What I learnt from ‘Brain Rules’ by John Medina

This is a highly entertaining book – a feat considering the subject matter!





The brain: easily the most sophisticated information-transfer system on Earth. Most of us have no idea how our brain works.

This has strange consequences. It is impossible for our brains to multi task when it comes to paying attention e.g. talking on cell phone and driving.

  • 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 is done at home
  • we are not used to sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, from an evolutionary perspective, our brains developed while working out, walking as many as 12 miles a day. Brain craves that experience, especially in sedentary populations like our own. Exercisers outperform couch-potatoes in long-term memory, reasoning, attention and problem-solving tasks. INTEGRATE EXERCISE INTO YOUR 8 HOURS AT WORK/SCHOOL/HOME
  • you’ve got seconds to grab someone’s attention and only 10 minutes to keep it. At 9 mins 59 sec do something (emotional & relevant) to regain attention and restart the clock. Also, the BRAIN NEEDS A BREAK (use stories to make a point)
  • At 3 pm your brain really NEEDS a nap. you will be more productive if you did. Take a 26 min nap.
  • Repetition: for memory
  • Terrible twos: child’s powerful urge to explore.

So there are 12 rules or principles for surviving and thriving at work, home and school according to the delightful Dr Medina who cracked me up a couple of times while reading his book:

  1. Exercise boosts brain power (mentioned in many Health & Fitness websites and mags …. not news BUT why?)
  2. The human brain evolved, too
  3. Every brain is wired differently
  4. We don’t pay attention to boring things
  5. Repeat to remember
  6. Remember to repeat
  7. Sleep well, think well
  8. Stressed brains don’t learn the same way
  9. Stimulate more of the senses
  10. Vision trumps all other senses
  11. Male and female brains are different (duh! known this for ages but but how and why?!!)
  12. We are powerful and natural explorers.
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