Monday, January 11, 2010

Brain Rules 12 Principles for Surving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

Brain Rules 12 Principles for Surving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina

This book is a series of twelve chapters on different principles on how to make your brain function better. Many of the ideas are practical common sense; get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, avoid stress, and repeat things to remember things better. This is not a book of magic formulas. The ideas are sound and all have been documented multiple times to be true.

Not every principle is completely obvious. For example, if you teach using more than one sense, you get better results, and every person learns differently because their brain is wired differently. He also refutes the idea that people lose their ability to learn as they age.

Many of the examples from his personal life about his toddler were entertaining. Some of the practical ideas like making sure a coffee aroma was the first thing you smelled when you went into Starbucks coffee shop were interesting.

Where this book was not so great was in the style. I found his writing to be very prescriptive. It reminded me very much of The Elements of Style; short terse sentences, easily understandable words, uniform paragraph structure, and precise grammar. I thought the writing could have been more descriptive with higher level vocabulary and a more varied sentence and paragraph structure.

There was also no bibliography at the end of the book. John Medina asks you to go to to get the bibliography. I found this to be not that encouraging. There is an index. Another problem is that he gives the names of people in his field, but does not list the books they have written in the body of the text. This is disappointing.

Read this book for the content and ideas, but not the citations, style, or writing.

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