John Medina
Go ahead and multiply the number 8,388,628 times 2 in your head. Can you do it in a few seconds? There is a young man who can double that number 24 times in a few seconds. He gets it right every time. There is a boy who can tell you the exact time of day at any moment, even in his sleep. There is a girl who can correctly determine the exact dimensions of an object 20 feet away. There is a child who, at age 6, drew such lifelike and powerful pictures, she got her own show at a gallery on Madison Avenue. Yet none of these children could be taught to tie their shoes. Indeed, none of them have an IQ greater than 50. 

The brain is an amazing thing. 

Your brain may not be nearly so odd, but it is no less extraordinary. Easily the most sophisticated information-transfer system on Earth, your brain is fully capable of taking little black squiggles on your screen and deriving meaning from them. To accomplish this miracle, your brain sends jolts of electricity crackling through hundreds of miles of wires composed of brain cells so small that thousands of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence. You accomplish all of this in less time than it takes you to blink. Indeed, you have just done it. What's equally incredible, given our intimate association with it, is this: Most of us have no idea how our brains work. 

This has strange consequences. We try to talk on our cell phones and drive at the same time, even though it is literally impossible for our brains to multitask when it comes to paying attention. We have created high-stress office environments, even though a stressed brain is significantly less productive. Our schools are designed so that most real learning has to occur at home. This would be funny, if it weren't so harmful. 

Blame it on the fact that brain scientists rarely have a conversation with parents, teachers and business professionals. Unless you have the Journal of Neuroscience sitting on your coffee table, you're out of the loop. 

Brain Rules covers 12 things we know about how the brain works—exercise, memory, sleep, stress, etc. There is a way that you can apply each rule to your daily life, especially at work and school.

3 rules to get you started!