The Leading Brain: Neuroscience Hacks to Work Smarter, Better, Happier

There’s a lot information floating around about the science of sleep, multi tasking, behavioral psychology, money and motivation, and about a dozen other things that affect how we perform at work. So much so, that it can be rather confusing to really see how it all fits together, and to know what applies to us.

Look no further. This book brings together a lot of disjointed concepts that I’d previously heard about into a coherent guidebook for the modern worker. Full of mostly practical advice (although a bit dry at times), with a healthy dose of science and explanation of the “why,” it answers questions like…

  1. How do I make meetings more efficient without preparing anything extra?
  2. How can I be more creative?
  3. How do I get work done when there are colleagues around me constantly badgering me?
  4. What are the secret weapons of “cognitive jujitsu?”
  5. What small changes can we make at our work place if we’re bored?
  6. How does dopamine affect our ability to focus at work?
  7. And much more.

Memorable Quotes:

-To reliably achieve peak performance, two key obstacles must be overcome: 1) the highs and lows in our moods that can sometimes wreak havoc on our ability to think clearly, and 2) our strong and instinctive tendency to have our attention diverted by distractions, both in our minds and in our environment.

-It’s no coincidence that most of the world’s major religions place a major emphasis on gratitude. Gratitude is not about suppressing or inhibiting. That not only doesn’t work, but it’s been proved again and again to be detrimental. Instead, it’s about redirecting your attention. Although it doesn’t have to be religious or spiritual, gratitude therapy shifts the focus away from affirming beliefs you may not even have to being grateful for those things you do have.

-People who are interrupted take an estimated 50 percent longer to complete a task and have been found to make up to 50 percent more errors.14 Although it takes just a few seconds to shift from one task to another and then back to the original task, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that it requires an average of twenty-three minutes to get fully back on track, even after a brief interruption.15 Constantly texting or checking e-mails—a mainstay of multitaskers—has been shown to temporarily reduce your IQ by as much as 15 points.*16 And finally, academic studies have found that most of us are interrupted—or interrupt ourselves—an average of roughly every three minutes!

-One of the companies we work with, which is very well known for its sustainable success, has an unwritten rule for its boardroom meetings: The time spent in silence should be equal to or greater than the time spent speaking. In other words, after input of two minutes, there is a pause of two minutes or more in which everyone has an opportunity to digest what has just been said

-Uli Heitzlhofer, global people development program manager at Google, reported the recent creation of a Mental Pause Team with the goal of reducing distractions that can often plague meetings at critical moments. An example is a two-minute meditation pause prior to starting team meetings in which key decisions are made. To aid in this guided meditation, the team can either call a specialist from the Mental Pause Team or get detailed instructions for how to lead this meditation themselves. Early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Another quote from the book:

The former CEO of an American airline famously discovered that he could save the company an estimated $40,000 a year simply by removing a single olive from the salads that the company used to furnish its passengers for free.


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