Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD: Founder, Inner Mammal Institute and Author

My name is Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD. I am Professor Emerita of Management at California State University, East Bay. As a teacher and a mom, I was not convinced by prevailing theories of human motivation. Then I learned about the brain chemistry of animals, and everything made sense. I knew this information could help people, so I set about creating resources. I’m thrilled that they’ve helped thousands of people around the world, and have been translated into Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, French and Turkish. Before teaching, I was a United Nations Volunteer in Africa, where I learned about the mammalian custom of bribery. Now I volunteer as a Docent at the Oakland Zoo, where I give family-friendly tours on the social behavior of mammals. I’m a graduate of Cornell and Tufts, and the proud mother of tax-paying adults. And every day I appreciate the similarity between the field notes of a primatologist and the lyrics to a love song. More about me below.

My Goal of the Day: Write the introductory statement for a new project I’ve been planning for a long time; and prepare a list of the people I will send it to.  (But won’t send it until I read it the next morning with fresh eyes. )

My Thought of the Day: It’s ok to ask for what I want and I don’t need to worry about the immediate response.

My Action of the Day: Write in the morning, listen to a webinar at noon, and clear up clutter on my desk, and meet a friend at a happy hour. I don’t think I’ll get through all the clutter.

What do you love most about Your City?

It’s near 70 degrees all year round. That makes it hard to think of anywhere else.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Figs that I pick from neighbors’ trees with gorgonzola cheese. Mmmmmm

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – sleeping

I need a lot of sleep and don’t fight it. Happy chemicals are produced in your sleep.

10:00 AM - thinking about my second cup of tea. Doing my hardest task of the day. I start every day with one difficult challenge and save the next difficult challenge for the next morning. So I don’t drive myself crazy but I know all my hard challenges will get tackled.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

At my desk. Homemade soup. All kinds. I make it myself.

7:00 PM -  replying to emails. I save the “fan mail” for this time because it’s a pleasant task so I can do it when I’m tired.  ( We eat at 6 and my husband cleans up so I’m back at my desk til 8:30!)

Every day from 9-10:30 pm, I watch a movie with my husband. I am effectively sitting in his lap because we sit long-ways on the couch and I lean against him. I think this kind of simple support is what our inner mammal is most longing for and nothing is more soothing. It gives me something to look forward to every day. And I don’t ruin it with violent movies!! And if it’s history with one violent scene, I turn away. No need to wire my brain with such threat messages.

11:00 PM - sleeping or listening to something intended to put me to sleep. Current favorite is “Yes Minister,” an old BBC comedy on YouTube.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Tea. Black loose organic heritage leaves.


On alternate days I have one small coffee and 3 teas.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?


I’m a travel addict

What should everyone try at least once?


It feels great. I go once a month.  

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

A tropical botanical garden. I love tropical flowers and have had to face the fact that the real world isn’t covered with them so I love botanical gardens.

My Deed of the Day: I tried to update my website and had trouble and didn’t get upset about it. I’ll just do start in a simpler way until the fancy way works out.

My Tip of the Day: Nothing is worth getting upset about.

My Pic of the Day: