About The Leading Brain

Powerful Science-Based Strategies for Achieving Peak Performance

Effective leadership is no longer an age-old art. It's an exciting new science.

Thanks to breathtaking breakthroughs in neuroscience, we don't need to merely speculate on the behavior of our brains. We can actually watch them in action. What we've learned has the potential to radically change the way we lead and succeed.

In its nine chapters, The Leading Brain takes you on a journey that starts with using brain science to consistently achieve individual peak performance and concludes by helping you apply these findings to create high-performing teams.

  • Chapter 1, "Find Your Sweet Spot," provides the ingredients for the neurochemical cocktail that produces peak performance.
  • Chapter 2, "Regulate Your Emotions," explores the X factor that can make or break that performance.
  • Chapter 3, "Sharpen Your Focus," offers a brain-based solution for a growing problem, effectively maintaining and sustaining your attention in a world awash in information overload.
  • Chapter 4, "Manage Habits," shows you how to gain an upper hand on adopting good routines and eliminating bad ones.
  • Chapter 5, "Unleash Your Unconscious," takes things an exciting step further, by tapping into the impressive strength and efficiency of a part of your brain that, by definition, you are unaware of.
  • Chapter 6, "Foster Learning," introduces the exciting concept of neuroplasticity, which shows how you can keep rewiring your brain and improving your abilities throughout your entire life.
  • Chapter 7, "Thrive on Diversity" redefines what diversity means, maps out the brain chemicals that make people different, and offers ways to assemble the best combinations of coworkers.
  • Chapter 8 "Cultivate Trust," focuses in one of the most important and yet largely underappreciated aspects of effective teams and outlines the crucial levers that can draw people together or drive them apart.
  • And, finally, Chapter 9, "Develop the Team of the Future," shows you how to do just that. It explores the science behind finding and training top talent and provides the factors that can enable teams to achieve a remarkable level of energy, productivity, and satisfaction.

Praise for The Leading Brain

An exciting, pragmatic journey through the fascinating workings of our minds and motivations. Managers who read The Leading Brain are sure to find a wealth of insights and strategies that they can easily and intuitively apply in the workplace. This one book could significantly change your leadership style.

— Malte Siewert, co-founder and managing director, trivago

Concrete, energetic, and accessible, this is a must-read for anyone who takes a science-backed approach to business.

— Publishers Weekly

The Leading Brain is the best integration of neuroscience and leadership that I have ever seen.

— Dr. Jonathan Schooler, Neuroscientist and Professor at UC Santa Barbara

Having worked closely with Friederike in the past, I am pleased that The Leading Brain applies her outstanding expertise in neuropsychology to meet the tough, real-world challenges that today's business leaders face. The fact that this book's goal is to create a better, more ethical working world makes it especially compelling for me.

— Wolf Singer, MD., Ph.D., Director emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research

What an interesting and helpful book. Fabritius and Hagemann have introduced the most important findings of modern neuroscience to the business community —offering us a host of new skills to excel at work, and even with friends and family. It's highly original, remarkably informative and insightful, even humorous in many spots. I am so happy to have read it! You will be too.

—  Helen Fisher, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, The Kinsey Institute and bestselling author of Anatomy of Love

The Leading Brain covers a vast array of fascinating topics, such as habit formation, emotional regulation, intuition, and optimal decision making. There are tons of useful strategies in this book that you can apply to your life and your work right away!

— Scott Barry Kaufman, co-author, Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind

The Leading Brain is as insightful as it is accessible. In teaching us how our brain works, we are in the advantageous position of making our brains work better. This book is a must read for anyone who is a leader, will be a leader -- or even for those being led.

— Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Insights and Applied Improvisation - The Second City

Really enjoyable and informative. Covers much of what I teach my students, that they must take command of their own psychological machinery to be successful in any endeavor. I hope to incorporate many of the lessons in my lectures and recommend the book to my students.

— Ken Singer, Managing Director, Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, UC Berkeley

Amusing and inspiring. Most of the books in this domain explain behavioral patterns by using observation and experimentation…Looking at these phenomena through the lens of neuroscience definitely adds plausibility to the picture. I found The Leading Brain to be very well written and, for me, it was indeed a page-turner.

— Marcus Krug, Head of SAP Intrapreneurship, SAP AG

The book is fantastic! Well-written, good examples, excellent structure. And, unlike so many business books, which can be an ordeal to get through, The Leading Brain also has a fine sense of humor. Reading it produces the very feeling of “flow” that the authors describe so well.

— Matthias Hohensee, Silicon Valley bureau chief, Wirtschaftswoche

Very good, extremely helpful, great examples, a must-read.

— Klaus Poggemann, Head of Legal, apoBank

Real leadership begins and ends in the brain. Science has changed the world throughout the ages and thanks to this book, it can finally change leadership for the good of mankind.

— Liam Condon, member, board of management, Bayer AG, and CEO, Bayer Crop Science

Breathtaking. It’s both a lecture on modern sciences and kind of a thriller. I’ve never read a book on management so fast.

— Peter Gerber, CEO, Lufthansa Cargo

Excerpt from The Leading Brain

LEADERSHIP has long been treated as an art, a fuzzy philosophy based more on fads than on facts. That accounts for the endless stream of “game-changing” management books that seem to come and go almost as rapidly as Paris fashions. It also explains why today’s leadership guru, so much in demand, is often tomorrow’s forgotten footnote.

But effective leadership isn’t an art. It’s a science. It shouldn’t be dependent on buzzwords or slogans. It should be based on a bedrock foundation of our understanding of the brain. The ways we act, react, and interact are all products of distinct cognitive processes. What motivates us, what bores us, how we respond to threats and rewards, both as individuals and groups, are dependent on the elaborate and seemingly miraculous neuronal networks that operate just behind our foreheads and above our ears.

Until recently, the brain was sort of a black box. Much of what went on inside it was a mystery. But thanks to breakthroughs in neuroscience, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, we no longer have to merely speculate on the behavior of our brains. We can actually watch them in action. What we’ve learned from rigorous scientific studies has the potential to radically change the way we lead and succeed.

Suddenly, news about neuroscience is booming. What’s been known and discussed at the laboratory level for years is finally making its way into best-selling books. Nearly everyone it seems is curious to learn more about how our brains work and what that knowledge can do to improve life both at home and at work.

It hasn’t always been that way. Just a few years ago, when one of us was working at a big traditional management consultancy, nobody there seemed the least bit interested to hear about neuroscience. This lack of enthusiasm worked both ways. When we asked some leading brain researchers to look for business applications for their findings, most of them seemed either unwilling or unable to search for any links.

As a result, when we rst started to integrate these exciting discoveries into business seminars and coaching sessions, we were among just a handful of consultants who were making this crucial connection. After presenting our brain-based business approach to companies all over the world, the response we received from senior executives was almost uniformly enthusiastic.

Given the audience, this was surprising and extremely rewarding. After all, senior executives can be a pretty tough crowd. They are often understandably skeptical about coaching and leadership development because they perceive these fields as too “soft.” Our science-based approach really filled a gap. It has been amazing and highly gratifying to witness the positive transformation of individuals and organizations since we started applying the knowledge from cutting-edge research and establishing what in retrospect seems like a natural bridge between neuroscience and business. Clients who have attended our seminars have described them as “highly applicable” and even “life-changing.”

One question we were asked over and over again at the end of our seminars was whether we could recommend a businessworld-compatible book that elaborated on the neuroscience topics we discussed in our presentations. At the time we were unable to recommend such a book. But now we can.

In its nine chapters, The Leading Brain takes you on a journey that starts with using brain science to consistently achieve individual peak performance and concludes by helping you apply these findings to create high-performing teams.

Excerpted with permission from The Leading Brain: Powerful Science-Based Strategies for Achieving Peak Performance by Friederike Fabritius, M.S. and Hans W. Hagemann, Ph.D. © 2017 by Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann. TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.