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Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence Paperback – May 5, 2015
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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Daniel Goleman has surpassed himself in the breadth, depth, and readability ofthis fascinating meditation on what is most important for human, organizational, andplanetary flourishing. Focusshows us how to go about paying attention in all the ways that really matter.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reductionand author of Mindfulness for BeginnersJon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reductionand author of Mindfulness for BeginnersJon 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 Cognitionand Education at the Harvard Graduate School of EducationHoward Garnder, John H. and Elizabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Educati)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
You may remember Goleman as the author of the huge 1995 bestseller, Emotional Intelligence, which taught us all that psychological factors other than IQ were better predictors of success on the job and in life. Goleman was trained as a psychologist but soon after his post-doctoral studies turned his hand to science journalism, writing about new developments in brain science and related topics for The New York Times for a dozen years and later turning to writing independently. Over the years, he has shifted back and forth from teaching and research to science writing and back again. To date, he has produced ten books. Focus is the most recent.
I vividly remember devouring Emotional Intelligence much as I would a compelling murder mystery. The book was a revelation. Focus falls far short of it. To begin with, the book’s central theme — that focused attention improves outcomes in daily life, in work, in sports, and in leadership — is no surprise at all. Many others have delivered this message over the millennia, from the yoga masters of India to Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, who introduced us to the concept of “flow” – the single-minded immersion that, like Goleman’s focus, enables peak performance. No doubt, Goleman’s new book updates the brain science underlying these concepts, but his repeated overuse of the anatomical labels for obscure regions of the brain would have been better suited for a professional audience rather than the general reader.
The author’s academic posturing aside, I found Focus fascinating when Goleman described the application of contemporary psychological tools to pre-school and primary education. (Parents with children in school today may find this subject all too familiar; I didn’t.) The extraordinary improvement in school performance brought about by exercises in mindfulness was startling news. And the application of similar training methods in various aspects of emotional intelligence yielded similarly impressive results in the workplace, boosting job performance, job satisfaction, and workforce morale. Clearly, there’s something truly significant going on here. I just wish Goleman had found a way to report it in a more accessible and congenial way.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like this more of some of his other stuff.Read more