Book Review: Brain Rules

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and SchoolBrain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading books on the brain always blows my mind (Yes. That’s intended.). There’s only so much thinking about thinking that you can do before your thoughts go everywhere. But if you’ve got one place you want to improve on, then why not improve on how you think. What better part to lifehack than the thinking process? Everything else depends on that. Now I’m sure that most of you, like me, didn’t take up brain science in College. And as cool as reading a book on Brain science sounds it would probably bore you to death and kill more brain cells than it would help create. Fortunately for you and me, this here book makes all those fancy concepts easy to understand!

There are 12 brain rules John Medina covers. He does a good job of going over each rule. Each chapter would usually start with the occasional witty story to grab your attention. Then he would mention the discoveries behind each rule, the theories surrounding it, and one or two studies that back the theory up. The chapter ends with the practical impacts of each rule in your personal life or even for society at large (e.g. Brain Rule – Exercise: Because more Oxygen in brain; Brain Rule – Sleep: Sleep well, think well.). You’ll find the occasional illustration in between every few paragraphs. Those make me feel that in writing the book itself he applied the very principles that he’s writing about! (Brain Rule – Attention: We don’t pay attention to boring things.)

The book takes on a very evolutionist stance. The first chapter makes it clear enough (Brain Rule – Survival: The human brain evolved, too.). As a Creationist holding to the Bible’s claims I have trouble accepting some of the premises of some of the rules. But hey, you can still explain most of these from the Creationists point of view. For example, instead of the theory that the brain focuses on survival because of the Savannah, we can just as well say that God our Creator made our brains react to threats for our safekeeping.

The information in the book is valuable stuff, which like I said, have practical tidbits that you can apply to your daily life. You would probably find the same in other sources. Some even seem to be too common-sensical (You don’t need a book to tell you that stress hurts your brain). But with all the drivel you’d find in tabloids, in websites online, or the conflicting claims every week in your Facebook news feed, it doesn’t hurt to actually hear from someone with authority on the matter (with of course the references to back the claims).

If you’ve already forgotten some of the rules after reading the book (Brain Rule – Memory: You gotta repeat it before it sticks), there’s also a neat website companion or the book! http://brainrules.net/

4 out of 5 stars. Would read again (Brain rule – Memory). Also, I’m a guy, so I find details hard to remember (Brain Rule – Gender: Male and female brains are different.). You never know what other info you might unearth (Brain Rule – Exploration: We are powerful and natural explorers).

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This review was first posted on Goodreads

Book Review: Si

SiSi by Bob Ong
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Walang kupas talaga si Bob Ong sa larangan ng pagsusulat. At sa paglabas ng kanyang ikasampung libro ay napatunayan na niyang kaya niya iba’t ibang kategorya ng kwento ma-horror man yan (Kaibigan ni Mama Susan; na hindi ko naman binasa), tungkol sa superhero (Kapitan Sino), script man ng iba’t ibang klase ng sine (Lumayo Ka Nga sa Akin), o love story na paksa ng librong ito.

Pagbuklat mo pa lang sa unang kabanata ay mapapaisip ka na, dahil ang nakalagay ay pang-72 ito. Ngayon pa lang ako nakakita ng librong sinulat ng ganitong istilo. Naiintindihan ko na kung bakit, ayon kay Bob, sinimulan niya tong isulat kasabay pa ng Stainless Longganisa pero ngayon lang natapos.

KONTING SPOILER LANG
Gaya ng nabanggit ko kanina tila pabaligtad ang pagkakasulat ng librong ito. Pagdating pa lang sa kabanata 60 ko napagtanto na ang bawat kabanata pala ay tumutugma sa edad ng bida. Bawat kabanata ay may inilalahad siyang alaala na karamihan ay may kinalaman sa pagmamahalan niya ng kanyang naging asawa. Paalala, hindi ito librong hapon na dapat basahin simmula sa huling pahina. Sinadya ni Bob na magsimula sa edad na 72. Maganda ang kinalabasan. Maihahalintulad ang karanasan na ito sa kung may nakilala ka ngayon lang sa matandang edad na at ikinuwento niya ang mga nangyari sa buhay niya. May mga detalye sa kwento na mapapatanong ka, “Sino naman yung karakter na iyon?” tapos sa sunod na kabanata ay saka lang niya maipapaliwanag kung ano ba ang kinalaman ng taong iyon sa buhay niya.

Natuwa din ako sa kung paano niya ipinahiwatig ang buhay niya. Kalimitan ang karakter ng isang libro ay may isang dimensiyon lamang. Kung ang karakter na ito ay matapang, mabait, madaldal man o hindi sa simula ng libro dadalhin mo ang impresyon na iyon hanggang katapusan. Pero dahil nga nilalahad ng librong ito ang pagtanda at paglago ng isang tao sa bawat yugto ng kanyang buhay, makikita mo ang pagkakaiba ng bida noong siya ay 20, at noong siya ay 60. Napahalagahan ko rin kung paano naipakita nito na ang mga nakatatanda sa atin ay nabiyayaan ng Diyos ng mas maraming karanasan na kalimitan ay nangangahulugan din na may dagdag na karunungan.

Marami pa akong ikinagusto sa librong ito. At kung nagkataon na 4-stars ang ibibigay ko sa librong ito, ay siguradong mapipilitan akong dagdagan ang rating na iyon para lang sa huling kabanata at pahina ng libro kung saan ay nabigyan ng panibagong kahulugan ang naunang 71 na kabanata na binasa ko bago makarating doon. Naglalaman ito ng isang mahalagang mensahe na sa panahon natin ngayon ay mahalagang pag-isipan.

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This review was originally posted on Goodreads.