The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson was a very worthwhile read on brain functionality. It’s geared towards parents dealing with kids, but there’s equally valuable information on how to deal with other adults. The book combs through lots of examples of how to stimulate children’s brain development which I definitely intend to incorporate into my parenting regime.
One example is how kids can get stuck where only their amygdala is controlling their brain functionality due to stressful situations. To get people out of this thought process, you have to appeal to the right (emotional) brain first, then talk to the left (logical) brain.
I actually used the book’s techniques with an adult customer who was having a frustrating experience. This gal was very smart, one of the smartest I’ve worked with, and had just complained that Excel crashed (the software I consult for works as an add-in for Excel). She was pretty emotionally angry, slamming down her pen, and saying, “it’s locked up and going to crash.”
I went and took a look, and I noticed she had at least 20 workbooks open, many with over a dozen tabs and exceeding 5 megabytes in size. Given her machine, this was a colossal amount of memory to be using, and it was not at all surprising that her machine crashed. She was smart enough to know this, but her right brain anger was chocking off her logical thought process.
Had I tried to speak directly with her left brain bu saying something like, “You have way too many files open, silly!” I’m pretty sure she would have gotten more defensive and angry. Instead, I tried to talk with her right brain, so I hit some keys on her keyboard too, expressed frustration, told a small story where I also got upset losing some work and just echoed empathy for her frustrating experience.
Predictably, she calmed down, and eventually her left brain began to function again and she said, “you know, it probably didn’t help that I had 20 workbooks open….” Magic!
My only complaint was that this book was that it could have been condensed. Like many books, it seemed like it was flushed out to be longer just in effort to sell. I also didn’t enjoy this book as an audiobook. Even though it was performed enjoyably by the authors, the book referenced charts and graphs to a point where it became a little annoying to listen to.