Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thinking at Work, Home, and School


Fascinating introduction to the world of brain science. Without going into too much details, you can learn what modern brain scientists found out , what they means to our daily lives, and how we may live better. I thought it was quite nice how author ended each chapter with ideas for real-world application. Some might sound a bit too extreme for us, but maybe not.

Here are some of the interesting ideas I learned.


Physical exercise boosts brain power

Brain is a part of your body, so actually it should be no surprise that exercise can enhance our cognitive activity as well. Exercise is great for your long-term memory, reasoning, attention, and problem-solving. I’ve been jogging everyday since I read this part.


Brain needs a lot of energy

Brain represents only about 2 percent of people’s body weight, but it uses 20% of energy.

If you think about it, it does make sense. When you are really sick, you can’t think clearly. Probably your body is using more energy for physical activities so that you can battle with viruses.


Brain can’t multitask

Although you can breathe and walk at the same time, your brain can not process “attention-rich inputs simultaneously.”
There are people who seem to be good at multitasking, but they just have good working memories. For the rest of us, we’d better pick one activity and focus.


Everyone has different productive hour

This was a huge relief. I had tried to be a morning person so many occasions in my life, all in vain.
I learned that only 10% of population was born to be morning people. 20% lie at the other extreme, night owls. The rest are in-between.
I am probably somewhere between two extremes, a bit closer to night owl type.


Napping is champion

Brain needs to take a break around 3pm. It’s just how it is.
36th US president, Lyndon Johnson, used to put on his pajamas to take nap in mid afternoon.
Optimal time for nap differs depending on studies, but somewhere between 26min and 45min seems to be right. I recently take 30min nap whenever I can. It’s not like I have a full-time job, but I find I can read better after nap at least.


Multisensory learning

You learn better using more than one sense.
One of the most powerful for learning is visual sense, which uses about a half of thinking resources.
(This makes sense. When people want to focus, many close eyes.)

If you want to teach effectively, always use visual aids.