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Brain Advantage Paperback – 15 Jul 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus; Original edition (15 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591027640
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591027645
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.2 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,063,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
There have been several dozen books published in recent years whose authors suggest what business lessons can be learned from recent research in neuroscience, and in some instances with a focus of developing metacognition. In my opinion, The Brain Advantage is among the best and I commend its coauthors -- Madeleine Van Heck, Lisa Callahan, Brad Kolar, and Ken Paller -- on the quality of the material they provide as well as on the clarity with which they present it. They make skillful use of several reader-friendly devices in each of the 24 chapters. These are the devices: "What's the Story" (background and context to what follows), "Interesting, But So What?" tees up "How Can I Use This Information as a Business Leader?" (applying what recent and relevant brain research reveals), and "What If?" (accommodates the need for contingency planning), There is also an end-of-chapter "Notes" section. This format achieves two separate but related objectives: It actively engages the reader in the flow of information, insights, and counsel; it also facilitates, indeed expedites frequent review of key material later.

At this point, three key points need to be stressed. Contrary to what many people believe, the capabilities of the human brain can be developed over time. That is, "intellectual firepower" can increased, sometimes substantially, Next, as Carol Dweck's research clearly indicates, people tend to have one of two mindsets: growth or fixed. The former embraces potentialities, the latter denies them. Henry Ford probably had this in mind when observing, "whether you think you or think you can't, you're probably right.
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Format: Paperback
Great business leaders strive to improve their knowledge and capabilities, and to gain as much experience as possible. However, most executives do absolutely nothing to develop their cognitive processes, that is, to improve the way their brains work - although the brain is malleable and teachable according to clinical psychologist Madeleine L. Van Hecke, cognitive neuroscientist Ken A. Paller, learning authority Lisa P. Callahan and management expert Brad Kolar. The authors step forward to help businesspeople enrich their brains, anyone's most crucial tool. This book presents up-to-date brain research and down-to-earth tips on how to employ this information to become a more effective leader. getAbstract recommends this unusual, intriguing book to anyone who wants to think more clearly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa40afa08) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4148dd4) out of 5 stars Fascinating Book 26 Nov. 2009
By Stephen Shapiro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I received a copy of the manuscript a while back. I found the book to be fascinating. I love neuroscience. And my specialty is innovation with large corporations. Over the years, I read many books which tell you how to be a better leader. I have discovered techniques from 25 years of my own experience. But this was the first time I read WHY certain techniques work. The book does an excellent job pulling together neuroscience research from over the years and connecting it to human behavior. It provides hard evidence for the "soft" skills we use in business.

In full disclosure, I know two of the authors. Having said that, although I know A LOT of authors, I have never been inspired to write an Amazon book review for any of their books...until now. If you like neuroscience and leadership, then you'll really enjoy this book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3f9d96c) out of 5 stars Managing the Nuances of Neuroscience 15 Jan. 2010
By Larry Underwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The human brain is a complex and often perplexing bundle of neurons and tissue that is capable of producing remarkable creativity on one hand and profound absurdity on the other hand; most of us, from time to time have experienced moments on both sides of the mental spectrum; understanding what causes the brain to act the way it does is an essential skill for any business leader to maximize their effectiveness in running their organizations, and Madeleine L Van Hecke has compiled this fascinating study to help facilitate that goal.

Her research strongly suggests the role of the leader in fostering the right environment for innovation and creativity is one of the key ingredients for breeding long-term success for any organization. Not surprisingly, the leaders who displayed a little compassion, some humor, and a non-threatening mangement style, generally fared better than those who managed through intimidation; they understand that employee engagement produces the desired results, while low morale generally results in high employee turnover and diminished productivity.

Most importantly, Van Hecke provides the pragmatic strategies leaders can implement by understanding the elements that go into our decision making processes, and by forcing ourselves to ask some simple, yet tough questions about how organizations operate, and "what if" we changed our approaches in many areas. The answers may surprise many of us on what we thought were "tried and true" systems turned out to be "tired and worn out"; it just took a little closer look to reveal their inherent weaknesses.

This is great work and would greatly enhance any leader's effectiveness in running their organization; that's a real no-brainer.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3f9e690) out of 5 stars Cutting-edge insights and revelations from the most recent research in neuroscience 7 Jan. 2014
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There have been several dozen books published in recent years whose authors suggest what business lessons can be learned from recent research in neuroscience, and in some instances with a focus of developing metacognition. In my opinion, The Brain Advantage is among the best and I commend its coauthors -- Madeleine Van Heck, Lisa Callahan, Brad Kolar, and Ken Paller -- on the quality of the material they provide as well as on the clarity with which they present it. They make skillful use of several reader-friendly devices in each of the 24 chapters. These are the devices: "What's the Story" (background and context to what follows), "Interesting, But So What?" tees up "How Can I Use This Information as a Business Leader?" (applying what recent and relevant brain research reveals), and "What If?" (accommodates the need for contingency planning), There is also an end-of-chapter "Notes" section. This format achieves two separate but related objectives: It actively engages the reader in the flow of information, insights, and counsel; it also facilitates, indeed expedites frequent review of key material later.

At this point, three key points need to be stressed. Contrary to what many people believe, the capabilities of the human brain can be developed over time. That is, "intellectual firepower" can increased, sometimes substantially, Next, as Carol Dweck's research clearly indicates, people tend to have one of two mindsets: growth or fixed. The former embraces potentialities, the latter denies them. Henry Ford probably had this in mind when observing, "whether you think you or think you can't, you're probably right." Third and finally, one of a business leader's most important responsibilities is to help create a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. If a workplace is viewed as a "garden," then leaders must function as competent and caring "gardeners."

Of greatest interest and value to me is what the co-authors have to share when addressing themes, subjects, and challenges such as these, with each preceded by "How and why":

o Constraints help to free up an executive's mind
o Everyone involved in the given enterprise (especially leaders) need to ask "What is the most efficient way to....?"
o It is imperative to "connect the right dots" and continuously add to their number
o Learning can take a great deal of time and un-learning will extend the length of that process
o There must be enduring trust between and among people involved in the given enterprise
o Being "authentic" does not preclude self-improvement (e.g. becoming a better listener)
o We cannot control most of what happens to us but we can control how we respond to it
o It is imperative to encourage and appreciate, indeed demand principled dissent
o Being right and thinking we are right are always the same ("Believe but verify")
o The "halo effect" is usually a perception, not a reality
o What we see and believe is often what we expect to see and prefer to believe
o Sequential tasking is usually much more productive than multitasking
o Selective memory is usually insufficient and often unreliable, if not false
o Deep and deliberate practice under expert supervision is the best way to strengthen cognitive skills

No list such as this nor commentary on the specifics of each could possibly do full justice to the scope and depth of coverage in the book, much less to the quality of information, insights, and counsel that Madeleine Van Heck, Lisa Callahan, Brad Kolar, and Ken Paller provide in abundance. However, I hope I have indicated why I hold their book in such high regard.

I agree with Ken Paller who, in the Afterword, stresses the importance of integrity when taking into full account the relevance of neuroscience to leadership. "Integrity and compassion for others should be Job Number One. Hopefully a neuroscientific understanding of the human mind [in terms of perception, memory, decision making, and all other aspects of human behavior] will ultimately shed further light on why these principles are so important." Obviously, all organizations, whatever their size and nature may be, need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of their operations. The development of such leadership should be guided and informed by those principles. That is even more important now because more recent research in neuroscience has generated and abundance of additional insights and revelations since this book was published in 2010.
HASH(0xa3f9e390) out of 5 stars Very legitimate and interesting book with no BS 29 Jun. 2012
By John Eggert, President, Idea Leadership Company; Author, "Leading Through Ideas" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I selected this book because of the very strong and diverse backgrounds of the authors and was not disappointed at their ability to integrate issues of coaching, leadership, and neuroscience.

It is a very good read. The research they cite is very interesting and the suggestions and recommendations are very good. As an executive coach with a background in research, I particularly appreciate their unwillingness to make direct connections between specific neurological research findings and specific leadership behaviors. E.G., instead of saying "This [experimental finding] means a leader should..." they will say something like, "This [experimental finding] reminds leaders that..." followed by a best practice in leadership that makes good sense.

There is also an "afterward" chapter--that I strongly suspect was written by the neuroscientist--that further clarifies this caution--I imagine to protect their collective professional butts from the practicing neuroscientists who would otherwise chastise them for drawing practical implications of the research that, while being sound advice on leadership, go way beyond the data. Not all authors in this area are so careful.

It also has a very good bibliography.
HASH(0xa3f9ea68) out of 5 stars Slow going, but extremely worthwhile. 4 Feb. 2016
By Len Scrogan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Extremely useful information, but not a great writing style. For that reason, I tend to read it in short bursts, rewarding myself after each burst. Still, very much worth the money.
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