Brain rules 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school

John Medina, 1956-

Book - 2008

In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule--what scientists know for sure about how our brains work--and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives.--From

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2nd Floor 612.82/Medina Due Dec 9, 2023
Seattle, Wash. : [Jackson, TN] : Pear Press ; Distributed by Perseus Books Group 2008.
Main Author
John Medina, 1956- (-)
Item Description
Brain rules bonus DVD includes short clips from all 12 brain rules, deleted and extended scenes, bonus material for business leaders, and mp3s from the Brain rules audio book.
Physical Description
301 p. + 1 DVD (4 3/4 in.)
Includes index.
  • Introduction
  • Exercise Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power
  • Our brains love motion
  • The incredible test-score booster
  • Will you age like Jim or like Frank?
  • How oxygen builds roads for the brain
  • Survival Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too
  • What's uniquely human about us
  • A brilliant survival strategy
  • Meet your brain
  • How we conquered the world
  • Wiring Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently
  • Neurons slide, slither, and split
  • Experience makes the difference
  • Furious brain development not once, but twice
  • The Jennifer Aniston neuron
  • Attention Rule #4: We don't pay attention to boring things
  • Emotion matters
  • Why there is no such thing as multitasking
  • We pay great attention to threats, sex, and pattern matching
  • The brain needs a break!
  • Short-term memory Rule #5: Repeat to remember
  • Memories are volatile
  • How details become splattered across the insides of our brains
  • How the brain pieces them back together again
  • Where memories go
  • Long-term memory Rule #6: Remember to repeat
  • If you don't repeat this within 30 seconds, you'll forget it
  • Spaced repetition cycles are key to remembering
  • When floating in water could help your memory
  • Sleep Rule #7: Sleep well, think well
  • The brain doesn't sleep to rest
  • Two armies at war in your head
  • How to improve your performance 34 percent in 26 minutes
  • Which bird are you?
  • Sleep on it!
  • Stress Rule #8: Stressed brains don't learn the same way
  • Stress is good, stress is bad
  • A villain and a hero in the toxic-stress battle
  • Why the home matters to the workplace
  • Marriage intervention for happy couples
  • Sensory integration Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses
  • Lessons from a nightclub
  • How and why all of our senses work together
  • Multisensory learning means better remembering
  • What's that smell?
  • Vision Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses
  • Playing tricks on wine tasters
  • You see what your brain wants to see, and it likes to make stuff up
  • Throw out your PowerPoint
  • Gender Rule #11: Male and female brains are different
  • Sexing humans
  • The difference between little girl best friends and little boy best friends
  • Men favor gist when stressed; women favor details
  • A forgetting drug
  • Exploration Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers
  • Babies are great scientists
  • Exploration is aggressive
  • Monkey see, monkey do
  • Curiosity is everything
  • Acknowledgements
  • Index
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Multitasking is the great buzz word in business today, but as developmental molecular biologist Medina tells readers in a chapter on attention, the brain can really only focus on one thing at a time. This alone is the best argument for not talking on your cellphone while driving. Medina (The Genetic Inferno) presents readers with a basket containing an even dozen good principles on how the brain works and how we can use them to our benefit at home and work. The author says our visual sense trumps all other senses, so pump up those PowerPoint presentations with graphics. The author says that we don't sleep to give our brain a rest-studies show our neurons firing furiously away while the rest of the body is catching a few z's. While our brain indeed loses cells as we age, it compensates so that we continue to be able to learn well into our golden years. Many of these findings and minutiae will be familiar to science buffs, but the author employs an appealing style, with suggestions on how to apply his principles, which should engage all readers. DVD not seen by PW. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Introduction 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 subject-not 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 clock-something 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 book-exercise, sleep, stress, wiring, attention, memory, sensory integration, vision, music, gender, and exploration-relates 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. Excerpted from Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.