Your Brain At Work


I have been doing a lot of reading and as I finish each book I will write up a little about the book. But since most of you won’t actually have the time to read the book, I’ll try to summarize what I learned and if you want to go deeper than a very short summary, please follow the link to buy the book yourself.

http://www.amazon.com/Your-Brain-Work-Strategies-Distraction/dp/0061771295

I really thought this book was well written and worth the time to read. Its only 160 pages of text and it will help you understand how your brain works without a lot of technical jargon. Almost anyone can read this and get at least a few tips that they would consider worthwhile.

These are some of the best points of this book, most have been summarized heavily and without reading the book you might find them odd, sorry it makes sense to me though.
– Your brain power is a very limited resource that is rationed
– You can’t get more brain power, but you can use what power you have better by understanding how your brain processes
– Your brain has two modes : narrative and cognitive, it likes narrative – it uses less power, think daydreaming…
– Your brain runs on glucose, it literally can run out of power by the end of the day
– Put problem solving early in the day, everything from driving to a new place or trying to remember something can rob your brain power.
– Your brain can only process 4 items at a time at the most, often its less…
– It takes brain power to keep a thought in your mind
– It takes brain power to keep from thinking about something (inhibition)
– If you need to remember something for a few hours, write it down instead of holding it in your mind
– Your brain cannot multi-task, it divides its power and gets sloppy
– You brain works by connecting new and old information together, its connection-centric
– Talking your ideas, what you learned and problems out causes subconscious connections to form and will always help
– Your brain wants/needs social interaction, you form less connections on your own
– You naturally place everyone you meet into a foe category and distrust everything they say or do
– Trust is caused by a chemical in the brain that makes you more productive, open minded, and happier
– People like choices, allowing someone to choose releases chemicals that makes them happier
– Expectations in the brain have serious chemical results : ie the placebo effect can be more powerful than medicine
– Missing or hitting expectations has day long chemical effects — setting your expectations to be met throughout the day will increase your productivity and happiness
– Mental pain (rejection, etc) and physical pain registers in the same part of the brain
– Your brain recognizes fairness and sees the same feeling as disgust when its not there
– Your brain has constant neurological noise that can cloud your mind, closing your eyes can help lower that noise.
– Insight can be fostered, when you can’t think of an answer no matter how hard you try, work on something else, your brain will continue to work on it, stay positive and you might get an insight
– The only way to focus from distractions is to turn off computers, phones, noise, music, tv, etc
– Often we react poorly in situations that involve emotions (anger, unfairness, nervous) but labeling our mood throughout the day can free us from this pitfall
– We can trick our brains to reevaluate a situation from being negative to neutral or positive, what you think, even if you don’t fully believe it will cause a change in your brain.
– Positive moods have a huge impact on your productivity and interaction with others
– Throughout the day, label your mood and any downfalls in that mood (i.e. meet someone while you are mad, label yourself mad and compensate)
– Through repetition you can label yourself and react better in all of your moods
– When dealing with others and change, make the situation friendly, get their permission/opinion of what they want changed, then on a fairness platform, suggest what you want changed.
– People have a huge fairness complex, if you do something nice, they will want to mirror you with fairness and do something nice back.
– You can increase productivity by knowing your brain and you can control it by repetition until it becomes an automatic task


I'm a 29 year old UIUC Computer Engineer building mobile apps, websites and hardware integrations with an interest in 3D printing, biotechnology and Arduinos.

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