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Publisher's Summary

Most of us have no idea what's really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know - such as the brain's need for physical activity to work at its best. How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget - and so important to repeat - new information? Is it true that men and women have different brains?

In Brain Rules, molecular biologist Dr. John Medina shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule - what scientists know for sure about how our brains work - and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives.

Medina's fascinating stories and sense of humor breathe life into brain science. You'll learn why Michael Jordan was no good at baseball. You'll peer over a surgeon's shoulder as he finds, to his surprise, that we have a "Jennifer Aniston neuron". You'll meet a boy who has an amazing memory for music but can't tie his own shoes.

Visit to view videos mentioned in the book.

©2008 John J. Medina (P)2008 Pear Press

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

My favorite book for students.

Sick of "how to" books, as an avid listener of audiobooks, I like well researched, well presented, compressed books that are narrated by the author. this one scores on all counts. as if they had audio rather then print in mind all along!

As an academic student I've long since been looking for someone to give me the gist of how to study, without patronizing tones and "you can do it" over piano music. Medina really gives you intuitive yet academic based understanding of what methods are best to help you study

This book has finally caused me to get off the computer and go excercise, for my brain's sake.

Thanks John!

46 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I'll recommend this to my patients

I enjoyed the book and thought that it was written in an accessible and entertaining manner. The points are familiar and not surprising to those working in the field. However, I'm a psychologist and many of my patients are not aware of the extreme impact that lack of exercise, stress and sleep have on the brain and your ability to think.

I believe that this book was written with the intent to make work and school environments more human places - that support learning and creativity. Many people berate themselves because they simply feel like they don't measure up when it's really an environment that is bad for brains.

Medina has made an excellent case for changing the world for the better and I hope that teachers and managers take notice.

62 of 63 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Book!

A very brainy book by an entertaining scientist. Throughly enjoyed listening to it and I have recommended it to at least 5 other friends.

Because of this book I am now walking 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes per day. When you listen to this book and understand how 30 minutes a day of walking can make a difference it makes an impression. It is amazing how more motivating it is to walk for your brain vs. your figure.

Bottom line - download Brain Rules and go for a walk, you will thank Dr. Medina in the morning.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Mountain View, CA, United States
  • 10-28-08

Entertaining and Educational

This author makes it fun to learn about the science of the brain! One of my best audible investments.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • Lincoln, NE, USA
  • 04-30-09

Important Connections

I am not into what the author calls "Brain Science," but I am interested in educational psychology. This book has provided the connections I need. The organization of the book is sound, making the points both memorable and valuable. He has a nice blend of technical jargon and pop language, enough so that (I believe) any novice with the motivation to learn about how the brain functions can learn. This book provides a great model for how scientific (both the hard sciences and social sciences) work can be translated to a larger audience. I actually enjoyed the narrator, he seemed to have emotion behind his voice that I was able to connect to.

My only complaint about the book was the last chapters. He went from what I believed to be fascinating ideas to "men are different from women", and "children are natural scientists." I can't help thinking he was pandering to his family. (I suppose is fine, I might do the same thing in my books) I am a huge fan of Tannen, but I think her work was really smashed into this book. I would suggest limiting the book to ten rules (Oh, and I would change the rules approach, a bit cliche for me) Other than that, so far it has been my favorite book on audible.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Casey
  • san diego, CA, USA
  • 08-11-08

Fascinating and accessible

One of the few books on brain science that actually reveals interesting information without wandering into unnecessary technical details.

Furthermore, this book takes some stabs at practical applications without pretending to contain solutions to all of the world's problems.

The author narrates. I'd give him a B- for voice work.

Smart, practical, and interesting. One of my favorites this year.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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This is not the text of the published book!

I was suspicious about a quote from an interview between Mike Wallace and Frank Lloyd at 6:10 of Chapter 2. It quotes Frank Lloyd Wright as saying to tear down St. Patrick's Cathedral. Hmm... I looked it up in the printed copy of the book by searching the text on Amazon and Google Books. It does not have that quote. In fact, the interview is very different. I check with other sources; the printed copy, not this audiobook, matches the actual interview. I listed for the next 2 minutes and found several more things that had changed. Some were facts, some were grammar. A date was changed, "like" was changed to "such as", etc. This audio book is apparently from a draft before it was fact-checked and grammar-checked. Misquoting Frank Lloyd Wright as saying to tear down St. Patrick's Cathedral might direclty relate to what the author is saying, but if the author has that wrong, what else is wrong in the rest of the book? Can the listeners trust this unfact-checked and unproofed draft of the book? I can't. I want accuracy over ease, so I guess I'll have to read the printed copy.

48 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I am currently studying for a degree in psychology. I found this book very relevant. It's entertaining and relates scientific principles to everyday events making the information easy to digest and remember. The info. on the complimentary web page an extra bonus. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the mind at any level.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Material, Get Over the Reading

This book has some very interesting thoughts and concepts worth considering. You can read the publisher's review or the audible summary to get a feel for the content.

I enjoyed it and learned a few things from it. My first criteria for a 5 star book is: Did I learn something? If so, are there significant negatives which detract from the book?

In this case, yes, I learned, and, no, there is nothing particularly negative about this book.

I expected, based on the other reviews, to have to struggle through horrible narration. I think we're polluted by over produced, air brushed entertainment. Ok, the guys voice isn't Hollywood---so what? It's a science book, not Shakespeare. Get over it. The narration is fine. You'd have to ignore the content and concentrate on the voice to hear the "cracks" in his voice that others have found so offensive. Good grief---must everything be sanitized and packaged for the American audience?

All the ideas are not new, but still, it's nice to have these ideas organized in one book.

If you're expecting a page turner, save your credits. If you think it's worth your time to learn a couple of new things, go for it.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU's Business Talk Blog

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Janine
  • Cary, NC, USA
  • 05-30-09

Extremely Interesting and Engaging

This is was an excellent read for someone who is not trained in brain science but interested in understanding how the brain works. If you have children and are interested in helping them learn, you will find this one interesting - that's why I chose it. It has changed how I am with my boys, trying to slow down and let them be explorers.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Mark
  • 10-11-11

Brilliant brain food

The passion of the author brings this audiobook to life in your head and makes the concepts stick, he's a remarkable narrator. For me the sign of a good book in this category is just how practical it is to apply and that's the frame of my review.

As a corporate trainer and facilitator I found the practical tips in this book, and demonstrated throughout by the author in the way to book is written, powerful and easy to apply. For me the most useful ideas that I now apply daily are:

- People don’t pay attention to boring things. You have to grab attention, this gives you 10 minutes to get your point across and at ten minutes grab their attention again but how...

- With something emotional and relevant! The idea is to use emotionally competent stimulus every 10 minutes to grab the attention. The author does this in, often funny, visual descriptions of the scientists he references and the stories he tells. See if you can forget the story about the burglary, the trainee surgeon or the walk to nursery after listening to this book. These simple stories are burned on my memory.

I'm in the process of looking at all the training presentations I write and deliver. I was still working under the notion of 20 minute attention span and now I can see why some of my sessions are successful - those with a big enough hook and relevant stories within - and the others well they were less effective.

There is so much more goodness in this book, for example the exercise chapter provides so much motivation to get moving. I liked being able to see the author in the follow up videos (which confirmed his genuine passion and belief in his message) and the chapter summaries at are an excellent reminder of the main points.

Now I wonder if I can incorporate the 26 minute afternoon nap (for a 34% performance gain) into what we do?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • M. Russell
  • 05-18-11

Mind.. your body!

John Medina???s ability to speak passionately and engagingly makes this book a real treat! And hey! Mind and body are NOT two separate ???bits???. Just a small investment in getting a bit more oxygen upstairs will make all the difference. As someone once famously said, ???It???s not rocket surgery!??? But it is brain science ??? delivered in a chatty, sometimes mischievous but always accessible way. So do your body and your brain a favour ??? it beats la dolce viagra any day!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Miss
  • 01-26-15

Great book

I teach art and design to large groups of students. I have put lots of the ideas in this into practice to great effect. I will be listening to this book again.

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  • Dr V
  • 01-25-15

Great book

As a clinical psychologist this book is a must read. A well presented book which was easy to follow and made lots of sense.

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  • BR
  • 12-02-13

A fabulous listen!

If you could sum up Brain Rules in three words, what would they be?


What did you like best about this story?

Brain Rules is extremely well written; it flows and has delightful, personal analogies to maintain its delight (and of course reinforce the point of the brain needing to regularly refocus its attention. This is an audiobook that you can dip into and out of since there are separate brain rules. Use the accompanying web materials and you have a brilliant resource for how we think. And why children can trick us!

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I most enjoyed the seen with John and his son. 'Danger!' was the word quietly uttered but it wasn't heeded. Ouch!

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me smile and want even more to put the words into action.

Any additional comments?

A must-listen for anyone interested in how the brain works. It should be compulsory training for psychology courses but it's so well written and so tangible for the 'person in the street' wanting to better their brain.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful