Brain Rules

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This was another brain book that Amazon recommended for me.

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School is by John Medina who happens to live in Seattle and hold a faculty position at Seattle Pacific University, which is in my neighborhood. Brain Rules is divided into 12 chapters. Each chapter covers one aspect of your brain. The first half of the book covered material that I had mostly learned from other books. The second half of the book is what got me interested. My three favorite chapters were:

  • Chapter 8 – An excellent overview about how stress affects the learning process. The book explains why good students that come from homes where the parents are going through divorce can stop learning.
  • Chapter 11 – Girls are better at language skills than boys and boys are better at math. Or are they? This chapter describes a strategy for teaching girls math to put them on par with boys.
  • Chapter 12 – This was the chapter on exploration. As a fan and student of evolutionary fitness and nutrition, this was my favorite chapter.

In the Explorations chapter, the author connects our evolutionary roots to learning.

Our survival did not depend upon exposing ourselves to organized, pre-planned packets of information. Our survival depended upon chaotic, reactive information-gathering experiences. That’s why one of our best attributes is the ability to learn through a series of increasingly self-corrected ideas. … It is a scientific learning style we have explored literally for millions of years. It is not possible to outgrow it in the whisper-short seven or eight decades we have on the planet.

I am highly recommending Chapters 8, 11 and 12. The rest of the book was good too. There is a companion DVD, which I confess that I never looked at. My brain has difficulty reading when my computer is on. That is Brain Rule #1 for me. :)