August 19, 2013

Brain Rules To Help You Work and Learn


Every so often I read a book that offers me information and insights that provide me with a foundation of knowledge that will serve me well for the rest of my life in so many ways. John Medina’s Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School is one such book. It has made it on to my list of top 10 favorite books and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Medina offers 12 “rules” to adhere to if you want your work, home and learning life to function optimally based on the latest information that today’s brain science can tell us. Medina translates the complex research results of some of the world’s greatest neuroscientists into useful, simple rules that help us apply the latest science can offer to our daily lives in meaningful and useful ways.

As pointed out early in the book, most of us have absolutely no idea how the brain really works. Medina points out that this has serious consequences:

“We try to talk on our cell phones and drive at the same time, even though it is literally impossible for our brain to multitask when it comes to paying attention. We have created high-stress office environments, even though a stressed brain is significantly less productive. Our schools are designed so that most real learning has to occur at home. This would be funny if it weren’t so harmful.”

For each of the brain rules presented, Medina presents the science behind the rule and then offers ideas for investigating how the rule might apply to our daily lives, especially at work and school.

As an example, Medina’s Brain Rule 1, “exercise boosts brain power,” lays out a rather compelling explanation of why people who exercise outperform the more sedentary among us in long-term memory, reasoning, attention, and problem-solving tasks. Want to work, learn and generally live better? Exercise.

The remaining 11 rules are all equally simple gems of wisdom that will help anyone trying to improve the effectiveness of what they are doing, especially when working and learning. Since the contents of this book speak directly to two topics I write about often, Self-Education and Learning and Work, Career and Business, it resonated with me deeply. It’s also written well and in a friendly, accessible style that delivers the information in a manner that draws you into what might otherwise be off-putting subject matter.

Read this book. You won’t be sorry.

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