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Rapt: Attention and the Focused Lifeby Winifred Gallagher
Synopses & Reviews
Winifred Gallagher revolutionizes our understanding of attention and the creation of the interested life
In Rapt, acclaimed behavioral science writer Winifred Gallagher makes the radical argument that the quality of your life largely depends on what you choose to pay attention to and how you choose to do it. Gallagher grapples with provocative questionsaCan we train our focus? Whatas different about the way creative people pay attention? Why do we often zero in on the wrong factors when making big decisions, like where to move?adriving us to reconsider what we think we know about attention.
Gallagher looks beyond sound bites on our proliferating BlackBerries and the increased incidence of ADD in children to the discoveries of neuroscience and psychology and the wisdom of home truths, profoundly altering and expanding the contemporary conversation on attention and its power. Scienceas major contribution to the study of attention has been the discovery that its basic mechanism is an either/or process of selection. That we focus may be a biological necessitya research now proves we can process only a little information at a time, or about 173 billion bits over an average lifeabut the good news is that we have much more control over our focus than we think, which gives us a remarkable yet underappreciated capacity to influence our experience. As suggested by the expression apay attention, a this cognitive currency is a finite resource that we must learn to spend wisely. In Rapt, Gallagher introduces us to a diverse cast of charactersaartists and ranchers, birders and scientistsawho have learned to do just that and whose stories are profound lessons in the art of living the interested life. No matter what your quotient of wealth, looks, brains, or fame, increasing your satisfaction means focusing more on what really interests you and less on what doesnat. In asserting its groundbreaking thesisathe wise investment of your attention is the single most important thing you can do to improve your well-beingaRapt yields fresh insights into the nature of reality and what it means to be fully alive.
Acclaimed behavioral-science writer Gallagher makes the radical argument that the quality of a life largely depends on what and how one chooses to pay attention. "Rapt" yields fresh insights into the nature of reality and what it means to be fully alive.
A revolutionary look at how what we pay attention to determines how we experience life
Acclaimed behavioral science writer Winifred Gallagher's Rapt makes the radical argument that much of the quality of your life depends not on fame or fortune, beauty or brains, fate or coincidence, but on what you choose to pay attention to. Rapt introduces a diverse cast of characters, from researchers to artists to ranchers, to illustrate the art of living the interested life. As their stories show, by focusing on the most positive and productive elements of any situation, you can shape your inner experience and expand your world. By learning to focus, you can improve your concentration, broaden your inner horizons, and most important, feel what it means to be fully alive.
About the Author
Winifred Gallagher’s books include House Thinking, Just the Way You Are (a New York Times Notable Book), Working on God, and The Power of Place. She has written for numerous publications, such as Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times. She lives in Manhattan, and Dubois, Wyoming.
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