2 books about brain: What best neuroscientists can teach us about memory, creativity, society, productivity, work & leadership

Not a long time ago I wrote a post about My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. And during last couple of months I listened to and read 2 more: Brain Rules by John Medina and Your Brain at Work by David Rock. Unlike Jill, they don’t tell their own stories but try to give real life recommendations based on neuroscience research.

John focuses on general principles rules of brain functioning which he covers relatively briefly. David on the other hand provides more of a deep dive in various situations that we face daily, mostly at work but views them through the prism of our brain and its biochemistry. Social concepts, such as status, reward and others are explained through things like oxitocin, dopamin & epinephrin.

Those who find such topics interesting can find my notes below. Plus, a couple of great videos of authors’ talks and one fun Slideshare presentation.

1. Brain Rules by John Medina

I used the actual “brain rules” by John from his website as the basis for my notes and briefly tried to explain main idea of each one.

John Medina

EXERCISE | Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.

John recommends various kind of physical activity, especially aerobic one, including long walks. He states that if participants of business meetings walked on treadmills with 1.8 mile/hr speed, they would come up with much more creative ideas, not to mention increased memory and overall well-being. By the way, John takes his own medicine. It took him 15 minutes to adapt to replying to emails while walking.

Continue reading

Zen writing: best free minimalistic word processing apps

Disturbances and loss of the ability to focus seem to be the curse of modern world. All these social networks, messengers and ideas of “what to google” can make it pretty hard to concentrate on writing. But sometimes you just need to “unplug” in order to finish a good text, whatever it is: a blog post, an essay or a book.

There are software applications that allow you to do exactly that. Often you don’t need billions of formatting options, smart integration opportunities and other features of bloated Microsoft Office. What you need is to write. Then, you can do all the formatting, proof reading, illustration, etc. So, what are the best free tools that are perfect for this task?
Continue reading