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Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  30,095 ratings  ·  1,727 reviews
Most of us have no idea what’s really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know—like the need for physical activity to get your brain working its best.

How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget—and so importan
Hardcover, 301 pages
Published February 26th 2008 by Pear Press
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Koleś It is where all the books are - at the book stores. For example, on Amazon:
It is where all the books are - at the book stores. For example, on Amazon:

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Average rating 4.03  · 
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May 22, 2008 rated it liked it
I think I would give this book 3.5 stars if I could.

The book discusses "12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school." The real focus seems feels like how we can use this to improve schools.

The 12 rules are:
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.
Otis Chandler
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Otis by: Mike Walker, head of SF Day School
I kind of loved this book because it give a lot of the "why" - the science - behind a lot of best practices. This is the kind of thing that helps me change my behavior - when I know how it works under the hood.

The book is broken into a series of "brain rules" on different subjects. I'll list main takeaways:

We all know it's good for us and it feels good and we should do it. The best quote here was "Physical activity is cognitive candy." - also "A lifetime of exercise results in a sometime
Sarah Hanawald
Mar 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Brain rules is really well organized. It's a very un-boring synthesis of current neuroscience research into very comprehensible terms. I only give it four stars because the author (openly) says that the educational implications of the findings are not clear.

Some major take-aways, along with my questions and ruminations:

Emotional arousal helps the brain learn. Number of minutes a person can pay attention to presentation style information (a lecture) is the same as their age, up to 10.
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
The content, when you can get to it, is interesting. But I find his writing style incredibly annoying -- full of anecdotes that don't really have a very tight connection to the content of the chapter. Then, midway thru the book, you learn that he finds that 10-minute chunks interspersed with anecdotes helps students pay attention in lecture. I totally accept that for an oral presentation. But in a written text, it's really annoying. I'm used to reading nonfiction that doesn't seem to be talking ...more
Crystal Starr Light
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Bullet Review:

This was a fun little book that talked about the various "oddities" of your brain and have some ideas for helping to use your brain the way it was built. I have found I really enjoy learning about the brain, as it is a strange and kinda mysterious organ - this book was no disappointment in that regard (although several topics I had read in different books).

Full Review:

(NOTE: I wasn't going to do one...and then Amazon asked me to review, and since I did buy on Kindle, I felt, oh, we
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous book I wish had been written before I started baby-making 30 years ago! It does confirm for me that I did a lot of things right as a parent, but I would have benefited as a mom from knowing things now clearly related by John Medina on when an infant is learning what much more precisely than I knew from observation and experience alone.

the information in this book is priceless for any parent and any person who intends to live life healthily, influence people positively and mak
Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
We participated in a research study led by this author last year, so I was curious to read this book. John Medina was an engaging and thought-provoking speaker, and this is an engaging and thought-provoking. It took a while to read because I had to stop and think after each section. It was relevant to teaching in many ways, but also to life in general.
Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, brain
The author, a lecturer, researcher, and molecular biologist, lists twelve major principles that help explain how the brain works: though processes are improved by physical exercise, we pay attention to evolutionarily important things like sex and danger, we need sleep to cogitate properly, repetition is crucial to long-term memory, we learn more through a variety of sensory inputs, gender influences how our brain process certain interactions, and so on. In most of the chapters, he goes on to adv ...more
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished “Brain Rules” by John Medina. Fascinating how simple habits can boost our brain power. Seemingly passive and low impact activities like exercise and sleeping enhance our thinking ability (we’ve all heard this before, but the author provides compelling explanations as to why this is the case).

There’s also an interesting discussion on multitasking (apparently it’s true you can do two things at once, just not as well as if you weren’t trying to multitask).

A well written and engagin
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As always, I need to declare my preference for fiction. That said, let me recommend this book. Author and molecular biologist, John Medina, does a great job capturing the reader with brain research, of all things. Clearly a subject that could lull the layperson into a comatose state, Medina follows his own advice in this text. Chapters are not overly long; each reading objective is clearly stated, and he reviews the salient items at the end of each chapter, with three or four bulleted items. To ...more
Lars Guthrie
May 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My sister and I both work with kids and have our own little book club where we read works that are related to learning, the brain, and child development. While she liked 'Brain Rules,' she critiqued for being 'pop.' I get that, but I really liked the book.

We read it after seeing Medina give an enthusiastic and inspiring presentation at the Learning and the Brain Conference several months ago in San Francisco. He's definitely a salesman type with his own shtick, but for me, it works.

I was readi
Jun 01, 2008 rated it liked it
A very straightforward read on the latest advance in the understanding of how the brain works. A lot of the chapters draw from some of the accessible trade books on cognitive development. Stories from Deborah Tannen, Oliver Sachs, Howard Gardner, Steven Jay Gould, etc. add stories and examples to Medina's main structure of the book. The book is organized around 12 principles that Medina feels are necessary to a healthy brain (due to what Medina sees as evolutionary factors).
The first principle
Mar 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Nathan by: Dale Dougherty
A solid attempt at making a practical (useful) book on how the brain works, aimed at everyday people. He focuses on memory and efficiency, and writes in an engaging style. As a long-time researcher in the field he has the science cred, and he explains it well. There's a website ( I think) that goes with the book, and when the book is released for real (I got a galley) it'll come with a DVD.

My only complaint is that he's insufficiently scientific in the book. I wanted more hard numb
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jul 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: read2010
I read this for a cognitive learning group at work, kind of a self-help meets neuroscience attempt. Some of it was interesting, some of it was stuff most people 'know' but the scientific explanations solidified it, and some seemed a little bit of a stretch.
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
This subject matter is fast-becoming my favorite for non-fiction books. All this new neuroscience that has jumped up in the last twenty years has been overall pretty uplifting. The malleability of the brain, its connection with the body, and its amazing powers of regeneration and lifelong ability to change are overall pretty good news for a world that has kind of let itself slide into a damaging passivity and learned helplessness.

This book isn't a business or education book, it's a pop science
Aug 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
John Medina explains 12 principles that involve the brain or thoughts that can help you in life. The copy I checked out from the library contained a dvd that gave an overview of the book that explained all of Medina's main points.
This book is worth reading and its ideas are worth incorporating into your life.
Watch this video to see if you might be interested in reading this book:
Brain Rules

From the book:

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“If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what th
Atif Shaikh
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wisdom
The book lays out the core aspects of cognitive science in layman terms and is a fluid and entertaining read. The author keeps it clear from time to time what is established and what is experimental or state of the art in terms of our understanding of cognition. The chapters are very well organized, each focusing on a particular aspect of personal development and life choices. I learned a lot although I already had good understanding of chapters around memory but John's style of writing leads a ...more
Sudarshan Baliga
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I liked this book so much. Maybe because the content is in line with what I believe. The book is mainly about the relationship of the brain with body movement, stress, and how the information is stored and recalled.
Zahraa El-Kabengi
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, science, self-help
Quite enjoyed this book :)
I found the book relaxing and fun to read. Some research results was quite interesting especially the last 3 chapters about music, gender and the adventurous nature of humans, otherwise some stuff was repeated for me but definitely was a fun recap.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty interesting book. Thanks to the spouse for letting me regurgitate it back to him every night. It's the kind of book you must talk about with others. And often! You lucky people! A lot of reference to the study of injured brains were found in it, so my main take away was this - wear a bike helmet. Every single time.
Tim Hughes
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to my partner while on a training course. It's an easy read and takes you through 12 areas of your brain and you will come out the other end, better equipped to use your brain more effectively. In work, we could all do with an update on how to make ourselves a little better and use our brain power more efficiently and this book certainly goes some way to "upgrade" our thinking.
Rob Thompson
About the book: Brain Rules gives you insight into how our brains function and explains how you can take advantage of such knowledge to push your brain to work better. From gaining more productivity at work to absorbing more at school, mastering the “brain rules” will help make learning with all your senses become second nature.

About the author: John Medina is a professor, research consultant and expert in molecular biology. He founded the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research and the Talar
Gretchen Rubin
Lots of interesting insights and information about how the brain works.
Dan Connors
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-books

Americans spend billions and billions of dollars to make their outsides look good through cosmetic surgery, personal training, hair styling, tattoos, piercings, makeup, and all sorts of enhancements. We also spend billions more fixing up our rickety bodies as they break down from time to time.

But we spend precious little time or energy working on improvements to that three pound bundle of nerves between our ears known as the brain. We take our brains for granted, and are simultaneously unawa
Jordan Price
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
There were parts of this book I loved and parts I hated, so it was really difficult for me to figure out how to rate it. I loved the first chapter so much -- about how exercise makes your thinking sharper -- that I devoted a podcast episode to it. Other chapters were fascinating too, in particular the sleep chapter.

However, there was a description of the making of foie gras on page 88 that was a dealbreaker for me. And because it came during the chapter on "Attention," I presume it was a techniq
Suyog Sonar
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
A decently refreshing book about the workings of a brain. It will definitely attract and fascinate the not so very well informed people about the topic of brain. Its a fun book for binge reading about the limits and extreme capacities of a normal human brain.

The book gives ample information about various aspects of brain very interestingly, giving real life examples and with engaging personal anecdotes. Often times we overestimate our power to control and manipulate our own brain capacities acco
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is an extremely informative book. I wanted to read a book that would help me discover how and why our brains learn different ways. I didn’t want to read a book that was packed with scientific details that were hard to understand. John Medina combined the scientific details with common experiences and stories to create a revealing book that was enjoyable to read.

Each chapter began with a different brain rule. Most of the brain rules that were highlighted in the book were common knowled
Ted Witt
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
We expect that findings from scientific research will be quickly translated into everyday practice when it comes to medicine, technology, engineering and marketing. However, when it comes to schools and education, research finds it difficult to cut through the bonds of tradition.

In his bestselling book Brain Rules, molecular biologist John Medina suggests that the typical five-period day in high school might be radically restructured if we were to consider how the brain actually works.

Medina wri
John Britto
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to author John Medina for taking up such a risk to research and explain the complex thing, according to human brains, of "how brain works" to the level that human brain can understand easily. The author, in his book explains 12 things about how our brains functions. This book contains of working science about brains, exemplary of experiment about the brain's function and questions.

Here are the 12 things that the author says how the brain functions and fascinating ideas about them.....
1) S
Jessica Snell
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This one was fascinating. I finally found out why it's possible to faint from shock! Your brain is so glucose-hungry that you can only use a very small percentage of it at a time, for the simple reason that you don't have enough glucose (or enough oxygen to break the glucose down, or the ability to get rid of the by-products of oxygen break-down fast enough) to fuel more than a small percentage. So if you see/learn something shocking, your brain tries to process too much at once, using too large ...more
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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 pa ...more

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“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
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“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.” 22 likes
“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.” 10 likes
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