Review: Brain Smart — How to regain focus, manage distractions & achieve more

Posted on April 24, 2014. Filed under: Attention Matters, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Adair Jones, a Brainwaves for Leaders staff writer, reviews Dr Jenny Brockis’s new book, Brain Smart.


brain smart cover copy


Dr Jenny Brockis, a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners,  has long been fascinated by the brain and human behaviour. A passionate advocate for applying neuroscience in our daily lives — both personal and professional — and a regular speaker on the subject, Brockis defines her mission as the desire to become the Jamie Oliver of brain fitness and to make brain fitness as widely appreciated as nutrition.  To this end, she has published a series of short, highly readable books about the human brain and its ability to constantly learn and update itself.

The latest in the series, Brain Smart follows Brain Fit!, Brains at Work, and Brain Change. In it, Brockis outlines how to ‘pay attention to attention’, develop a sharper focus, and manage distractions in an increasingly busy and chaotic world.

According to Brockis, the book:

…introduces ideas that can help you to develop your own smartness, as well as an understanding of why our brain sometimes lets us down — why we sometimes forget things that matter to us; why we go blank when standing up to present in front of others; and why we may find ourselves at the wrong destination, wondering, “How did I get here?” and “Why do I allow myself to get side-tracked when I know I ought to be doing something else?”

Without getting too technical or overly scientific, Brockis addresses a number of issues that affect us today and shows how using knowledge from the latest neuroscience research can indeed be applied in simple ways to improve our effectiveness, our focus, and our productivity. She gives tips on how we can consciously take control of our environment and work to our strengths. Since each of us is different, this is not a matter of one size fitting all. We each need to figure out the ways our own brain works best and then design our environment and daily schedule accordingly rather than the other way around.

In the past twenty years, neuroscience research has revealed a lot about the brain that we didn’t previously know. Unfortunately, only a few have adopted these insights and incorporated them into how their organisations are run. In fact, most of today’s workplaces and work practices are still based on an outdated understanding of how people actually function.

Brockis emphasises that most workplaces are not very  ‘brain-safe’ or ‘brain-friendly’. One sign of this is seen in chronic presenteeism, when employees make it into work and even work long hours but fail to become engaged. Another issue is the ubiquity of technology and a ant stream of information that competes for attention. We need to develop ways of turning off, tuning out, unplugging. But this side of technology has not kept pace with all the new applications that draw us in. Since the brain loves novelty and can only focus intensely for short bursts, things are against us from the start.

Brain Smart is a timely volume, one that clever managers will refer to again and again. Knowing when, how, and why the human brain functions at its best is the first step towards having a fit brain. And, as Brockis says, moving from a fit brain that is optimised to be healthy to a smart brain that has greater capacity means we can be more ‘change ready-and-willing’, more innovative and collaborative, happier and more productive at work.



.Adair Jones is a writing and communications expert with 20 years experience in a wide variety of content production. She has worked as a technical writer for industry, produced government tenders, and created promotional materials for clients across all sectors.  As a journalist, Adair contributes regularly to newspapers, magazines and online journals.  In addition, she has experience in academic and creative writing and editing, with a fascination for the human brain in all its manifold aspects. . . .



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2 Responses to “Review: Brain Smart — How to regain focus, manage distractions & achieve more”

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I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting
my own weblog and was wondering what all is needed to
get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost
a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% sure.
Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

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