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on July 2, 2014
John splits the book up into twelve different sections, each with findings in neuroscience, as well as how to apply those findings practically. These sections are

Survival: How our brain is a product of our evolution, and some traits it has adopted as a result
Exercise: How exercise improves our cognitive abilities and staves off dementia
Sleep: What the brain does during sleep, how people are biologically predisposed to various sleep patterns, and how to use naps to improve performance
Stress: The various biochemicals involved with stress and how to have less stressful relationships and life
Wiring: How neurons interact, develop, and function
Attention: How multitasking works (or doesn't work), the relationship between emotion and attention, and the need for relaxation to enhance focus
Memory: How memory formation works and the optimal way to remember things
Sensory Integration: How all of the senses work together to provide a cohesive experience, and how multiple senses can be utilized to improve learning
Vision: How vision trumps all of the other senses and can be used to create more effective presentations
Music: How music can cause improvements in cognition, be therapeutic, and how music training can improve cognition
Gender: Differences between the genders in physiology, socialization, emotional reactions, and memory.
Exploration: How the brain is constantly exploring and looking for novel things

A lot of reviewers have pointed out that many of the tips that John gives are common sense - that may be true. However, I found that knowing the neuroscience behind many of the things which John advocates ensures their adoption into day-to-day life.

Overall, a great read that has caused me to change the way I give presentations, how much I exercise and sleep, as well as how I interact with people.
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"Brain Rules" is a fun book exploring the intricacies of the brain - what makes it tick, the way we process information and how it all links back to our ancestors surviving on the plains. John Medina has 12 "rules" of the brain, which he explains along with providing perhaps helpful tips to use the brain more fully.

I never really realized how much I liked psychology until I started to read books like this. I didn't realize psychology looked so much into how weird our brain is - which is something that has intrigued me since I watched the Illusions episode of Bill Nye as a young adult/teen. Ever since then, I've sought out books, such as this one, to learn more about our brain and how to better utilize it.

Fortunately, while this book had some overlap with other psychology texts I've read (including the Myth of Baby Mozart), there was enough new and different material that I didn't feel the book was "a waste of time" (or better, just plain repetitive). I think what really makes this book stand out is that it tries to incorporate ways to adapt to how your brain thinks - such as getting more exercise in (treadmill while typing, anyone?) or encouraging children to take music lessons (note: this is different than Baby Mozart, in that children do better when LEARNING to play an instrument, not just listening to Mozart).

Medina has a great writing style; it's incredibly informative but not too heavy-laden with psychology and biology language to make the common person stop in frustration.

I really enjoyed Brain Rules and would recommend to others who love to learn more about how their brain works and how to adapt to its idiosyncrasies. Further, I would not mind reading Medina's other works.

Brought to you by:
*C.S. Light*
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on December 25, 2010
As other people say, this book is very easy and even fun to read. Despite its almost novel-like style, the book does not compromise in quality and depth of information it gives.

The book provides 12 Brain Rules that range from the brain's need for exercise to the brain's tendency to get pictures better than words. The author often gives comprehensive explanations for why the rules are the way they are, explaining the brain's anatomy and/or evolutionary changes. Combined with the "ideas" section at the end of each chapter, where the author explores alternative ways to implement these rules in real life, these in-depth explanations provided me with many new ideas to improve my own brain.

However given the comprehensive nature of the book, after finishing the book I was surprised to notice one very important component missing from the entire book - nutrition.

For anyone who has serious interests in health and wellbeing, it is a well-known fact that all the exercises and other efforts will be a waste, if you don't take care of your diet. The reverse is also true, but nutrition plays the biggest role in our wellbeing.

The complete lack of information on nutrition's role in our brain's health in this book is a disappointment and the reason why I rate it only 4 stars. Otherwise, a 5 star reading.
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on May 8, 2016
This book is a clear read about how the brain works and how to maximize the benefit. I read the original edition several years ago. This new edition has lots of the current science knowledge of how our brains work and how even aging doesn't stop our mental health. That was my main interest in reading this book. Each chapter provides a separate aspect. There is also lots of information about young and children's brains.
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on April 17, 2016
This was one of the best books I have ever read on the human brain. I originally bought the kindle version but later purchased a printed copy as well to keep as a reference. This book is not only easy and interesting to read but also contains easy implementable tips to increase your brainpower. It gives concise facts and research regarding the fact that humans were not made to sit for 8+ hours a day. If only our society would accept this and transform their expectations in the classroom and workplace so we all can realize our full potential instead of us trying to adapt to unrealistic and time wasting "assignments."
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on September 30, 2016
Great book! I had to read this for a class that I was taking at my university and it changed the way that I approach my own learning. I have read this book twice now because of how much it interests me. It was a very easy ready read with a lot of stories and wasn't over complicated by big scientific words yet was able to get the big concepts across effectively. I would highly recommend this book to everyone because learning a few things about how we think can help in educational, professional and even personal life.
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on July 28, 2014
This is easily one of the most relevant and potentially life-changing books I have ever read...and it is a hoot to read! The author skillfully uses his own theories on how we learn best (theories based on up-to-date and exhaustive scientific brain research) to make this scholarly offering a funny, intelligent and utterly entertaining read. It truly is unforgettable...but you will only understand the relevance of my use of "unforgettable" if you read the book. It should be required reading for every parent, teacher, student, or business person on the other words, any person who can read!
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on January 18, 2017
This book just oozes with credibility and interesting insights into the brain. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and can see that John Medina has profound insights into what is known about our brains--how we learn, how we improve, and yes, how we hurt ourselves in this arena.

Medina reminds me of that chemistry or physics teacher in high school who just knew how to bring a potentially very boring subject alive, bringing it home to those fortunate enough to partake, through fascinating case studies and unintuitive tidbits, and digestible rules.

I highly recommend the book for students, parents, life-long learners, and those who are curious about how to keep their brain vital through their long life.
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on June 27, 2016
I enjoyed the book and found especially valuable information on the newer discoveries about memory, I.e., each time we have a memory we infuse new data into it, so the only stable memory is one not remembered. I encourage the author and other readers to look into the science of Epigenetics as this would enhance some of the information.
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on January 11, 2013
I read this book as summer reading for my Neuroscience class. It really got me thinking about how important it is to think about an asset we often take for granted—our brain. Rule number one, exercise, was my favorite chapter. I already had a gist of the importance of exercise on well being, but the chapter really expanded on all the effects that exercise has. Happiness, mental health, and increased cognitive abilities were all subject areas he went into and explained. The most insightful part was when he references the estimate that Humans used to walk 12 miles a day, for thousands of years, and that is a plausible reason to why exercise and mental capabilities go hand in hand. This reference to the developmental history of our brain really helped ground all his assertions into the bigger picture. The reference also added the extra complexness, as mentioned in the learning chapter, that makes the information better remembered. Lastly, the chapter proved very applicable to myself. It supported my emphasis on taking dance breaks and other forms of exercise like running.
The “brain rules” book really got me excited about learning more about one of our most important assets, our brain. Many of us take our brain for granted and don’t realize it’s amazing potential. Being aware of how it works isn’t just good to know, but potentially very life changing. Even if it weren’t so practical to know how our brain works, the understanding of all the processes would be a reward in itself. That is why I’m taking this course.
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