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Brain Rules

Posted in all posts, books by coleman yee on August 11, 2008

It’s not everyday that I read a book about the brain that is readable, useful, and actually entertaining.

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina falls firmly under this category.

It contains 12 “rules” or facts about the brain that scientists are certain about, and how they can be applied in our lives.

The first rule, for instance, is that exercise boosts brain power:

Researchers found a group of couch potatoes, measured their brain power, exercised them for a period of time, and re-examined their brain power. They consistently found that when couch potatoes are enrolled in an aerobic exercise program, all kinds of mental abilities begin to come back online. Positive results were observed after as little as four months of activity.

Medina goes on,

It was the same story with school-age children. In one recent study, children jogged for 30 minutes two or three times a week. After 12 weeks, their cognitive performance had improved significantly compared with pre-jogging levels. When the exercise program was withdrawn, the scores plummeted back to their pre-experiment levels.

Now, if this doesn’t convince you to get off your seat, I don’t know what would.

Anyway, here are all the 12 brain rules:

EXERCISE | Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.
SURVIVAL | Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too.
WIRING | Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently.
ATTENTION | Rule #4: We don’t pay attention to boring things.
SHORT-TERM MEMORY | Rule #5: Repeat to remember.
LONG-TERM MEMORY | Rule #6: Remember to repeat.
SLEEP | Rule #7: Sleep well, think well.
STRESS | Rule #8: Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
SENSORY INTEGRATION | Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses.
VISION | Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses.
GENDER | Rule #11: Male and female brains are different.
EXPLORATION | Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers.

The nice thing about Brain Rules is that the book comes with a DVD with entertaining video presentations on each of the 12 rules – an excellent and painless way to make the ideas in the book stick. Do check out the Brain Rules website as well, which has a couple of the videos.

Now, time for me to get some exercise.

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