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Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School [Paperback]

John Medina
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 April 2009
See how the brain works while using it in the process of reading this book! Most of us have no idea what's really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know - like that physical activity boosts your brain power.How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget - and so important to repeat new information? Is it true that men and women have different brains?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.Medina's fascinating stories and sense of humour breathe life into brain science. You'll learn why Michael Jordan was no good at baseball. You'll peer over a surgeon's shoulder as he proves that we have a Jennifer Aniston neuron. You'll meet a boy who has an amazing memory for music but can't tie his own shoes.

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Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School + Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five.
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pear Press; Reprint edition (2 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979777747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979777745
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.6 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist. He teaches in the department of bioengineering at the University of Washington and is the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER
In the Introduction, John Medina expresses his concern that most people are "out of the loop" in that they are unaware of recent and important revelations in modern neuroscience concerning "how the mind works." His purpose is to explain 12 "brain rules" and devotes a separate chapter to each. "Easily the most sophisticated information-transfer system on Earth, your brain is fully capable of taking little black squiggles on this piece of bleached wood [i.e. ink on paper] 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 this in less time than it takes you to blink. Indeed, you have just done it. What's equally incredible, given your intimate association with it, is this: Most of us have no idea how our brain works."

At this point, I need to reassure those who are now processing the "little black squiggles" that comprise this review that the key ideas in Medina's book are readily accessible to a layperson such as I who - until reading his book - had little (if any) understanding of "how our brain works." It is amazing but nonetheless true, Medina asserts, that there is a young man who can multiply the number 8,388,628 x 2 in his head in a few seconds "and he gets it right every time," that there is a girl who can correctly determine the exact dimensions of an object 20 feet away, and that there is a child who at age 6 drew "such lifelike and powerful pictures" that she got her own show on Madison Avenue.

Briefly, here are five of 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school. Medina's analysis of each responds to two questions "How?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Singh
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
very interesting read explaining all the different things that can make your brain work better throughout your life, and has separated it into sections (i.e. sleep, eating, exercise etc). more like advice than rules and worth a read for any one of any age
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book that made me think 21 April 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you're looking for a lightweight introduction to the fascinating world of neuroscience then this is the book for you. I've read much of the material elsewhere and in more depth. But this book is an entertaining romp through some of the latest brain research.

The book is an easy read and laid out in 12 clear, although sometimes overlapping, chapters. There's also a useful CD Rom that comes with the book which helps you explore the material. There's also a useful companion website.

Although this books isn't going to guarantee you a pass in your GCSE Neuroscience exam, it will have you saying, 'Well, fancy that!' a lot.

Well worth it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and easy read but... 18 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
...the author tells us that Vision beats all other senses when it comes to understanding and memory, and text is a poor second. So why is there not a single explanatory diagram in the whole book!

Do what you say!

But about 100 times better than a related book called "Spark!"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book that came recommended to me by multiple sources and I'm really glad I read it.

John Medina is a neuroscientist with a deep passion for learning and education and he explains the principles that he thinks are important using 12 simple Rules. I love things that are researched and there's lots of research in here but it's written in a very engaging way - in fact I think he's thought hard about his rules as he's written it. There are certainly some memorable stories and other devices to help things to stick.

The style is easy to read and quite light hearted but he suggests some innovative and potentially challenging ways for educators and businesses to change the way they engage with people and help them learn better. His suggestions are aimed at the United States education system but the rules appear to be universally applicable, based on available data.

So rule 1 is that of Exercise - we think better when our bodies are engaged as well as our brains and this is hardly a new concept but Medina explains it with examples about real people, experimental data and longitudinal studies. He discusses cognitive fitness at all ages and talks about the long term effects of exercise on our mental abilities as we age. There are some interesting facts about the brain and he explains complex neuroscience using analogies and metaphors.

The writing style is personal, engaging and clear so that when you encounter technical terms like dentate gyrus or Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor you've still got processing power left to handle them and don't feel overwhelmed by complexity. More science should be written up like this so that more people can understand it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 14 Dec 2010
By Amy
I bought this book out of interest after a lecture on brain development. It's great if you have an interest in the human brain and how it works. It also provides you with great tips on how to keep a healthy brain. Medina's use of stories helps you to fully understand the point that he is trying to put across and I found it very easy to read. He could have called this book 'brain rules for dummies' as it is written in a way that anyone can understand.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I have read several times already
Fantastic book well written, keeping a dry subject entertaining as well as informative and intriguing with ancdotes aplenty. I would recommend this book.
Published 2 months ago by mr claude duvall
4.0 out of 5 stars Practices what it preaches!
Makes a persuasive case for changing the way we present and expect people to process information- by presenting potentially meaty and technical ideas in an accessible way
Published 3 months ago by Phil Wilde
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay!
It is good book but for detail reading about subject you have to buy other books. It helps to go on this subject further. Helpful in many ways!!
Published 3 months ago by janak
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading
A very good book, worth to be read a couple of times. I was given it as part of an education and I took a lot of wisdom with me from this reading. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Seventhdwarf
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing insight
Great book easy to read and probably should be read at least by teachers, parents and business folk - many relevant points for all these people. Read more
Published 6 months ago by William Liversidge
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply outstanding
Clearly written, easy to read, and over-flowing with exceptionally useful information about how the brain works. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Aran
5.0 out of 5 stars Down to earth and practical
It's great to find a book about the brain that contains a lot of scientific 'stuff', is readable, practical and informative. Read more
Published 16 months ago by G. Hugman
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great book!
It was a pleasure reading this book. Language is intelligible, all science texts are supported by examples from real life situations. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Boris Andrejev
5.0 out of 5 stars Most enjoyable.
The way in which the author conveys what could be extremely complex and boring topics in an easy to consume and informative manner makes this read both interesting and enjoyable at... Read more
Published 18 months ago by SH
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
I read a review of this book before I bought it and it for sure did meet my expectations about getting to know better how my brain works and what to do about. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Kees
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