Brain

Book offers informative, entertaining look at the brain

What if I told you today I’m suggesting you read a book filled with studies about the brain?

There’s a good chance you’d think that sounded like a lot of hard-to-understand information that’s probably deadly boring as well.

But you’d be wrong.

“Your Daily Brain: 24 Hours in the Life of Your Brain” is a very accessible, information-filled book from Marbles: The Brain Store with writer Garth Sundem (Three Rivers Press, $14). The tone is light-hearted and fun, making it easy to absorb all this information about the center of our intellect.

YourDailyBrainBookCover

As the title suggests, the book looks at the brain at different times over 24 hours, because different parts of it are at work depending on the task at hand. Also, we may think the brain is at rest during different activities throughout our day, but that’s not true. Our brain is busy from the time we first wake — and decide whether to hit that snooze button (the book will tell you WHEN it’s a good idea to do this) — until our heads hit the pillow at night.

When I started reading it, I was going in chronological order. Later, every time I picked it up “Your Daily Brain” I’d look at the clock and pick that time as where’d I’d resume reading. Like the day I plopped into a chair after lunch to read, I started at 1 p.m. That chapter starts with this catchy title: Should You Do Today What Could Be Put Off Until Tomorrow? (Boy, if there wasn’t a more perfect chapter for me!)

Anyway, what “Your Daily Brain” told me was a few things I had suspected: such as, that tempting procrastinators like me with rewards or dire consequences doesn’t get us to do the required assignment. We have to want to do it. (So true! Too many times when my husband has asked in a pained voice why I didn’t do a task he’d requested, I’ve honestly said — and gotten the stink-eye — because I didn’t want to do it.)

Ah, but there has to be a way around this, right? And that’s the beauty of “Your Daily Brain.” It doesn’t just explain why your brain does what it does, but gives you strategies on how to adjust your behavior. (As the book reminds in its introduction: “Every second of every day, you have the opportunity to use your brain for better or for worse.”)

In the case of my procrastination, “Your Daily Brain” says to reduce that behavior, I have to find something within the project at hand that I find motivating. (Right now I’m thinking if I clean that messy bathroom drawer, I may finally find the nail polish I’ve been looking for lately. Motivation!)

“Your Daily Brain” shows how the brain works and is filled with ways to jump-start yours to your advantage. Give it a look. I think you’ll find it as informative and readable as I did.

Now I gotta go clean that drawer …

PHOTO: Sun-Times Media File Photo