Book Summary: Brain Rules – 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work – By John Medina

I am always curious to find accelerated learning methods and brain enhancing programs. Brain Rules is a road map to better brain health and brain efficiency. This is an excellent book and a very quick read.

Why is this important to me?

I ask this question as if I am sitting in your shoes. Will this help people if they read it? I hope so but I can tell you specifically that it has helped me. The brain runs on two things Oxygen and Glucose. Increase both and brain function improves. The quickest way to increase blood flow to the brain is exercise.

Think about this, you can survive for a month without food, 7 days without water but go more than 5 minutes without oxygen and you are brain dead.

John Medina profiles 12 Brain Rules. For the sake of time, I will profile my top four.

1. Rule # 1 Exercise Boost Brain Power – Exercise increases blood flow and reduces toxicity benefiting the brain. Remember that the brain weighs about three pounds and is responsible for sucking up 25% of the energy needed by your entire body. Exercise increases endurance and energy benefiting brain function.

2. Rule # 4 – We don’t pay attention to boring things. People speak at roughly 200 words per minute and you think at a conscious level over 800 words per minute. This leaves a 4X gap for boredom. The worst way to educate is to lecture in a classroom environment because it is one way learning. If you watch kids learn they use their whole body with all of their senses (Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic). Also, multitasking does not work. Every excellent EXECUTED idea required focus. Multitasking is the biggest waste of time on high value projects. Studies show that interruptions lengthen work by as much as 50%.

3. Rule #7 Sleep Well, Think Well – Studies show that sound sleep accelerates learning. The brain learns during sleep by encoding knowledge and new things. We process new ideas and learning during sleep. Several great inventions have been attributed to dreams and visions. A 25 minute nap each day has shown to increase productivity but 34%. There is not one management strategy that can boast this type of productivity gain with such a small investment of time. The problem is, most companies and schools do not encourage napping.

4. Rule # 8 Stressed brains do not learn the same way. Our brains are actually three brains in one. The fight or flight action is the key to our survival. Back in history without this survival mechanism, we became lunch to the predators. Adrenaline and cortisol are the key ingredients moving from zero to sixty instantly. The problem with both is consistent use is damaging to the brain and body. Stress creates cortisol. Stress inhibits learning and growth. The stronger the negative conflict, the more learning is inhibited.

John Media knows what he is talking about. The national education budget is $1 Trillion per year in the U.S. and the system is failing. One conclusion John makes, fix the home and the students will flourish. Remember that cortisol (stress) inhibits learning. If kids are beaten and broken in the home then the last thing they care about is school. Control stress in the home and improve education, it’s that simple.

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