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124 of 132 people found the following review helpful
This is an unusual book. It's thesis is that in order to be organized you don't start with decluttering or straightening your desk or managing your time or any other practical act. Their argument is that an organized mind leads to an organized life. I absolutely applaud this approach because I think much of the time management / productivity / organization / minimalism movements have lost sight of the forest by concentrating on individual trees.

The book is well organized (it better be!) and interesting. The authors have distilled a lot of research and science into 6 rules:

Tame the Frenzy
Sustain Attention
Apply the Brakes
Mold Information
Shift Sets
Connect the Dots

I thought this was very well done and informative. If put to use I think these rules would be very effective in helping one organize their minds and their lives better. I felt calm, organized, and effective just by reading it.

The book has two authors, one a psychiatrist with a really good grasp of neuroscience Paul Hammerness and the other a well qualified life coach Margaret Moore. Each chapter is broken down into two main parts. The first part is an explanation of the scientific concepts and research by Hammerness and the second part is instruction in practical application by Moore.

I thought the presentation of the ideas by Hammerness were excellent. The practical tips for change presented by Moore were pretty good but I think they fell a little short. This is my only complaint of the book and it is mostly just a feeling having finished it. I allow that this might just be a personal preference of mine in that I am endlessly fascinated by the science of the mind and a little tired of "self-helpy" narratives. That said I have no problem recommending this book for anyone who feels overwhelmed or disorganized or just plain stuck and ineffective. It is well done.
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103 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2012
I agree with the reviewer who said it focuses on the problem, not the solutions. Solutions are vague, buried in anecdotes, and more platitudes than concrete steps. As well the tone is...jovially condescending. I felt like I was being scolded throughout it. The authors have a valid point, but if you're looking for evidence-based strategies to learn how to focus, this is not the book. Weirdly it struck me as verbose and disorganized.

Get Find Your Focus Zone: An Effective New Plan to Defeat Distraction and Overload and The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It instead.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2012
This book had a lot of potential. It is based on the premise that everyone who has trouble with organization can benefit from strategies designed for people with ADHD. Despite this, while I do have ADHD, it became clear quickly on that the target audience is a person who has trouble in one or a few areas.

The introduction was frustrating, as the same information was hashed out over and over again. When you're dealing with distracted people, this is not a good technique. I found myself having to reread the same page on more than one occasion. The remainder of the book focused on six "rules" to get your life in better order. While some of the anecdotes were helpful, I felt that the gems of the book could have been condensed into a six page magazine article.

My other major annoyance was that it almost solely focused on people working out of the home who can effectively tune out distractions. I'm a stay at home mom who is in the process of starting a business out of my home, and my distractions (in the form of two small children) cannot and should not be ignored. When coupled with my true blue ADHD, many of the suggestions were outright laughable.

Was it a waste of time? No...but it was hard for me to get through, and I ended up skimming after a while, because it was just too repetitive.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2012
I was born curious and always search for ways to improve. A friend of mine highly recommended this Organize Your Mind book. As I glanced down the list of rules in the table of contents, I smiled when I spotted the one rule that continues to give me trouble..."Tame the Frenzy". I read with great interest about how emotions "interfere" with focus and organization and learned new strategies for creating an inter calm.

I particularly appreciated discovering how to chart weekly stress patterns to identify times when I am out of control so that I can put my new approaches into action.

While reading this book, I also noted the rules which I have under control. I'm now more aware when using my skills for those situations. I've recommended this book to many friends and family who definitely require better ways manage their professional and personal lives since their disorganization impacts so many people around them including me!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2012
The other reviews are correct in that there is not a bunch of quick fixes on how to be better focused in this book. Instead, it requires some bigger, over-arching changes to your life. As a result of this book, I have given up coffee. The book doesn't make you give up coffee. I just happen to be a coffee junky and learned through this book that my constant highs followed by lows from caffeine were not helping me towards my goal of focusing at work. In the place of coffee, I now relax before my bed time (yes, I try to go to bed at the same time each night now) and get a good nights sleep. I exercise more regularly and take yoga once a week to clear my mind, and as a result I have lost 10 pounds (but this is NOT a weight loss book). The point is this book will make you take a hard look at your day and the choices you make, and you will start to make some better choices in your life towards your ultimate goal of an organized mind as well as a better life. I recommend this book to everyone.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This book's central theme was supposed to be new brain studies resulting in new recommendations for organizing techniques.

As someone with ADHD, I am always happy to learn new techniques to manage it, but this book surprised me, and not in a good way. It is very wordy. It is poorly organized -- each point is buried under a pile of anecdotes. The ratio of anecdotes to helpful techniques is about 20 to 1.

The book has a lot of platitudes, covering suggestions already mentioned in many other books on getting better organized and on positive thinking -- I saw almost nothing that was new. The prose is very jumpy in the coaching sections -- literally jumps from topic to topic.

Many of the suggestions are either too vague, jumbled or recommended activities that are difficult for ADHD people.

Other pieces of advice are directives that aren't useful for ADHD people -- example: a messy desk is bad for you, so you should clean it. If people with ADHD could do these things easily, they wouldn't be buying this book in search of help.

I became so exasperated that I didn't even finish the book, which is very rare. I will read the dullest books on ADHD and attempt to harvest precious help. But this book was written so poorly -- it cried out for an editor -- that I found it distracting to read.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2013
After reading a professional review, I was excited to dig into this book. It was disappointing to discover that the book is written with rambling stories of individuals with extreme organizational problems that seem to resolve with minor advice. Although the book references ADHD often, it claims to help those with or without ADHD. There were few helpful tips in the book that would apply to someone without ADHD.

The boom is co-written by a psychiatrist and a life coach and breaks down issues and solutions into 6 categories:
Tame the Frenzy
Sustain Attention
Apply the Brakes
Mold Information
Shift Sets
Connect the Dots

Unfortunately, most sections offer more academic research on how the brain processes information and few actual improvement tips.

The concept of this book was so promising, but the execution wasn't worth the read.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2013
First of all, this book says it is for people with or without ADHD. I have ADHD, and I so desperately wanted to add some new tools to my toolbag - but unfortunately I was left hanging. I read less than halfway through, which took great effort for me, and finally gave up. The way this book is written and organized made it so difficult to read, I am still not sure there is any actual information in it... I couldn't piece together what the point was. I kept reading, hoping I'd find something that made sense or something of value. It just never happened. I feel robbed of my time and my hope for help has been diminished by reading this book. If you have ADHD, don't waste your time on this book,it's worthless. I gave two stars because maybe this can help someone without ADHD (????)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2012
Use the Latest Science to Organize your Mind
Jill was a patient of Dr. Hammerness who was plagued by the consequences of her disorganization and forgetfulness. She was helped by the creation of a launch pad, where she could empty her pockets upon arriving, and find her keys when she was preparing to leave the apartment. This was example of the application of simple principles.

In Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain to Get More Done in Less Time. Paul Hammerness, MD, a Harvard Psychiatrist and Margaret Moore, an Executive Coach authored this guide to curing Mental Distractions and much more. John Hanc also contributed as a coauthor (though his contribution might have been as an editor, because there was no visible footprint in the reading).

The approach taken suits the expertise of both Hammerness and Moore. The steps to getting control of our crazy life are introduced as Rules of Order as explained below:

Tame the Frenzy - Acknowledge and manage emotions
Sustain Attention - Maintain Focus and ignore distractions
Apply the Brakes - Inhibit or stop actions or thoughts, when appropriate
Mold Information - Capitalize on working memory to focus, analyze and process
Shift Sets - Nimbly move from one task or thought to another (NOT multitask)
Connect the Dots - Bring together and apply all the rules.

Each section covers one of the Rules. It starts with a case study of some one struggling with the mentioned principle and reviews the latest science about brain structure and behavior as relates to the principle. Finally Moore calls upon her experience as a professional coach in helping people make the necessary changes.

This approach seems in line with recent self help books that reference the latest brain science. The recent progress in brain imaging has been remarkable and seems to do a lot to explain more about why we act as we do. There are references included in the back of this book that allow the reader to probe deeper, though the number of references seem a little light for a book of this scope.

There are good ideas shared by Moore to implement change, but the connection between the science and rules seems a little contrived. As if the book started with the rules and then the science was added to give it credibility, or to make it an interesting read. "Mold Information" was an example of a concept that did not completely make sense to me. The case study is of a man who is very busy, but suffers from forgetfulness, and the section concentrates on Working Memory, but does not fully make the connection between that and Mold Information. The science referred to is gone over very lightly and includes mention of a Japanese study about the plasticity of the brain, but offers few details about it. The tips in Meg's section make good sense and are worth considering.

I like one piece of guidance given for the Rule "Sustain Attention". We are encouraged to look at the moments in life where we are in Flow. We need to analyze what is it that causes the Peak Attention at that moment. Maybe it is when we are addressing our specific strengths. She recommends taking a strengths assessment if we have not already. Such as :

viacharacter.org
strengthfinder.com
strengths2020.com

She gives some tips to convert regular moments into flow activities.

The section of Mold Info also has some good ideas where work by Dr. Marie Pasinski author of Beautiful Brain, Beautiful You: Look Radiant from the Inside Out by Empowering Your Mind is referenced.

The Appendix 2 of Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain to Get More Done in Less Time shares the Top 10 Disorganizational Complaints and their solutions. The solutions are simple and serve as a nice reminder of guidance shared by the book.

I recommend taking a look that this book and its practical guidance to get control of your disorganized mind.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2012
I find it surprising that this book was written in such a boring and repetitive manner since it is targeting those who need help focusing and organizing their minds. The title caught my eye but when I started reading the book, I found it awfully hard absorb the information. You would think these experts would be able to include more point-form notes, infographics, charts, graphs, and sidebars to illustrate their ideas rather than verbose text.
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