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A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.Albert Einstein

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The Leading Brain

The Leading Brain

Draw on the teachings of neuroscience to perform better.

Author(s): Friederike Fabritius, Hans W. Hagemann

Publisher: TarcherPerigee

Date of publication: 2017

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This book proposes a good synthesis of the different areas in which neuroscience can help us become more productive in our daily professional lives.

For example, it shows how we can act to better regulate our emotional spikes, or even how we can develop our attention and concentration capabilities. We can thus learn how to anchor new habits to replace the habits that are no longer relevant.

The chapter on the use of the subconscious is particularly relevant for leaders who need to make decisions rapidly and in complex situations. It shows how we can use our intuition and increase its reliability. We do not always dare to trust it and would never admit using it to make high-impact decisions. Yet, intuition is probably more reliable than a logical reasoning that is often tainted by cognitive biases! We often underestimate the mass of past experiences that enable us to take shortcuts when making decisions. Forcing ourselves to think in a less abstract manner and to focus our attention on how our body feels helps us make reliable intuitive decisions, provided we have a solid expertise in the field under consideration. Conversely, in areas with which we are less familiar, using our intuition would be equivalent to a risky gamble…

The following chapters address anchoring learning, the importance of trust and the assets of profiles’ diversity. On this latter point, the authors notably rely on a typology of personalities according to the major biochemical systems: each of us is more sensitive to one or two biochemical factors whether dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin or testosterone. This influences our behavior, our preferences and our modus operandi. An increasing number of companies rely on this typology to help their staff function better both as individuals and within a team.

This book is very concrete, didactic without being boring and very relevant for the professional environment. Without being technical, it does require some knowledge on the functioning of the brain, as the explanations provided are rather synthetic.