Author tells how to make your brain work better

In his new book, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, John Medina uses plain English to describe how the brain functions at work and at school. Medina is the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University.

Though there is quite a bit of technical material in the book, readers can get the nuts-and-bolts advice and information from the one-page summary at the end of each chapter. There is an associated Web site and a DVD is included. Medina’s rules include:

* Exercise boosts brain power.

* We don’t pay attention to boring things.

* Sleep well because that’s when the brain processes the day’s learning.

* Stressed brains don’t work very well.

* Vision trumps all other senses. People begin to pay less attention to long texts. He advocates more instruction using pictures.

* We are powerful and natural explorers. The greatest brain rule is the importance of curiosity, but curiosity is not stressed in the educational system. Only grades are valued.

Regardless of age, Medina says, we can and should be life-long learners.

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina, Pear Press, $29.95