Maximizing brain power

July 31, 2013 admin

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina (Pear Press, 2008) won’t tell you anything about real estate, pension funds or infrastructure. What it will tell you is how to maximize your brain’s potential, so you can thrive in your area of expertise — say, real estate, pension funds or infrastructure.

John Medina, author of the book, delivers an imaginative, yet informative narrative that serves as a tour guide through the human brain. Each of the 12 chapters, or “brain rules,” explains how the brain functions and how certain environmental factors either enhance or limit the brain’s operating potential, such as sleep, stress, exercise and gender. Each chapter has a brief summary at the end that highlights the key points of each brain rule.

The book is both fun to read and intellectually stimulating. Medina weaves modern psychology and neuroscience into vivid, thought-provoking anecdotes that make you wish you had actually paid attention in your Psychology 101 class. On top of the latest research, Medina offers his own ideas of how to utilize each brain rule (i.e. Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently) in either school or, more appropriately, the workplace. His ideas range from taking a short nap instead of drinking coffee in the middle of the afternoon, to forming the most productive work teams by utilizing (not eliminating) gender biases, to explaining why multitasking is why you’re not getting as much done as you’d like.

You don’t need to have any prior knowledge about psychology or neuroscience to be able to understand and enjoy Brain Rules. Since its 2008 publication, a website has been launched to offer further information about each brain rule, with videos, articles and blogs.

Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant. He lives in Seattle and holds major positions at both Seattle Pacific University and the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

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Ross Dohrmann is a summer intern at Institutional Real Estate, Inc.

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