Monday, November 22, 2010

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: 5 of 5 stars

Let me be clear - I am not a science person. My education in the public school system doomed me with uninspiring science teachers (with a few notable exceptions) and as such this whole field failed to ever capture my imagination enough to want to learn more about it. Mostly it was just boring and tedious and failed to ever touch that realm within my head that goes "Wowwwww...I want to learn more about that...". Even attending UVA and the science classes there failed to ever create a spark that ignited a flame, a desire to learn more about the subject.

However, as an "adult" I have to come to appreciate the field of science. The intricacies of the human body and universe that we live in, to me, point to the unbelievable creativity, complexity, and mystery of God. Which is why I found myself completely fascinated by this book all about the brain.

I had no idea how incredibly complex, mysterious, and unbelievably fascinating the organ known as our brain is. It is unbelievable the amount of processes and neurons it is taking me right now to type out this sentence, much less for you to be able to read it. Did you know that what our eyes see really is just the brain "Seeing" for us based upon prior experience and patterns? That the rasoen yuo can raed tihs stenecne is bcaese the bairn is fllinig in the wrods besad uopn porir epereixcne. The words just typed out should make no sense whatsoever to you - yet you can read that entire sentence because your brain is automatically compensating for what should be there. Fascinating, isn't it??

This book, written by the neuroscientist John Medina, breaks down the 12 "rules" that our brains are governed by. Covering such topics as Exercise, Sleep and Stress and their effects upon the human brain, as well as short and long-term memory and our innate ability to learn and explore, Medina presents what could be overwhelming and complex material in an easy-to-understand, read, and digest manner. It is fascinating to discover some reasons and rules about the way we think - something that we take for granted each and every day. On a personal note, I found this book highly enlightening based upon the fact that an aunt had a horrific car accident in which she suffered significant brain damage. Reading this book only highlights the miracle it is to see how much she has been able to heal and regain functions of her brain that could have easily remained permanently damaged. I highly recommend this book.

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