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.

Jack La Lanne’s feats!

I learnt about Jack La Lanne from the book Brain Rules by John Medina : have a look at what he did at age 70!!



Fitness expert Jack LaLanne has died.  Reports say the 96-year-old LaLanne died at his home in California on Sunday.  LaLanne’s son, Dan Doyle, told the ”The New York Times,” that his father suffered “respiratory failure resulting from pneumonia.”

Jack LaLanne spent eight decades instructing others about fitness and its benefits for overall health.  As a teenager, LaLanne became inspired after hearing health and nutrition expert Paul C. Bragg speak at a local women’s club.  LaLanne began working out regularly and in 1936, he opened a combination gym, health food store and juice bar in Oakland, California.  In the early 1950s, LaLanne began appearing on San Francisco-area television, showing viewers how to exercise and eat well. ”The Jack LaLanne Show” went nationwide in 1959 and aired through the mid-1980s.

Jack LaLanne continued his own personal fitness routine, which included “two hours of workouts” involving weight lifting and swimming, well into his 90s.  He continued to demonstrate feats of strength, as well.  When he was 60 years old, LaLanne swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.  While swimming, LaLanne was “handcuffed, shackled and towing a boat.”  LaLanne’s agent, Rick Hersh, tells the Associated Press LaLanne “ate healthy and exercised every day of his life up until the end.”

Jack LaLanne is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Elaine LaLanne, and three children: two sons and a daughter.  Elaine LaLanne issued a written statement, saying: “I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for.”

In 2009, while celebrating his 95th birthday, LaLanne joked on CBS’ ”The Early Show” about his advancing years, saying, “I can’t afford to die. It would wreck my image.”