Open Notebook: Maximum Brainpower

IMG_4548There’s a lot of good information and perspective in the excellent brain health book Maximum Brainpower, much of it resonating with Simon Sinek‘s Leaders Eat Last and Steven Kotler’s The Rise of Superman. In case it’s of interest, I thought I’d share some of the ideas from Maximum Brainpower that I’ve jotted down to keep in mind. My note-taking style for books I read for leisure is pretty minimalistic, but I’ve included page numbers (in the 2013 US paperback edition) for the quotes and points below if you’d like to read more about them.

Eustress: stress that stimulates performance, p. 129

“In evaluating the impact of stress, what matters is not the absolute level of stress but the change in stress from a person’s baseline (the level to which he or she is accustomed).” p. 130
“Whether a new situation creates stress or eustress depends largely on our level of preparation. Eustress occurs when we believe we have a good chance at succeeding in the task before us.” p. 130

“…’cognitive appraisal’ posits that if we think we can manage, we are less stressed.” p. 131
2 phases of cognitive appraisal: 1. whether the event is a threat or challenge, 2. can we cope or not?

“…Stanford researchers were shocked to discover that multitaskers were uniformly bad at just about every mental task. They were far more distracted by irrelevant items, had worse memories, and were slower at switching tasks (!) than non-multitaskers. By training themselves to constantly move from one stimulus to the next, they had developed the attention span of a dog on meth.” p. 138

“Learning a task while distracted, however, causes the memory to form in another part of the brain, the striatum. This kind of memory, called a ‘habit memory,’ is related to very specific tasks and is not easily transferred to new situations. People who learn without distractions have a much higher success rate in applying knowledge to new problems than do people who suffer from distractions.” p. 139

2 types of coping: problem-focused and emotion-focused, p. 146
“One of the costs of strong Western bias for active coping versus emotional coping is that we are lost when we cannot solve our problems.” p. 164

“Nothing helps us overcome our own fear and anxiety more than being responsible for someone who is presumably more vulnerable than we are.” p. 148

“Our physical strength is not accessible to us if the brain does not believe in the outcome, because the worst possible thing for humans to do is to expend all of our resources and fail.” p. 157

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