Theo Compernolle


Prof Dr Theo Compernolle MD. PhD. tis an independent international consultant, executive (team)coach, trainer and key-note speaker.
He consults, teaches and coaches professionals, managers and executives in a wide range of (multi)national companies, professional services firms and training institutions in many different cultures and countries.
He holds these sessions in English, Dutch and French.

He is an adjunct professor at the CEDEP European Centre for Executive Development.
He teaches and coaches in the executive programs of business schools like INSEAD in France and TIASNIMBAS in the Netherlands.

He has held the positions of Suez Chair in Leadership and Personal Development at the Solvay Business School, Adjunct Professor at INSEAD, visiting professor at several business schools and Professor at the Free University of Amsterdam.

As a medical doctor, neuro-psychiatrist, psychotherapist and business consultant, Theo studies research from very different fields including medicine, biology, psychology, neurology, physiology and management. He then burns the midnight oil to integrate this information into a coherent whole and to find simple ways to pass on this knowledge, in a memorable way, to all kinds of professionals. His clients often call his sessions “Science made simple and useful”.

Theo was first drawn into the world of business after the publication of his PhD about stress caused quite a stir in the media.

Since then he has become an expert on the emotional and relational aspects of leadership and enhancing the resilience of executives, executive teams, organizations and families with a business, especially in times of conflict, stress and change.

He has published several non-fiction books and more than a hundred scientific articles. Three of his books ao. "STRESS: FRIEND AND FOE. Vital Stress Management at work and in the family" became bestsellers and long-sellers. He is just finished his latest book “'BRAINCHAINS. Discover your brain to unleash your performance in a hyperconnected multitasking world.” Available from, Createspace or a bookshop near you.

He has also been the director of several inpatient and outpatient departments.

Theo gained a Ph.D. on his research into stress from the University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands). He is certified as a psychotherapist and as medical specialist in neuropsychiatry and psychotherapy. He trained at the universities of Amsterdam (The Ne¬therlands), Leiden (The Netherlands) and Pennsylvania (USA) where he was a fellow. He graduated as a Medical Doctor from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium).

Smashwords Interview

What's the story behind your latest book?
In my teaching, coaching and collaboration with hundreds of professionals I had the impression that the way they use their Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), like email and smartphones, had become very counter-productive: not only undermining the great potential of their brain, but also ruining the very promising synergy between their magnificent brain and their fantastic technology.

Next I dived deep into the research and found out that it was even worse than I expected.

The third step was to find out if this was true for the population of my clients. Therefore I did a survey and 1200 responded, about 50% managers and 50% other professionals. You are probably one of them (thanks!)
Some of you may remember that the results were such that at that point the working title of my book became: “How we unknowingly f***-up our brainwork by being always connected and multitasking”. The title expressed how bad it was.

Then I started asking hundreds of professionals in my workshops and lectures: what is your most important tool to be successful as a professional? 99% answered: my brain!
Next I asked: What do you know about your brain? The answer for 99% was: Basically nothing.
Quite unbelievable that 99% of professionals don’t know anything about their most important tool to be successful: their brain.

The sad result is that a huge majority of knowledge workers, unknowingly, ruin the performance of their magnificent brain, and obstruct the matchless potential of the collaboration between their brain and their ICT.

Therefore I wrote the book "BRAINCHAINS" to help you discover the science about your thinking brain and the very day-to day, down to earth consequences for your intellectual performance. It will help you to unleash the full potential of your brain in a hyperconnected, multitasking world. Taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of your brain you will also get the best results from your brain-ICT synergy.
As a medical doctor, neuropsychiatrist and scholar, with decades of experience in medical schools and business schools in many countries, I am able to integrate science from many domains. For this book I studied over 600 publications and turned this knowledge into an easy readable and practical book.
What is your writing process?
Let's start with what drives me.
> I am driven by curiosity: especially about the modern brainworkers, their intellectual productivity, their life balance, their personalities, their brains, their leaders and their companies.
> I am Passionate about simplicity: burning the midnight oil to get to the essence of what I learn from research and conversations.
> I am Zealous about teaching; transmitting my knowledge in a simple, but not simplistic, lasting and useful way to professionals, students and the public at large.

I am also very suspicious about mere opinions, especially of uninformed people, my own opinions included.

Therefore the first step is always a question, my own or the question of one of the participants in my workshops or lectures.
If I don't really know the answer I will delve in the research literature, sometimes very deep.
Helped by the fact that as a neuropsychiatrist I am trained in very different disciplines like medicine, psychology, biology, physiology, neurology, psychotherapy etc... etc... I then try to integrate the findings in different disciplines to really understand the issue.
Once I think I understood the issue, I further burn the midnight candle to find a way to explain this knowledge into very simple terms, in a text a metaphor, an image, a slide for a presentation, an interview and ultimately in a book. I try to follow the advise of Leonardo da Vinci: Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication.

This process was perfectly described by Steve Jobs:
“If you read the Apple’s first brochure, the headline was ‘Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication.’ What we meant by that was that when you first attack a problem it seems really simple because you don’t understand it. Then when you start to really understand it, you come up with these very complicated solutions because it’s really hairy. Most people stop there. But a few people keep burning the midnight oil and finally understand the underlying principles of the problem and come up with an elegantly simple solution for it. But very few people go the distance to get there”
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Theo Compernolle online

Where to buy in print


“BRAINCHAINS. Discover your brain and unleash its full potential in a hyper-connected multitasking world” is a comprehensive book describing some basic scientific facts about the functioning of our brain and how to apply this knowledge to become more intellectually productive and creative and have less stress. This book became the start of a series of books and booklets, each of them aiming at specific audiences such as architects, facilities managers, teachers, parents of adolescents, adolescents and students.


How to Design Brain-friendly Flexible Offices. Based on Science, Not on Opinions
Series: BRAINCHAINS. Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 23,780. Language: English. Published: January 28, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Art, Architecture, Photography » Architecture, Nonfiction » Psychology » Industrial & organizational psychology
Because modern zoo-directors know more about the inborn needs of their animals, than company-directors about the innate needs of people; the cages in modern zoos are better for animals, than modern offices for people. This book summarizes the basic research every manager with a responsibility for people or offices should know, to avoid ruining the intellectual performance of their employees.
How to Unchain Your Brain. In a Hyper-connected Multitasking World.
Series: BRAINCHAINS. Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 14,720. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Life Sciences / Neuroscience, Nonfiction » Psychology » Industrial & organizational psychology
This brief and crisp summary of the comprehensive book “BrainChains” explains the minimum you need to know about your brain, to get the best from your brain and your technology and become measurably more productive, more creative, in less time and with less stress. Its practical advice, based on hundreds of research publications, is summarized in five BrainChains and five BrainChain-breakers.
The Open Office Is Naked
Price: Free! Words: 23,670. Language: English. Published: February 12, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Psychology » Industrial & organizational psychology, Nonfiction » Art, Architecture, Photography » Architecture
The cages in modern zoos are better for animals, than modern offices for people, because ZOO-directors know more about inborn needs of animals, than company-directors about the innate needs of people. Result: offices where people suffer from less productivity, less creativity, less (!) communication, more stress. Hence, these cheap offices are very expensive. Book based on extensive research
“BRAINCHAINS. Discover your brain and unleash its full potential in a hyperconnected multitasking world”
Series: BRAINCHAINS. Price: $24.99 USD. Words: 170,410. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Psychology » Applied psychology, Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / Success
What is your most important tool to be successful? Your brain! What do you know about your brain? Nothing. The result: you unknowingly ruin your performance and obstruct its synergy with your ICT-tools such as your email and phone. In "BRAINCHAINS" you discover your brain, to unleash its full potential in a hyperconnected, multitasking world and to get the best results from your brain-ICT synergy

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