Brain Rules for Baby

How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five
Narrated by: John Medina
Length: 8 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,082 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What’s the single most important thing you can do during pregnancy? What does watching TV do to a child’s brain? What’s the best way to handle temper tantrums? Scientists know.

In his New York Times best seller Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina told us how our brains really work—and why we ought to redesign our workplaces and schools. Now, in Brain Rules for Baby, he shares what the latest science says about how to raise smart and happy children from zero to 5. This book is destined to revolutionize parenting. Just one of the surprises: The best way to get your children into the college of their choice? Teach them impulse control.

Brain Rules for Baby bridges the gap between what scientists know and what parents practice. Through fascinating and funny stories, Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and dad, unravels how a child’s brain develops--and what you can do to optimize it.You will view your children—and how to raise them—in a whole new light.

You’ll learn:

  • Where nature ends and nurture begins
  • Why men should do more household choresWhat you do when emotions run hot affects how your child turns out
  • TV is harmful for children under 2
  • Your child’s ability to relate to others predicts her future math performance
  • Smart and happy are inseparable
  • Pursuing your child’s intellectual success at the expense of his happiness achieves neither
  • Praising effort is better than praising intelligence
  • The best predictor of academic performance is not IQ. It’s self control
  • What you do right now—before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and through the first five years—will affect your children for the rest of their lives.

Brain Rules for Baby is an indispensable guide.

©2010 John Medina (P)2010 Pear Press

What listeners say about Brain Rules for Baby

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Neuroscience for the nursery

If you are pregnant or planning a family, I thoroughly recommend this book, which accessibly presents,the latest in research concerning the development of intelligence, happiness, and good behavior in children.

If you, like me, are already the parents of a child old enough, to run, jump, count to 10, and arbitrarily meet at least half of your parental requests with an indignant "NO!", then I also thoroughly recommend this book-- with a bit of a disclaimer: brace yourself before reading. The "rules" in question amount to a pretty tall order, and he doesn't exactly mince his words about the possible effects of not following them.

The first priority of any brain, he points out, is not to learn. It is to be safe. This has been the goal of our brains since the earliest days of human evolution, and the vestiges of ancient evolutionary pressures and needs remain with us still. Stemming from this understanding, and supported by research, Dr. Medina recommends that parents place a high priority on marital harmony, empathic discipline, stress reduction during pregnancy, and avoidance of "hyperparenting".

Second, humans are deeply social creatures-- this means that we learn best by being held, spoken to often, sung to, and read to-- it also means turning off the cell phones, computers and TV, and engaging in imaginative "guided play" on a daily basis.

This is a good book, and I am compelled to apply Dr. Medina's recommendations to my own parenting practice.

I would, however, suggest two more books, for the sake of balance. The first is "Into the Minds of Babes" by Lisa Guernsey, which offers more research specifically relating to TV, and which I believe presents a more balanced view.

The second is "The Shelter of Each Other" by Mary Pipher, which offers a more holistic, anthropological perspective on many of these issues-- which considers the experience of the parents and the culture as well, and in which the "Voice of Science" is a little less... imperious.

47 people found this helpful

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This Book Surprised Me

Where does Brain Rules for Baby rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I love when you stumble upon an educational book that is just as entertaining as it is informative. Before this book I never would have thought neurons and brain chemistry would be so much fun to read about. I laughed out loud several times but more importantly I learned how my baby's brain is developing, why she does the crazy things she does, and I received lots of practical parenting advice that I could put into effect same day.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Brain Rules for Baby?

Author John Medina, a parent himself, understands what we want for our kids...to be smart and to be happy. He breaks down both citing extensive research studies and applying them to real-life parenting practices. He is specific, not just reminding us how to be more empathetic parents, but how we can actually shape the conversations we have with our kids for the best results.

Any additional comments?

The production quality is poor compared to most (maybe all) of the books I have but don't let it dissuade you from downloading. John Medina's voice and mannerisms sound an awful lot like comedian Lewis Black but not as extreme. For me, it added to the entertainment value. He is definitely not a trained narrator but I found him so likable it didn't matter. I gave the performance 3 stars only for the poor sound production.

6 people found this helpful

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Scientifically Proven Baby Advice

Would you consider the audio edition of Brain Rules for Baby to be better than the print version?

No.

What did you learn from Brain Rules for Baby that you would use in your daily life?

Brain Rules is a fantastic resource for any parent (or soon to be parent). John Medina is a scientist first and foremost, and the basis of this book is to give only advice that is scientifically proven to help brain development in children. It reduces everything to practical actions that you can take as a parent, whilst at the same time explaining the neurological science (and often the evolutionary requirements) underpinning that advice. I recommend it highly.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Book on Child Development

This books displels the myths of what helps with baby/child development while highlighting things that parents should focus on. A must read for any new or expecting parent.

2 people found this helpful

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Very enjoyable and informative

Would you consider the audio edition of Brain Rules for Baby to be better than the print version?

I really enjoy listening to the author perform this book. He makes some really corny jokes, but the material is good. My main take away is that I need to play structured make-believe with my baby/kid, get him into music classes and provide consistent rewards/punishments. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but it doesn't hurt to hear it along with the support of lots of studies.

4 people found this helpful

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  • -E
  • 07-22-13

I loved this book!

Would you listen to Brain Rules for Baby again? Why?

Yes! My son was just born. I took so many notes on the Audible iPhone app and will either "read" this book again sometime in the next year (on 1.5 speed, since I've already finished it) or around the time of my next child's birth.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

Any additional comments?

As a new parent that normally prefers to read social psychology (as it pertains to adults), I doubted I would enjoy this book very much. But the book surpassed my expectations by far and is now one of my favorite books on human behavior. Why? Because instead of just explaining how the brain works (like other books I've read and liked), from this book I get to know how it develops!

John Medina is obviously very intelligent, but from his lively narration and story telling, the reader/listener gets to like him as a person. He is very entertaining.

Sincerely, this book prepares me for childhood. I know when and how to set rules, how to punish when necessary, what parenting styles have been scientifically demonstrated to be more effective and how to create a happy, healthy and intelligent baby.

I look forward to reading Medina's other book, Brain Rules.

Hey Dr. Medina! (I'm sure you'll read your reviews), I look forward to reading your future books under the following titles:
- Brain Rules for Kids
- Brain Rules for Teenagers

I will need them!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very interesting

Overall, I found this book to be very interesting and I will definitely be using the advice and suggestions that were provided. Some very good tips!

1 person found this helpful

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I could have finished this audio book in a day

This audio was very helpful in understanding how children develop. I’m starting parenting a little late in the game and I’ve seen a lot of bad and inconsistent parenting, which is why I wanted to read this book. I’m fully aware that being a mother means that I’m going to have to change my behaviors, be more empathetic and encourage my daughter to be the best she can be, and I feel better prepare to do that now.

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This is the best parenting book ever

I did not expect much when I got this book, and boy was I in for a great surprise. I love the fact that all the parenting advice is based on science, and makes utter, common sense. So many aha moments, and I wanted to stop driving and write notes at times!
The reading of the book was awesome, and really injected the joy and humour.
I loved the audio version so much I had to order the book as well, which I had to import as it is not for sale in my country!
Highly recommend this book!

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Amazing

I really loved this book, highly recommend. All based on research but applicable to everyday life.

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  • Rebecca
  • 10-10-16

Every mother needs to read this!

I studied infant psychology at uni a while ago and after I gave birth to my daughter last year I used to listen to this while breastfeeding to remind myself of what I was taught in infant psychology.

This book is valuable! The information is priceless. It's disgusting that books about letting babies cry themselves to sleep get more attention then books like this which give scientifically proven help.

If you are a parent who is seeking for solutions purely to make your life more convenient then the books about letting babies cry to sleep is more suited to you. If you're a parent or caregiver seeking the best nurture for your baby or child this book is for you.

6 people found this helpful

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  • michelle
  • 01-31-17

Must listen; must get the hard copy!

This is a book I'll be using as a reference in my parenting journey. I hope wish I had discovered it earlier. I'm getting the hard copy as well so I can bookmark and make annotations of key points that I need reminding of again and again. Definitely worth it!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Patrick Curley
  • 12-05-16

wish I'd bought this earlier

Great book in depth, useful for the whole family and everyone should read it, from siblings to grandparents

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • TwoDevonPixies
  • 12-30-14

easily absorbed sensible advice on child rearing

This was sensible, well explained advice that I can easily imagine working into my new life as a parent and I am actually looking forward to listening to this as a regular refresher as they grow and I have to practice new parenting skills (e.g. when the tantrums start).
The voice is perfect, not irritating but not so dull that it makes you want to fall asleep (quite amazing for a parent of new born twins as everything makes me want to sleep!)
I highly recommend this book if you are looking for some scientific yet practical advice.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Saul
  • 04-15-13

Become aware

As I'm not yet a parent I picked up the book as I was interested in neuroscience. I was not disappointed and even got more than I bargained for. Medina is a gifted communicator, entertainer, and educator. The book has genuine laugh out loud moments but also makes you think. You will never look at learning in the same way, and will be more aware of the rationale for certain parenting styles and decisions.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-10-11

Practical, pragmatic and reassuring

I listened to this first whilst 8 months pregnant and have just re-listened now my baby is 4 months old. The book gives very practical tips on how different forms of interaction affect your child throughout its life. Its fascinating and would recommend to any parent or parent to be.

3 people found this helpful

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  • AJ
  • 04-15-20

Great book

Absolutely fantastic, the perfect book that I happened to read at the perfect time. Highly recommended if you are a new parent!

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  • Jamal
  • 05-23-19

Amazing book for all parents!

All parents should listen to this book, it's invaluable as it will greatly help you to better understand your little ones brain development.

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  • Leonie
  • 05-20-19

Very informative

Great informative and well structured listen. Concise outline of the most important things a parent can do to stimulate their child's brain. Final chapters include very useful summary and tips on the most important brain rules to focus on.

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  • David Freed
  • 02-15-19

Good but could do with updating

Really good read and accessible. Needs a bit of updating on the latest studies showing paternity hormones and active dads, and the latest research re breast feeding but apart from that, it’s good

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  • Nadja
  • 04-01-16

A must read for every parent

I loved this book. Medina narrates wonderfully, clear and concise scientific research is made accessible easy to understand and relevant to all aspects of parenting. It really opened my eyes and gave real practical help. Thank you

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-17-18

Great for left brainers! loved it!

From one dad to another - read this book! Gets scientifically technical at times but author summarises this simply and clearly. Helped me enormously as a new dad