched Ben and his brother into academic success, but, more importantly, toward a commitment to life-long learning.

    Dr. Carson writes for a teen audience, and ably demonstrates that the effective use of his brain could trump peer pressure (In his experience, P.E.E.R.S. were actually People Encouraging Errors, Rudeness, and Stupidity.); it could repel attacks of the fashion-ista; and it could put a harness on raging hormones. By contrast, however, Carson found that his battle with an out-of-control temper required help from on high — but he did have to use his brain to recognize the urgency of his need.

    Parenting four boys, my husband and I have told them, “Whatever you have in your hands, God will use.Read more ›

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