Brain Rules for Baby

Sunday December 9, 2018

To be a good parent, be a good person. The core recommendations on "How to raise a smart and happy child from zero to five" are empathy and understanding emotion.

"Human learning ... is primarily a relational exercise." (page 111)

Medina aims for objective reasonableness, and it's usually easy for me to agree.

For the abbreviated book (and a few extra nuggets) check out the 15 pages of "practical tips" starting on page 287. Here's my summary of recommendations:

When someone is in an emotional state, use "the empathy reflex" (page 83):

  1. Describe the emotional changes you think you see.
  2. Make a guess as to where those emotional changes come from.

This is like a flip of "I statements."

After empathy, the second major focus is on understanding emotion: talking about emotions, accepting them as natural, and (eventually) not being ruled by them.

There are lots of concrete recommendations:

Medina gives a very reasonable presentation of intelligence and IQ, including this historical tidbit on how we got the term "Intelligence Quotient" in the first place:

"The score was the ratio of a child's mental age to his or her chronological age, multiplied by 100. So a 10-year-old who could solve problems normally solved only by 15-year-olds had an IQ of 150: (15/10) X 100." (page 95)

On page 100 we get five ingredients of human intelligence stew, which I like:

The associating, questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking from an old Harvard Business Review article on "Innovators DNA" get woven in, and it's not awful.

Three last details I enjoyed:

Brain Rules for Baby cover