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Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence Hardcover – October 8, 2013
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Attention is a “little-noticed and underrated mental asset,” sorely tested among modern distractions but essential to success in work, play, relationships, and self-awareness, asserts Goleman, psychologist, journalist, and author of Emotional Intelligence (1995). In fact, the ability to focus, more than IQ or social background, is the key to performance and success. Neuroscience, case studies, and personal experience contribute to Goleman’s exploration of focus, which includes concentration, selective attention, open awareness, self-awareness, empathy, and systems awareness. He breaks them down to inner, other, and outer focus. Among examples of the significance of focus: a doctor’s ability to shut down emotions to focus on gory medical procedures; an epidemiologist’s attention to patterns and systems to track the human connections that lead to global pandemics; and a gamer’s focus on spatial perception, decision making, and ability to track objects. In commerce, education, sports, and personal life, Goleman offers concepts and techniques, including mindfulness and meditation, to train ourselves to be more focused, exercising those areas of the brain involved in focusing attention. An engaging, wide-ranging look at attention and intelligence. --Vanessa Bush
“Daniel Goleman has surpassed himself in the breadth, depth, and readability of this fascinating meditation on what is most important for human, organizational, and planetary flourishing. Focusshows us how to go about paying attention in all the ways that really matter.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and author of Mindfulness for Beginners Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and author of Mindfulness for Beginners Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based St)
“With compelling insights, wide-ranging examples, and cutting-edge science, Daniel Goleman makes the convincing case that the ability to focus is a key to excellence, in both our personal and professional lives-and also explains how to boost that focus.” (Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project)
“Daniel Goleman has written the perfect prescription for today’s deficit of attention in business and life....Highly recommended!” (Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality and author of Peak and Emotional Equations)
“Goleman has provided a highly readable manifesto for turning our smartphones off once in a while.” (Financial Times)
“I’ve been studying attention for more than a decade, but I learned something new on every page of Focus. It is a powerful guide for taking control of our attention and will lead you to nothing less than taking control of your life.” (Tony Schwartz, author of The Power of Full Engagement and CEO of The Energy Project)
“Attention is so important that ordinary people take it for granted, while scientists subject it to microanalysis. Steering deftly between these extremes, Dan Goleman synthesizes what is known and what we need to know.” (Howard Gardner, John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education Howard Garnder, John H. and Elizabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Educati)
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The opening chapters contained the rudiments of correlation to brain areas such as the effects of the amygdala, hypo campus and insula. Having studied these brain regions and the common best understanding, I conclude that he offered facile connections that were unjustified by the current state of the science.
Then, looking at the author's list of books, I came to the personal conclusion that the amount of padding in this book was secondary to an author having used up the stronger material he has and now he is moving to weaker, less well developed ideas that are really not justified.
Goleman is the leading global teacher in emotional intelligence, but also in holistic leadership development. Leaders' attention determines the course of their organizations. People make decisions to align with in the attention span of their leaders. It is a leader's task to consistently direct other's attention.
With this book he brings three areas of focus to the fore, which he understands as : inner- (emotional self awareness) other -( social intelligence, reading atmosphere of teams, body language, listening first ) and outer- (systems intelligence, environmental understanding and long term thinking) attention.
What I missed in the book was very practical exercizes for attention keeping. Goleman did however draw on the effect of mindfulness and body breathing, but I think a practical handbook for each chapter could serve a coach/ leader well.
His resources at the end is good for follow up.
I agree and laughed with the reviewer who pointed out that for a book on Focus, this book wanders. To be honest I didn't take time think through how I might have re-organized the presentation for better results -- so maybe it could be better organized and maybe not. Nonetheless, the approach to the subject was still interesting and the vignettes on point and instructive.
I ESPECIALLY recommend this book for all teachers and any parents of ADD children. However, I also recommend it to all readers. I will be looking at this author's other works.