Brain Rules (Updated and Expanded): 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School Second Edition, Kindle Edition
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"Dissects the workings of the brain in plain English, explaining its role in the workplace and classroom a writing style that makes words leap off the page."
- USA TODAY
"Oliver Sacks meets Getting Things Done."
- Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing
"A marvelous job in simplifying the best ways to get the most out of our brains. He is funny, tender, and completely engaging. Everyone should read this book."
- John Ratey, MD, author of Spark and A User's Guide to the Brain
"Brain Rules is one of the most informative, engaging, and useful books of our time."
- Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen
"A self-designated 'grumpy scientist,' Medina cites only research that has appeared in peer-reviewed journals and that has been successfully replicated. Remarkably, this molecular biologist is a gifted communicator who is able to write for both the scientist and the layperson."
- Psychiatric Times
"Medina has taken what may be the most complex thing we know -- the human mind -- and explained it in a way that even the human mind can understand. Brain Rules is THE book on how neuroscience can help you at work and at home."
- Douglas Stone, co-author of Difficult Conversations
"Few people are better qualified to help managers sift through all the hype than John Medina."
- Harvard Business Review
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Go ahead and multiply the number 8,388,628 x 2 in your head. Can you do it in a few seconds? There is a young man who can double that number 24 times in the space of a few seconds. He gets it right every time. There is a boy who can tell you the precise time of day at any moment, even in his sleep. There is a girl who can correctly determine the exact dimensions of an object 20 feet away. There is a child who at age 6 drew such vivid and complex pictures, some people ranked her version of a galloping horse over one drawn by da Vinci. Yet none of these children have an IQ greater than 70.
The brain is an amazing thing.
Your brain may not be nearly so odd, but it is no less extraordinary. Easily the most sophisticated information-transfer system on Earth, your brain is fully capable of taking the little black squiggles in this book and deriving meaning from them. To accomplish this miracle, your brain sends jolts of electricity crackling through hundreds of miles of wires composed of brain cells so small that thousands of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence. You accomplish all of this in less time than it takes you to blink. Indeed, you have just done it. What’s equally incredible, given our intimate association with it, is this: Most of us have no idea how our brain works.
12 Brain Rules
My goal is to introduce you to 12 things we know about how the brain works. I call these Brain Rules. For each rule, I present the science, introduce you to the researchers behind it, and then offer ideas for how the rule might apply to our daily lives, especially at work and school. The brain is complex, and I am taking only slivers of information from each subjectnot comprehensive but, I hope, accessible.
Here is a sampling of the ideas you’ll encounter:
We are not used to sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. From an evolutionary perspective, our brains developed while we walked or ran as many as 12 miles a day. The brain still craves this experience. That’s why exercise boosts brain power (Brain Rule #2) in sedentary populations like our own. Exercisers outperform couch potatoes in long-term memory, reasoning, attention, and problem solving tasks.
As you no doubt have noticed if you’ve ever sat through a typical PowerPoint presentation, people don’t pay attention to boring things (Brain Rule #6). You’ve got seconds to grab someone’s attention and only 10 minutes to keep it. At 9 minutes and 59 seconds, you must do something to regain attention and restart the clocksomething emotional and relevant. Also, the brain needs a break. That’s why I use stories in this book to make many of my points.
Ever feel tired about three o’clock in the afternoon? That’s because your brain really wants to take a nap. You might be more productive if you did. In one study, a 26-minute nap improved NASA pilots’ performance by 34 percent. And whether you get enough rest at night affects your mental agility the next day. Sleep well, think well (Brain Rule #3).
We’ll meet a man who can remember everything he reads after seeing the words just once. Most of us do more forgetting than remembering, of course, and that’s why we must repeat to remember (Brain Rule #7). When you understand the brain’s rules for memory, you’ll see why I want to destroy the notion of homework.
We’ll find out why the terrible twos only look like active rebellion but actually are a child’s powerful urge to explore. Babies may not have a lot of knowledge about the world, but they know a whole lot about how to get it. We are powerful and natural explorers (Brain Rule #12). This never leaves us, despite the artificial environments we’ve built for ourselves.
What we know about the brain comes from biologists who study brain tissues, experimental psychologists who study behavior, cognitive neuroscientists who study how the first relates to the second, and evolutionary biologists. Though we know precious little about how the brain works, our evolutionary history tells us this: The brain appears to be designed to (1) solve problems (2) related to surviving (3) in an unstable outdoor environment, and (4) to do so in nearly constant motion. I call this the brain’s performance envelope. Each subject in this bookexercise, sleep, stress, wiring, attention, memory, sensory integration, vision, music, gender, and explorationrelates to this performance envelope. We were in motion, getting lots of exercise. Environmental instability led to the extremely flexible way our brains are wired, allowing us to solve problems through exploration. To survive in the great outdoors, we
needed to learn from our mistakes. That meant paying attention to certain things at the expense of others, and it meant creating memories in a particular way. Though we have been stuffing them into classrooms and cubicles for decades, our brains actually were built to survive in jungles and grasslands. We have not outgrown this.
Because we don’t fully understand how our brains work, we do dumb things. We try to talk on our cell phones and drive at the same time, even though it is literally impossible for our brains to multitask when it comes to paying attention. We have created high-stress office environments, even though a stressed brain is significantly less productive than a non-stressed brain. Our schools are designed so that most real learning has to occur at home. Taken together, what do the studies in this book show? Mostly this: If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a classroom. If you wanted to create a business environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a cubicle. And if you wanted to change things, you might have to tear down both and start over.
Blame it on the fact that brain scientists rarely have a conversation with teachers and business professionals, education majors and accountants, superintendents and CEOs. Unless you have the Journal of Neuroscience sitting on your coffee table, you’re out of the loop.
This book is meant to get you into the loop.
- Publication date : April 22, 2014
- File size : 827 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 306 pages
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B00JNYEXAM
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Publisher : Pear Press; Second edition (April 22, 2014)
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #66,783 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The author's worry about being politically correct is funny - backtracks constantly to qualify any possibly offensive findings, such as gender differences. Unless, of course, a finding negatively reflects on an offensive group such as males. I guess it preserves the authors job but it makes the book longer and questionable.
All in all, skim quickly if you purchase.
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.
Applicable reading for formal education institutions and those teaching themselves, and please, I pray, may the business leaders of companies read this book and transform the way they handle employees, creativity, and brainstorming. There is something in this book for EVERYONE whether you are a passionate life-long learner, a parent raising children, curious about the brain, or a million other potentials. And it also hits on one of my main passions--getting people to truly understand that mind and body are linked, and I hope to inspire me with ways to motivate people not to think of intellect and physical well being as separate entities to choose either/or.
I started out borrowing this book from the library but had to buy my own copy. I'll be going back to it again and again.
After taking copious notes throughout the book and reflecting on how his principles and ideas could be implemented in my classroom, I find that I will likely be returning to this gem and it's ideas in upcoming years. Medina takes the complexities of the brain and breaks it down into basic language with 12 rules that are especially applicable to the classroom and the workplace.
His writing is conversational and the narrative bounces between scientific experiments, personal anecdotes, observations and ideas to implement in your classroom and office.
To a teacher, the chapters on memory, attention and exploration are probably the most useful, as they are loaded with ideas that could alter your classroom and instruction, if employed. Other chapters, such as those on sleep and memory, are of tremendous importance when it comes to informing your students on effective learning and living (and yourself).
Some of the chapters (gender, music and sensory integration) are interesting, but don't possess the same sort of pragmatic daily applicability as the others.
One of the best things about Medinas ideas and suggestions for the workplace is that he stops short of ever saying that 'this is the way it is'. Instead, he is transparent about when research has presented us with a frank 'we don't know yet' and a shrug of the shoulders.
Another highlight is Medinas humor and clear fascination with the field. His writing is light and his wit is often at his own expense. A quick read of the book though would be a mistake, and I recommend absorbing the material and considering its application, especially if it pertains to your field.
The only drawback to the book was that he included a section on 'More Ideas' for each chapter. Some were useful (take a nap during he afternoon if you can), but others are less pragmatic. For instance, he envisions a reimagined school environment in which students experience the same content three times a day, to enhance memory. The only problem is that he spends as much space explaining he idea as he does admitting he doesn't know how this would work. The research isn't clear he admits and also considers how interacting with the material numerous times might even confuse the student.
Overall, this is phenomenal read and highly recommended!
Top reviews from other countries
It didn'treally have anything special about it. It got quite boring after the initial chapters; thereafter I found it was just so long and dragged out. It had some small gems here and there but I would not recommend this book. So sorry to say this but not my type of book, may be interesting to others.