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Brain Rules by John Medina and My Thoughts

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This is the first book in the Learn Together, Lead Together series that I am doing where we try and tackle the 99 books of the Personal MBA curated by Josh Kaufman. Josh has done an incredible job on the list of books.

Why start with Brain Rules by John Medina?

I believe for us to be able to go through 99 books that we much first learn about ourselves and the way we are wired. This is why I didn’t want to start with a book like Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff even though I look forward to that one.

What is Brain Rules all about?

Josh Kaufman does a great job in his book summary breaking down the book into 10 points. Those 10 points are

  1. Our brains are fundamentally physical systems that require proper nutrition, exercise, rest, and sleep to function optimally.
  2. Everyone’s brain develops differently, based on their experiences and physical environment.
  3. The brain is primarily a survival tool that pays particular attention to threats and opportunities by stimulating emotions and actions.
  4. Multitasking is a myth – your brain can only focus on one thing at a time.
  5. Emotion, context, and repetition can help consolidate and store patterns as memories in our brain.
  6. Our brains mix long-term memories with new sensory data to mentally simulate potential actions before we actually act.
  7. Chronic stress and exhaustion can dramatically affect your brain’s ability to function and learn.
  8.  The best way to capture someone’s attention is to constantly provide a wide array of new input in as many sensory modalities as possible.
  9. Gender differences are very real – male and female brains have important physical differences.
  10. Our brains remain plastic throughout life – we’re constantly learning via exploration and experimentation.

When I was reading through this I was reflecting on how my life has changed over the last 35 years. I have had incredible experiences like spending 3 months in Russia with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association where my eyes were opened to a much bigger world view. I also was challenged by the ideas behind this book. The idea of multitasking has been a goal of mine for years. I guess I just have to accept that it will never happen and move on. Finally I was given hope by this book. The phrase you can’t teach an old dog new tricks isn’t true. Our brains have the ability to continue to learn if we are willing to stretch ourselves.

What are your takeaways from the main ideas behind the book Brain Rules?

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12 Responses to Brain Rules by John Medina and My Thoughts

  1. Barbara at #

    While I agree with the point about multitasking; in that you can only completely focus on one thing at a time, I wonder if the need for new input helps feed that tendency to jump from one task to another? Do I lose more productivity in redirecting my focus as I multitask or in become sluggish by staying “on task” for longer than I want?

    Interesting.

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