Sep, 2021

The Good Gut by Justin Sonnenburg and Erica Sonnenburg

The Big Idea: eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and fermented foods to maintain a healthy microbiome and discourage disease.

  • An unhealthy microbiome is associated with: infant colic, allergies, autism, auto-immune diseases, obesity, depression, schizophrenia, OCD, stroke, heart disease, systemic inflammation, and cancer.
  • Vaginal childbirth is preferable to C-section.
  • Breast milk helps feed an infant’s microbiome.
  • Take antibiotics only when necessary, since they can decimate benefit beneficial gut bacteria.
  • If antibiotics are unavoidable, supplement with probiotics quickly afterwards.
  • Wash children’s hands regularly during flu season.
  • Start each day with kefir or yogurt.
  • Being around dirt, animals and people helps expose us to beneficial microbes.
  • Ease up on the need to sanitize everything.
  • Feed your gut microbiome plenty of dietary fiber.
  • Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  • Limit red meat, which is converted to TMA and TMAO.
  • Limit saturated fat, which feeds pathogenic bacteria.
  • Consume fermented foods for probiotics.
  • Consider following the Mediterrean diet or the traditional Japanese diet.

The Extended Mind by Annie Murphy Paul

The Big Idea: Thinking doesn’t just take place inside the brain; it also takes place outside the brain.

  • When your body (emotions/unconscious mind) is telling you something, listen to it; this is called interoception.
  • Practice meditation to improve your interoception abilities.
  • Regular walks can improve thinking.
  • Physical demonstrations helps students learn abstract concepts better.
  • Gestures can support understanding and learning.
  • Gestures take away cognitive load, so the brain can focus more intently.
  • Spending time in nature improves thinking; take a nature walk to help work out problems.
  • Working in a room with a view improves thinking.
  • Better design (collaborative spaces + quiet spaces, sense of ownership) improves thinking; aka neuroarchitecture.
  • The memory palace technique, concept mapping, and physical models all take advantage of the power of spatial thinking.
  • Imitating experts (apprenticeships) and coaching improves learning.
  • Working in groups improves thinking.
  • Teaching others (eg cascading mentorship) helps you master concepts.
  • Debate and Socratic Method are great tools for teaching and learning.
  • Storytelling is a powerful tool for understanding and remembering.
  • Group mind (collective intelligence) can sometimes be more powerful than individual minds.
  • Synchronized exercise or activity improves cooperation and emotional bonds between individuals.
  • Membership in a group can be a potent form of motivation.
  • Eating meals together improves group cohesion and cooperation.