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The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload Paperback – Illustrated, September 1, 2015
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“From how not to lose your keys to how to decide when the risks of surgery are worth it, Levitin focuses on smart ways to process the constant flow of information the brain must deal with.”—The Washington Post
“[M]ore than a self-help book...Levitin's insights into sleep, time, socializing and decision-making are profound.”—San Jose Mercury News
“[An] ingenious combination of neuroscience and self-help.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Dan Levitin has more insights per page than any other neuroscientist I know. The Organized Mind is smart, important, and as always, exquisitely written.”—Daniel Gilbert, Harvard University, author of Stumbling on Happiness
“Combine genuine knowledge and scholarship with plain common sense and what do you get? A book that is really worth reading: Dan Levitin’s The Organized Mind.”—The Honorable George P. Shultz, 60th U. S. Secretary of State
“There are surprising parallels between Levitin’s work and mine. Today’s environment in war, business, and just about everything else has increased in speed and complexity to the point where the essential quality required for success is adaptability. The Organized Mind provides the latest neuroscience on cognitive adaptability and how to apply it to so that leaders can excel. It is a tremendous achievement, and a must read for leaders at every level.”—General Stanley McChrystal, U. S. Army (ret.)
“A brilliant and engaging book about the science of thinking. The Organized Mind provides the tools that we all need to understand and manage the deluge of information that assaults us every day.”—Jerome Groopman, MD and Pamela Hartzband, MD, Harvard Medical School, authors of Your Medical Mind
“A profound piece of work. Levitin documents the mismatch between our narrow bandwidth hunter-gatherer minds and the multitasking chaos of today’s world. He even shows us how to stay sane in environments that are constantly tempting us to stretch ourselves hopelessly thin.”—Philip E. Tetlock, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
“An erudite synthesis of Levitin’s own contributions, recent advances in our understanding of attention and memory, and a deep perspective on the ways the human mind works.”—Stanley Prusiner, M.D. Nobel Laureate, director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of California, San Francisco
“Daniel Levitin’s book follows in the ancient tradition of knowledge as a guide to a better life. Discover the creative power of organized thought, whether you are a writer or a scientist, a disorganized mess or a super robot seeking new frontiers of effectiveness.”—Eric Kaplan, co-executive producer and writer, The Big Bang Theory, writer, The Simpsons and Flight of the Conchords
“An eloquent spokesperson for our field. Levitin writes about the brain with an ease and familiarity that is captivating.”—The late David Hubel, Nobel Laureate in honor of discoveries concerning information processing in the human visual system
“Fascinating...Combing neuroscience and cognitive psychology, the Organized Mind underscores the critical importance of individuals taking charge of their own attentional and memory systems so they can lead optimally productive and satisfying lives. Invaluable insights are offered with regard to organizing our homes, social world, time, decision-making, and business world.”—Nadine J. Kaslow, Ph.D., president of the American Psychological Association and professor and vice chair, Emory University School of Medicine
“This book is far more than tips on how to think clearly and manage information overload. It is also a tour through some of the most exciting aspects of contemporary neuroscience and cognitive science, with a specific emphasis on implications for everyday life. Anyone who has ever wondered about the mind will find much that is fascinating and useful in these pages.”—Stephen Kosslyn, dean, Minerva Schools of Arts and Sciences at the Keck Graduate Institute, former chair, department of psychology, Harvard University
“Running a major PBS television series on tight budgets and turnarounds requires organization and efficiency and sometimes a little magic too. Levitin’s behind the curtain peek at the brain’s inner workings of decision-making provides that extra bit of magic—and would make a fascinating documentary in and of itself!”—Pamela Hogan, Emmy award-winning Producer for PBS
“In the age of TMI, we all need better organized minds. With characteristically clear prose and scientific insight, Dan Levitin gives us tips on how to get or mental closets in order. I really enjoyed this book.”—Joseph LeDoux, Center for Neural Science, New York University
“Dan Levitin has done it again. Having explained music and the brain, now he shows us the best, most effective ways to organize the rest of our life by giving us key insights into how the brain works. His style is so appealing, his knowledge so deep and practical, that we learn, from The Organized Mind, not only why we do what we do, but how, potentially, we can run our lives more smoothly, efficiently, and even happily.”—Cathy N. Davidson, director, The Futures Initiative, City University of New York
“Using the latest information on the brain and how it works, Levitin presents a series of ideas on how to organize one's life and business. Essential reading for anyone who aspires to be highly effective. Or even find their keys!”—David Eidelman, MD, dean of the McGill University Medical School
“The Organized Mind reads like a movie— not the dry tome you might expect. It’s an exciting tour through the science of productivity and how to best manage your thinking to get things done—and be more creative at the same time.”—David Allen, author of Getting Things Done
About the Author
- ASIN : 0147516315
- Publisher : Dutton; Illustrated edition (September 1, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 544 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780147516312
- ISBN-13 : 978-0147516312
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 1.19 x 5.26 x 7.95 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #13,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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adds the equivalent of a Wired article on top of the knowledge already in TF&S and Flow.
In the end I got a lot out of this book and it’s going to change how I organize my day to day life. I’m a freelancer(ultimately I’m my own boss) and how I organize my time impacts how much money I take home. Ironically, this book could have been better organized. The author goes on a ton of tangents and the editor should have reigned him in more, but for me it was still worth the read. I rec the kindle version so you can make highlights(and the hardback version is comically large). I hope another author writes a book tackling the issue of staying on task in the Information Age. Social media platforms are designed to distract us and I don't think we are going to make any huge advancements as a species if we’re constantly checking our Twitter feeds.
Levitin puts words to my thoughts about modern society - one thing that struck me was his explanation of record collections and how they've been replaced by mp3's. He writes nostalgically about how the record collection used to be a reflection of the owner's personal interests and taste in music, and how it was a collated collection. He writes about how mp3's have replaced the record collection and that since the cost of mp3's is much lower than records and the physical space taken up by an mp3 is nonexistent (save for the device it is carried on), the threshold for someone to add a song to their 'collection' is much lower and people consume music in a much more ephemeral way. While I am of the age group that didn't really grow up on records, I can sort of relate as a child of the "mix CD" era and then later the "iPod/Zune era" which was replaced by the "iPhone/multimedia device" era and now the streaming era. In each subsequent phase, the idea and soul behind a music collection has been diluted from 'owning '(if you can ever own music) a record or song in a physical form, to having a digital file which served as a surrogate, and now to subscribing to a digital service where songs may be added to your playlist or are selected for you based on your preferences. I've had difficulty articulating/defending my fondness for my beloved Zune (which I kept from 2007-2014 until the screen finally shattered from an accidental drop) and now my iPod which serves the sole purpose of carrying my music and nothing else. I relish the idea of my music in one simple storage device, which may not sound convenient but from a neural perspective makes sense in that I use it if and only if I'm listening to music, and I do not use my other computers or devices to listen to music.
I also liked the tips in the book about how to organize oneself and the flashcard method of writing tasks down on a flashcard and flipping through them daily to see what needs to be done was appealing to me. In my profession as with many, there's an endless list of to-do's which pile up and can often be forgotten if they aren't immediately written down.
My only criticism of the book was that it sometimes uses a lot of medical terminology that can be confusing to the layperson. I'm a neurologist-in-training, so I found it to be right up my alley but I did notice that Levitin uses a lot of medical terms (ie., epigenetic, GABA) without always explaining through them.
However, overall, this was a thought provoking and fascinating book about how the brain processes information and how to best utilize our most powerful tool to focus on important information and tune out the noise.
Ironically, the greatest flaw in the book is its organization - paragraphs and sections seem to just flow into each other, like a stream of consciousness. If only the author more carefully organized the sections according to ideas or other schemes, then it would have been easier to find topics later, and to know what to expect from each chapter. Instead, it seems a bit like a literary junk drawer.
Top reviews from other countries
There seems to be no real flow or structure to the chapters. Instead page after page is filled with slightly patronising and endless examples that end up making you ask yourself what was the chapter about in the first place.
If I’m going to review a book based on the very purpose of what it is designed to achieve and educate the reader with, this is possibly the worst book I’ve ever read.
Completely ‘overloads’ you with information that could be more to the point, and funnily enough, is not at all organised.
Sometimes it is a neuroscience textbook, talking about aspects of the brain and experiments in the field. Other times it is a self help book, telling you how to buy clothes.
It is still worth a read as there is lots of good content, but be aware that the links between the sections may catch you by surprise.
1. His bizarre use of the letters CE to denote a period in history.. (Does this mean AD or BC? Why use it anyway having made the conservative suggestion we use the markets that have already been laid down (in this case for centuries) and given most people will find CE indecipherable?
2. His suggestion that the Latin salutation "Ave" is "English*!