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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What we all need to know about how the brain works
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...
Published on 23 Sep 2008 by Robert Morris

versus
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 4 months ago by janak


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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What we all need to know about how the brain works, 23 Sep 2008
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
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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?" and "Why?":

#5: Repeat to remember.
Excerpt: "We now know that the space between repetitions is the critical component for transforming temporary memories into more persistent forms. Spaced learning is greatly superior to massed learning."

#7: Sleep well, think well.
Excerpt: "The brain is in a constant state of tension between cells and chemicals that try to put you to sleep and cells and chemicals that try to keep you awake."

#9: Nourish the five senses with increased stimulation.
Excerpt: "Our senses evolved to work together - vision influencing hearing, for example - which means that we learn best if we stimulate several senses at once."

#10: Vision trumps all other senses.
Excerpt: "We learn and remember best through pictures, not through written or spoken words."

#12: Our brains are by nature highly inquisitive (i.e. "powerful explorers")
Excerpt: "Babies are a model of how we learn - not by passive reaction to the environment but by active testing through observation, hypothesis, experiment, and conclusion."

To repeat, Medina's explanations of "how" and "why" are presented in layman's terms without "dumbing down" what is obviously complicated information. He succeeds brilliantly, not only when explaining "how our brains work" but also when and why they work best... don't. After reading Chapter 4 in which he explains what he calls "the 10-minute rule," I decided to limit my subsequent reading of his book to 10-minute increments, then shifted my attention to another task. After you read Chapter 4, you'll understand that decision.

A DVD is provided with each copy of this book and John Medina suggests (as do I) that it be viewed before processing the "little black squiggles" that comprise his lively narrative.

One final point: I wish this book had been available years ago when I was completing my formal education, beginning a career as an English teacher, and then starting a family. That said, I can at least purchase copies for my three sons and daughter...and will.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great read, very informative and backed up with scientific facts & references, also has a video link, 27 Jun 2010
By 
A Singh (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School (Paperback)
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
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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
By 
Ransen Owen (Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School (Paperback)
...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
4.0 out of 5 stars more science could be written in this clear engaging style, 29 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School (Paperback)
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.

A lot of the information in the book is published in other places but it's a very accessible and memorable way to understand more about neuroscience if you're not an expert - and I do like the way he's tried to follow his own rules with summaries, stories, sensory language and a structure that leads you through and allows you to find what you want.

At the end of each chapter is a set of ideas for implementing the rules so it's a very practical book but he's also calling for more research to be done because he wants to avoid people making large and spurious claims about the way to live, work or educate based on random scientific findings. We don't know enough about how the brain works yet to be prescriptive - we need to experiment, test and remain flexible in our approaches.

Medina has a powerful chapter on why we find images useful so it's a pity there aren't more pictures to illustrate his points but I guess that's down to the publisher.

This book feels like a generous book because he appears to share so much and so willingly. There's also some bonus material online but I haven't had a chance to look at that yet - if you have seen it then do let me know what you thought.

All in all an interesting and comfortable read with some very useful implications for the way we all live and work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 14 Dec 2010
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and practical, 6 Sep 2008
By 
S. Butland - See all my reviews
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This is a book that blends science and practicality in a way that will appeal to the lay reader and those with a professional interest alike. The author's style is warm and clear, even if the book is a little pleased with itself at times.
True to the message of the book - that the human brain did not evolve to be comfortable sitting around reading a book for long periods of time - there is an online resource and plenty of suggested activities to get your brain working better. Lots of what's here is common sense - exercise, sleep, relax - but that's part of what appeals to me: I like the fact that I know understand the scientific and neurological basis for the things I'm always being told to do!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, 25 Sep 2011
This review is from: Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School (Paperback)
Adult male has read this & found it to be quite interesting, informative, insightful & rather amusing. It is constructive & non-patronising. All in all a good read which does what a good book should i.e make you think about the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brain Rules: 12 Principles, 2 July 2011
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Having been a trainer for most of my working life I'm always keen to improve my techniques. I bought this book because I've always known that our brains are still largely a mystery and we only use a fraction of its abilities.
As a lay person, medically, I found the book absolutely riveting and once started, hard to put down. It reinforced what I've been doing for years and has given me some scientific basis for whatever success I've had in helping people of all ages and abilites to develop their skills and knowledge.
John Medina has helped me to build on whatever abilites I had as a trainer. I recommend this book to any trainer who wants to understand a little of what the brain can do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating: this is one I've given to friends, 29 Oct 2010
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Mr. T. Leighton-Boyce (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School (Paperback)
Great book. Very interesting, with lots of detail packed in there on current thinking.

This is a book I have recommended (and given to) friends.
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