John Medina

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John Medina

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DR. JOHN J. MEDINA, a developmental molecular biologist, has a lifelong fascination with how the mind reacts to and organizes information. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller "Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School" -- a provocative book that takes on the way our schools and work environments are designed. His latest book is a must-read for parents and early-childhood educators: "Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five."

Medina is an affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and two boys. www.brainrules.net


How does the brain work? We have no idea. We are still in the very beginning stages of understanding most of the basics. From a researcher's perspective, it's a very exciting time to be a scientist, because you get to rummage around on the ground floor. But from an overall perspective, most of it is spooky.  
Let me give you some examples of how little we know about how the brain works. We know... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on April 19, 2018 05:25 • 8 views
Average rating: 4.06 · 32,038 ratings · 2,207 reviews · 20 distinct worksSimilar authors
Brain Rules: 12 Principles ...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 24,401 ratings — published 2008 — 46 editions
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Brain Rules for Baby: How t...

4.26 avg rating — 7,094 ratings — published 2010 — 34 editions
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Your Best Brain: The Scienc...

4.16 avg rating — 324 ratings — published 2014 — 3 editions
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Brain Rules for Aging Well:...

4.27 avg rating — 116 ratings4 editions
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Depression: How It Happens,...

3.93 avg rating — 28 ratings — published 1998
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The Outer Limits of Life

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The Genetic Inferno: Inside...

3.87 avg rating — 15 ratings — published 2000 — 2 editions
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The Clock of Ages: Why We A...

3.86 avg rating — 22 ratings — published 1996 — 6 editions
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What You Need to Know Alzhe...

3.42 avg rating — 12 ratings — published 1999
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Brain Rules for Ageing Well...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 4 ratings
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How does the brain work? We have no idea. We are still in the very beginning stages of understanding most of the basics. From a researcher's perspe... Read more of this blog post »
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Powerful Interactions by Amy Laura Dombro
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The Human Brain Book by Rita Carter
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Shifting the Monkey by Todd Whitaker
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Make It Stick by Peter C. Brown
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Brain Rules for Baby (Updated and Expanded) by John Medina
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Brain Rules (Updated and Expanded) by John Medina
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The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
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Enhancing the Art & Science of Teaching with Technology by Robert J. Marzano
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It's Complicated by danah boyd
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More of John's books…
“If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a classroom. If you wanted to create a business environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a cubicle. And if you wanted to change things, you might have to tear down both and start over.”
John Medina, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

“The problem in today’s economy is that people are typically starting a family at the very time they are also supposed to be doing their best work. They are trying to be productive at some of the most stressful times of their lives. What if companies took this unhappy collision of life events seriously? They could offer Gottman’s intervention as a benefit for every newly married, or newly pregnant, employee.”
John Medina, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

“Ethan’s parents constantly told him how brainy he was. “You’re so smart! You can do anything, Ethan. We are so proud of you, they would say every time he sailed through a math test. Or a spelling test. Or any test. With the best of intentions, they consistently tethered Ethan’s accomplishment to some innate characteristic of his intellectual prowess. Researchers call this “appealing to fixed mindsets.” The parents had no idea that this form of praise was toxic.

  Little Ethan quickly learned that any academic achievement that required no effort was the behavior that defined his gift. When he hit junior high school, he ran into subjects that did require effort. He could no longer sail through, and, for the first time, he started making mistakes. But he did not see these errors as opportunities for improvement. After all, he was smart because he could mysteriously grasp things quickly. And if he could no longer grasp things quickly, what did that imply? That he was no longer smart. Since he didn’t know the ingredients making him successful, he didn’t know what to do when he failed. You don’t have to hit that brick wall very often before you get discouraged, then depressed. Quite simply, Ethan quit trying. His grades collapsed.


What happens when you say, ‘You’re so smart’

  Research shows that Ethan’s unfortunate story is typical of kids regularly praised for some fixed characteristic. If you praise your child this way, three things are statistically likely to happen:

  First, your child will begin to perceive mistakes as failures. Because you told her that success was due to some static ability over which she had no control, she will start to think of failure (such as a bad grade) as a static thing, too—now perceived as a lack of ability. Successes are thought of as gifts rather than the governable product of effort.

  Second, perhaps as a reaction to the first, she will become more concerned with looking smart than with actually learning something. (Though Ethan was intelligent, he was more preoccupied with breezing through and appearing smart to the people who mattered to him. He developed little regard for learning.)

  Third, she will be less willing to confront the reasons behind any deficiencies, less willing to make an effort. Such kids have a difficult time admitting errors. There is simply too much at stake for failure.

   

  What to say instead: ‘You really worked hard’

  What should Ethan’s parents have done? Research shows a simple solution. Rather than praising him for being smart, they should have praised him for working hard. On the successful completion of a test, they should not have said,“I’m so proud of you. You’re so smart. They should have said, “I’m so proud of you. You must have really studied hard”. This appeals to controllable effort rather than to unchangeable talent. It’s called “growth mindset” praise.”
John Medina, Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five

“If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a classroom. If you wanted to create a business environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a cubicle. And if you wanted to change things, you might have to tear down both and start over.”
John Medina, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School




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