BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

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

BrainRules-Paperback_NYT-redband.inddThat it has taken me months to write this specific post is NOT an indicator in any way that this book was not informative, entertaining, useful, and often just downright fun. I also ‘read’ most of it via iPod, which I’d also highly recommend because writer John Medina has one of those contagious about-to-laugh voices that actually squeaks when he gets really excited about something, or starts reading a little too fast. He’s a stitch to listen to, I promise.

I have to digress for just a second: I keep hearing those young ‘uns out there talking about their “synching” capabilities between their various mobile devices – ‘oh, I had a few minutes waiting in line, so I read the book on my phone, and when I got back on my e-reader, I picked up right where I left off’-sort of thing. I don’t know if it will ever be possible, but would be soooo great to somehow synch between where you are in the audible version with an e-reader (which I admit I only use under great duress) or even a page number for the actual book (say, by edition?). Surely, there’s an app for that …?

Maybe the reason this post is taking so long is because I’m just not ready to let it go. So much more to “Repeat to remember” and “Remember to repeat” – which also happen to be Rules #5 and #6. That and I haven’t been able to follow Rule #7: “Sleep well, think well.” I dunno … in my old age, those long-lasting zzzzs are suddenly rather elusive, and I completely admit that my brain is very adversely affected! Plus, no matter what I tell my husband when I want him to pick up the kids and unload the dishwasher, humans are just not wired to be multitaskers, as Medina explains in Rule #4 “We don’t pay attention to boring things.” He also has all the stats that prove pulling out your cell phone while driving, by the way, is worse than getting behind the wheel drunk!

The one rule that I absolutely have been diligent about is #1: “Exercise boosts brain power.” That I started this book immediately after I finished Born to Run proved to be serendipitous timing indeed. Our brains were built for walking 12 miles a day; Medina’s got all the research to make that statement utterly convincing, too. So, in attempting to train for the Leadville 100 before I hit 50 (no snickering allowed!) or die trying anyway, I’m doing my requisite 12 miles and more daily. All that exercise is supposed to halve my risk of dementia, as well, but so far, that ain’t working for me just yet. What was I saying? Uhm … maybe a few more miles?

Brain Rules is definitely one of those books to thumb through regularly. That said, the associated website is so full of bite-size summaries and helpful tutorials that might you might think twice about buying (and/or downloading) the whole book. Having done both, I’d say that would be a mistake. Sure, you can find all the quick stats and easy reminders of his major points online, but what you’ll miss are some powerful stories, especially some real gems from Medina’s life that involve memories of how his mother fueled his unstoppable curiosity in glorious ways.

I don’t remember all the numbers (not like the real Rain Man Kim Peek whose unique brain makes an appearance in Brain Rules – and makes for a fabulous tall tale!), but I can certainly feel Medina’s awe and admiration for his amazing mother. So while Rules probably wasn’t meant to be a parenting book, Medina’s Mom was certainly one inspiring teacher!

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2008


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