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!

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

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