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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Very Practical
When I first ordered this book, I was expecting a general book on brain science that occasionally mentioned business. However, what I received instead was an extremely detailed and specific book about how the growing field of brain science can help businesses identify and correct problems and generally thrive.

Dr. Pillay, the author, is both an executive coach...
Published on April 26, 2011 by Jonathan Bennett

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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Promise, but too much!
I love the topics and the idea of connecting coaching, leaders, and the science of the brain. Each chapter is overflowing with a large topic: such as change and the science and current thoughts behind it. Most of the chapters follow this pattern of defining a concept, construct or brain finding then an application or relevance to the leader and in some cases coaching...
Published on April 21, 2011 by S. Dargin


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Very Practical, April 26, 2011
This review is from: Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders (Hardcover)
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When I first ordered this book, I was expecting a general book on brain science that occasionally mentioned business. However, what I received instead was an extremely detailed and specific book about how the growing field of brain science can help businesses identify and correct problems and generally thrive.

Dr. Pillay, the author, is both an executive coach and professor of psychiatry. This unique combination informs the entire book. He examines various topics in brain science, then provides specific applications to business practice. For example, he discusses how the brain moves from idea to action, then suggests techniques to motivate employees to take action on their creativity. While including technical scientific terms, the author always does so in easy to understand language with many helpful visuals.

One of the book's biggest strengths is its organization. Dr. Pillay looks at broader topics, then neatly subdivides them into smaller concepts. He provides numerous charts listing problems and then solutions based on brain science. For almost every point and sub-point, he gives real world anecdotes to clarify his principles. This is very helpful and will allow his strategies to be effortlessly implemented in a corporate environment.

Although not an executive or manager, I can see how this book would be invaluable for anyone trying to understand or motivate employees and win and keep customers. It's obvious that Dr. Pillay has great skill in melding the abstract world of brain science with the results driven practicality of business.

Overall, I found this book fascinating, even if it was more focused on business than I thought and I'm not really its target audience. I would highly recommend it to managers and any other leader who deals with people on a regular basis. Anyone with an interest in either brain science or leading others would also be advised to check out this helpful book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting, June 7, 2011
This review is from: Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders (Hardcover)
I have never worked in the business world and I don't consider myself an Einstein. but I worked for 20 years as a Registered Nurse in the medical field and was considered a productive and innovative employee with positive evaluations for my work performance. Now that you know where my brain is coming from, let me tell you what I think of this book. I found the information to be fascinating and applicable to all situations, not just interactions in the business environment. I must admit it is heavy information but it is presented in a way that is understandable with actual examples where appropriate. The book uses a concept and application format where the author first explains the concepts involved and then explains how these concepts of Neuroscience can be applied to human interactions, especially in the business field with leaders, managers and coaches. Each chapter ends with a conclusion and a summary chart to simplify the information in a quick reference format. I wish I could share all the concepts I learned from reading the book about positive thinking, trust, intuition, and enhancing brain functions, but if I did that then you would not want to read the book, because you would have all the information. If the power of the mind and brain interests you, then I am sure you would find this book captivating as well. It was well worth reading for the information I learned especially on the topics I listed.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from The Investor Relations Group, a media contact for the author. I was not obligated to provide a positive review. The opinions in this review are my own.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Promise, but too much!, April 21, 2011
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This review is from: Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders (Hardcover)
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I love the topics and the idea of connecting coaching, leaders, and the science of the brain. Each chapter is overflowing with a large topic: such as change and the science and current thoughts behind it. Most of the chapters follow this pattern of defining a concept, construct or brain finding then an application or relevance to the leader and in some cases coaching language. Each chapter could have been a book. However, as a leader, professional coach, and an adjunct professor I was overwhelmed and confused by the lack of flow or disconnectedness of the topics.

It almost seemed like a research paper on proving why soft skills, such as empathy, relationship building, social skills, and being calm are not really soft skills, but hard skills that enhance leadership. Each chapter has footnotes, attribution, and concludes with hefty references. Chapter three for example has six pages, listing 84 references used! Yet it's not quite a research paper. There is plenty of evidence, it just not connected well and left with too many "mays", "maybes", and "sometimes".

It could be a guide for coaches. Many of the applications for coaches and leaders are well known and in practice already. This book validates it. Sometimes my reaction to the application was a "duh". For example, pay attention and don't let go of intuition. There is a scientific reason for this. This pattern of how to coach leaders and why based on brain science is repeated throughout the book. Not being a brain scientist, I can't imagine saying something like this to a client, "by knowing that brain activations underlying motivated reasoning, hence rational thought is only part of how we make decisions." Instead the application summary states, that by understanding our deepest motivations, we can move obstructions to change". It's not a coaching how to book, but it can be adapted and used as needed in coaching. Overall it offers a good, solid foundation for coaching, yet seems overly simple at one end and overly complex at the other.

It could be something more along the lines of books like, "Outliers", by Malcolm Gladwell. What's missing is expanded and interesting stories and a flow that lead an overall and unifying point.

It's trying to be too much for too many people. There is so much promise and potential in this book. Lots of great material, lots of interesting insights, yet it's disconnected.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Science or Pseudoscience?, April 6, 2011
This review is from: Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders (Hardcover)
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The book is supposedly meant for coaches of business leaders. Explaining the brain functions and structure, Mr.Pillay attempts to show how leaders can perform better in managing their organizations and getting the best out of their employees. The book is organized into four sections - (a) the Introduction covering the broad principles of how brain science applies to coaching and communicating (b) Relationship section explaining how positive psychology helps in coaching (c) Intervention section on how to effectively convert ideas into actions (d) the Conclusion, where the different brain regions and how the interventions affect them, are explained.

Each chapter lists a number of concepts, their application in business contexts and their connection to 'brain science' which according to the author is a division of neuroscience. Considerable technical jargon is used for explaining the various parts of the brain and how it relates to business activities. Most of it are quite unnecessary, repetitive and irrelevant. Over 35 to 60 references are provided for each chapter making the whole effort look a very impressive and scientific endeavor. However the book drifts from science to pseudoscience by morphing raw scientific facts and hypothesis into seemingly sophisticated tools for solving business management problems without using the rigor needed for good science. Many of the issues raised are real but simple psychology would be sufficient to provide answers to them. Recent discoveries like mirror neuron systems are twisted out of context to make them look very relevant for business leaders. Innovation, Creativity etc are very much dependent on the brain and hence understanding how the brain functions is definitely useful, but for that I would suggest much better books like 'The Tell-tale Brain' by V.S Ramachandran or 'In Search of Memory' by Eric Kandel.

' Your Brain and Business' does not have a single real life case study and it is very difficult to believe that the author has successfully used this approach in enhancing the functioning of business organizations. I would not recommend this book to any business leader or coach.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Relationship of Neuroscience to Business Leadership, April 28, 2011
This review is from: Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders (Hardcover)
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I was immediately drawn to the promise of finding answers to how I can learn applications from the study of neuroscience brain exercises that would enhance decision making, communication, motivation and empathy. "Your Brain and Business" is packed with scientific principles and strategies to help the reader understand themselves, acknowledge a readiness to change, and create an action plan for moving forward to problem solving.

I especially appreciate Pillay's logical development of material, the bold format with topical heading, numerous figures, illustrations, and summary statements. Each chapter is rich in references for additional reading or deeper study.

This is an important book for business managers, personal coaches, and executive leaders.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging, Rewarding Book, July 29, 2011
This review is from: Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders (Hardcover)
The latest neuroscience says the brain works in counterintuitive ways; Srinivasan Pillay believes understanding these functions make huge differences in business. The brain's segmented, analytic nature makes it perfect for many business tasks, but business people often misuse their brains based on false expectations and specious beliefs. Correctly understanding the brain's developmental capabilities will let business leaders do more economical work, and do it better.

Drawing on the newest discoveries in functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI), Dr. Pillay describes how neural functioning responds to select stimuli, how we can optimize its responses by how we treat our brains, and what thinking choices make the most positive differences. His intricate explanations and real world examples give readers plenty to hang onto, and his specific suggestions for leaders and coaches remain practical, avoiding abstruse theoretical discourse.

Despite an early promise to minimize jargon, Dr. Pillay's explanations do run on the dense side, requiring a hearty constitution to plow through their sometimes perplexing terminology. Yet he thoroughly explains his argot, and provides elaborate documentation for readers who might prefer seeing his information at the primary source. Readers willing to push through his difficult vocabulary will find copious useful information, guidance, and suggestions awaiting them.

The title notwithstanding, this book isn't just for business people. As a former teacher, I wish I'd known this information about how the brain cultivates new connections, growing more complex and sophisticated as we push up to and past its capacities. I also recommend life coaches, psychologists, and personal trainers read this book, because its contents exceed the merely useful, setting a tone of growth and advancement to make all the difference in others' lives.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly worthwhile info, but writing is dry and academic, July 21, 2011
This review is from: Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders (Hardcover)
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As a business owner, knowing how my brain is responding to my environment, and what to do in response to that, is incredibly helpful. This book is laid out in a clear, organized way, and the concepts are explained in a precise and linear fashion. The problem, however, is that the book is written in stilted, academic way that is more reminiscent of a textbook than it is a business book.

We've all gotten spoiled by books like Freakonomics, which use stories to share their points and help us truly remember and implement them. This book has none of that. Instead, it's laid out in a series of chapters that are further broken down into concept/ application sections, each a page or two long. Not much room for stories in this tight format, and the stiff writing made it hard to enjoy the process of getting this information.

That said, this is one of the most immediately-applicable books on business I have read in some time. I worked my way through the book in ten-minute sessions, and every day, I came away with new insights that changed what I was doing in my business and life so that I could be more effective in my work. The tweaks are small and practical, yet made a world of difference in how I felt and performed.

In addition, had this book been told in stories as most modern business books are, the material covered in this book would have made for a book so large you would have had trouble lifting it. The author crammed a ton of useful information in here.

So I guess the verdict here is that if you are willing to read this just a little bit each day so you can absorb the concepts, you'll take away some long-lasting benefits and insights. If you know that you learn better through stories, then you better amp up your reading pace to catch up with all the entrepreneurs who have read this condensed book!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Biological approach to coaching also provides insights at personal level, April 16, 2011
By 
Erik Gfesser (Lombard, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders (Hardcover)
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It is apparent that one has a controversial text on their hands when some reviewers assign the label "too scientific", and some reviewers assign the label "pseudoscientific". Reading through the other reviews here, if I had not recently read this book myself I might be hard-pressed to find any answers to what the author provides in his discussion, and rather than make a decision to read this book based on facts, give up trying due to lack of information.

According to Pillay, "at the end of this book, the coach or executive will have a good idea of several concepts in brain science that can be applied to his or her own coaching relationships and interventions so as to add to the available tools for coaching." The author later elaborates by noting that "these interventions are a reframing of conventional coaching methodologies but they also add new insights. At a time when leaders are tiring of old concepts and are therefore not receptive to them, this reframing can be very helpful in informing the appropriate coaching, management, or leadership plan."

The author explains his view that there are 6 basic ways in which brain science can enhance understanding within the executive environment: repackaging advice with biological explanations rather than psychological jargon, decreasing threats by depersonalizing explanations of behavior, debunking myths when brain science provides a different explanation than personal or organizational psychology, providing further insights and evidence beyond what has been traditionally provided in the past, providing a system for targeted interventions, and developing coaching protocols and tools.

On several occasions throughout the text, the author mentions that since research is an ongoing effort, although the explanations he provides are based on current research, some of the brain science addressed here is bound to change. Many of the insights Pillay provides are based on functional brain imaging, which examines how the brain works when it is presented with a task or challenge as a given individual lies inside an MRI scanner. As the author explains, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which measures brain blood flow as a correlate of brain cell (neuronal) activity, is the technological focus.

In my opinion, "Your Brain and Business" is one of the most creative business texts I have read in quite some time, and there are a number of passages that I plan to revisit. However, the number and location of dog ears created while reading this text reminds me that some of my interest waned for the last two chapters. Some of the material presented in this latter section would have best been presented earlier in the text, since some of it would have been helpful as the author provided the groundwork of his presentation, and some of it unfortunately is a bit repetitive.

That said, several takeaways especially resonated with me as a consultant and an individual outside the workplace. The amygdala, which is found deep inside the brain and lights up when presented with something fearful, picks up fear signals unconsciously without the conscious brain knowing anything about it. The conscious brain requires at least 30 milliseconds to register images, for example, but the unconscious emotional processor can be actively engaged even if negative office chatter or radio talk shows are in the background and not being paid attention.

The second such aspect that especially resonated with me is the discussion on optimism that the author provides. As the author explains, "when people hear the word 'optimism', they roll their eyes. In this economy, with the difficulties of balancing home and work life and making ends meet, just the idea of optimism seems tiring to most. Many business leaders are practical, and they believe that optimism is for the birds." Current research, however, demonstrates that "optimism builds the brain's connections differently than realism and provides relief from a burning, red-hot amygdala."

The third, in chapter 5 ("The Challenge Prior to Change: How Brain Science Can Bring Managers and Leaders from Idea to Action Orientation"), is that regardless of the emphasis many business people place on removing feeling or emotion from decision making, the brain's accountant (the ventromedial prefrontal cortex) is missing vital information if these are left out. The accountant determines the level of action required for a situation by examining risk and reward value, but these are in turn assessed by short-term memory, long-term memory, as well as by emotion.

In my experience as a consultant, it is clear that if one is to use the material provided in this book in some manner within the workplace as discussed by the author, it will need to be tailored to the individual just like any other mechanism. While some may prefer biological explanations over the psychological, there are others who prefer the psychological, and some of course will not respond to either or prefer other alternate explanations when it comes to coaching.

However, if the reader does not get too distracted by the abundance of brain terminology, and they are looking for material on these topics, my expecation is that many will find something to add to their daily toolboxes, counterparts to tools such as those discussed in books like "More Secrets of Consulting: The Consultant's Tool Kit" by Gerald M. Weinberg (see my review). Well recommended to anyone looking for explanatory balance on these topics to aid them both in their careers and in their lives outside the workplace.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cognitive Dissonance, July 23, 2014
By 
Max H. Sherman (Moraga, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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I tried to like this book, but I couldn't. I nevertheless found it interesting with a useful core.
I could originally put my finger on why I did not like it, but in the end I determined that it was because it was a mish-mash of styles and types most of which danced around the title, yet never delivered what I expected.

At times this book appeared to be a scholarly neuroanatomy treatise. I am an academic and know how such things are to be written, the neccesity of larding them up with references and appropriate jargon. There is certainly enough academic information to do that. There was way too much of that for anyone not in the field. The anatomy parts were a bit interesting to understand how the mind works, but beyond that it should have been cut down or put in appendix for the 1% who might be interested.

On the other hand the book at times felt like a new-age, self-help, MBA, motiviational/inspiration piece where one is told to visualize the change you want, getting mnions invested, sell your concept to the client, etc. There was nothing new there.

One could read in other places how chakras, auras, yin/yang or a host of other things could reslut in a similar set of recommendations. The thing that was worth reading in this book, however, was a scientifiic discussion about how the structure of the brain leads to the kind of mind we have and how that mind leads to thse recommendations and outcomes.

For me the good parts overcame the bad ones....barely.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Neuroscience than Business, April 7, 2011
This review is from: Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders (Hardcover)
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While it is very obvious that Mr. Pillay is an accomplished neuroscientist and a master business coach, the focus of the book is primarily about the science of the brain. So the value of this book will depend on your interest. If you are comfortable with discussions concerning the different regions of the brain and their function, then you will probably find more value in the book than I did. If your concern is more about business, you will probably find it a bit tedious to read. I found the constant use of the scientific names for the various parts of the brain to add to the complexity of the text and for me required lots of additional effort to track what I was reading.

The book goes into great detail about the various functions of the brain and how the different areas are inter-related. There are lots of diagrams showing the location and function of the different parts of the brain. It is certainly very interesting to learn about the various functions of the brain; what functions the different areas control and where they are located, for me it did not add to actionable information.

The book is well annotated. There are numerous references at the end of each chapter. It is written much like a research paper, not like a book for general knowledge.

The last three chapters were much more business focused and therefore added a lot of value to the book. There were some very good insights and some specific suggestions for coaching strategies.

I found the author tended to be more concerned with the what of neuroscience - going into great detail to explain what and how things worked rather than telling the reader why the brain works the way it does. If you wish to increase your knowledge of neuroscience this would probably we a worthwhile book to read. On the other hand if you are looking for practical understanding of why we do what we do, I would suggest your time would be better invested in some more practical, actionable book.
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Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders
Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders by Srinivasan S. Pillay (Hardcover - March 3, 2011)
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