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The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload Paperback – September 1, 2015
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Smart important and as always exquisitely written Daniel Gilbert author of Stumbling on Happiness Readers of Daniel J Levitins two previous New York Times bestsellers have come to know and trust his unique ability to translate cutting edge neuroscience into an informative and entertaining narrative Now Levitin turns his attention to an issue that affects everyone in the digital age organization Its the reason that some people are more adept than others at managing todays hyper flow of data The Organized Mind explains the science behind their success andwith chapters targeted specifically to business readersshows how all of us can make small but crucial changes to regain mastery over our lives
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This book is huge. At times Levitin may appear longwinded in his narrative—but that’s okay. Trust me. As he unravels the various layers of mental organization, he sidebars into various studies and interesting factoids. At first, you may think Levitin is being ironically unorganized, but later chapters tie it back together. Other times, Levitin may tuck in a brief statement that will cause you tunneling into Google for more information (though many notes for further study are linked at the rear of the book).
Levitin differs himself from Kahneman’s THINKING, FAST AND SLOW by saying there are “four components in the human attentional system”: mind wondering mode; central executive mode; attentional filter; and, attentional switch. What mostly comes into play are the first two components. I have some issue for the terminology “mind wondering mode”; I would have liked Levitin to expound more on mindfulness and what component it falls into.
THE ORGANIZED MIND offers more explanation than step-by-step or bulleted technique. I appreciated this approach, feeling it strengthened the technique through knowledge of why it works. Levitin uses the ideas of offloading brain information through index cards, calendaring, contact sheets—much like our mind uses random access memory versus chronological memory. Some of these techniques were explained in the books THE POWER OF FORGETTING and ESSENTIALISM, but not nearly in the depth of knowledge that Levitin offers.
Category management is a huge topic throughout the book: reasonably so. It is one such tool that the recent FLUENT FOREVER book used in learning foreign languages. Levitin continues this insight into everything from organizing our homes to making life-depending healthcare choices. Levitin combines it all together, showing how Highly Successful Persons (HSPs) are able to succeed by naturally using these strategies.
I was pleased to see Levitin address the fundamental need for sleep, exercise, and exposing oneself to nature. These are not just “you should” statements, but as mentioned before, these are well-documented, scientifically-backed recommendations.
There are also sections dealing with procrastination, crowdsourcing, the dangers of multi-tasking and teaching children safe web research, and much more. It all plays into more information than you’ll want, but definitely will include any information you are trying to find or need.
All-in-all, this is a great book that’ll make you think and learn better. Thanks to Dutton for sending this to me for review.
I have MS, and couldn't understand the cognitive disruptions I was increasingly confronted with. Dr. Levin's work has help me so much. His real life examples are very illuminating, even the one that described Donald Trump's "failed" Presidential campaign! Even so, the fact that Donald Trump turned his campaign around and won the election made his argument even stronger, because he was citing Trump's drive and unwillingness to give up, even faced with failure.
If you have any interest in why you are how you are, and what you need to do to get better, this book is for you!
At times, though, the book tends to wander. The Organized Mind doesn’t read like a single text. It is part business book, part decision making book à la Thinking, Fast and Slow, part science/neurology book, and part self-help book. Sure, it’s well written, but I would read twenty interesting pages on how the brain works only to get back to where he left off before. I was left wondering if less would have been more. That is, would a shorter but more focused book worked better? I suspect that the answer is yes.
There’s nothing wrong with The Organized Mind. It’s enjoyable enough. I’d stop short of calling it a must-read, though. This goes double if you’re caught up on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Daniel Kahneman, Daniel Gilbert, and Dan Ariely.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
In the end the book has no clear thesis. It's a meandering trek through the author's mind map on topics more or less related to the words in the title. I doubt very much that the author would suggest that readers organize their own thoughts or lives this way, so it seems strange that that's how he chose to organize his book.