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The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

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The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload Cover

ISBN13: 9780525954187
ISBN10: 052595418x
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Staff Pick

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the deluge of information you encounter from minute to minute — the human brain just isn't wired to process it all. But there's hope. Levitin can help you understand how best to interact with your environment to maximize efficiency... and minimize the chaos!
Recommended by Abby, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin shifts his keen insights from your brain on music to your brain in a sea of details.

The information age is drowning us with an unprecedented deluge of data. At the same time, were expected to make more — and faster — decisions about our lives than ever before. No wonder, then, that the average American reports frequently losing car keys or reading glasses, missing appointments, and feeling worn out by the effort required just to keep up.

But somehow some people become quite accomplished at managing information flow. In The Organized Mind, Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, uses the latest brain science to demonstrate how those people excel — and how readers can use their methods to regain a sense of mastery over the way they organize their homes, workplaces, and time.

With lively, entertaining chapters on everything from the kitchen junk drawer to health care to executive office workflow, Levitin reveals how new research into the cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory can be applied to the challenges of our daily lives. This Is Your Brain on Music showed how to better play and appreciate music through an understanding of how the brain works. The Organized Mind shows how to navigate the churning flood of information in the twenty-first century with the same neuroscientific perspective.

Review:

"Levitin (This Is Your Brain on Music), professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McGill University, examines the way our brains have evolved (and not) to meet the challenges of the Information Age. While our brains evolved to take on the daunting challenges of life in the Stone Age, they now have many redundant, maladaptive, and not quite finished features that clash with the huge demands placed on our attention by the modern world. Levitin reviews the way our thinking is distorted by these distractions, beginning with a tour through the neurology of attention; the origin of these distractions, from written language to the smartphone; and the powers of the wandering mind, the state in which humans think the most creatively. He offers advice on how to reorganize attention and make better decisions. Each chapter also takes practical detours through information theory, probability, and other human strategies for coping with contemporary problems. Levitin's fascinating tour of the mind helps us better understand the ways we process and structure our experiences. Agent: The Wylie Agency. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"[An] ingenious combination of neuroscience and self-help." Kirkus

Review:

”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

Review:

The Organized Mind is for anyone interested in how the human mind organizes, and on occasion disorganizes, the world around us. It is engaging, witty, compelling, and infused with science. Levitin shows how principles from psychology and cognitive neuroscience can help us better organize our daily lives. Move over, Freakonomics, there's a new kid on the bookcase.” Gerry Altmann, professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, and author of The Ascent of Babel

Review:

“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

About the Author

Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, is the James McGill Professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McGill University — where he also teaches in the graduate school of business — and dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at the Minerva Schools at KGI. The author of two New York Times bestselling books, This Is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs, he splits his time between Montreal and Orinda, California.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Carrie HJ, August 20, 2014 (view all comments by Carrie HJ)
Loved this book. Who ISN'T overwhelmed by the deluge of information, news, emails, texts, tweets flowing at us constantly and demanding a response? It's exhausting trying to keep up and any wonder you can make it through the day remaining focused on the tasks at hand. But some people just seem to manage everything better. Daniel J. Levitin does a great job explaining why that is--backed by fascinating brain science. There are SO MANY great insights in this book-- about multi-tasking, daydreaming, how much information you need to make good decisions, why having a junk drawer is a good thing, to name just a few. I will certainly be incorporating a lot of what I learned from this book in my everyday life to help me manage my time better and decrease stress. Great book, recommended to anyone who ever feels distracted.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Ryan DeJonghe, August 20, 2014 (view all comments by Ryan DeJonghe)
Daniel Levitin’s ORGANIZED MIND seeks to take the figurative junk drawer of our mind, explain how the mind works, and help us live more thought-out and productive lives. His knowledge comes from his own years of teaching and research and has been influenced by mind pioneers such as Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The end product is an awesome journey into the realms of our minds that enlighten and inspires action.

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.
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mercysrain, August 17, 2014 (view all comments by mercysrain)
I haven't read the book yet, but I am eagerly anticipating it's release. This is a subject that has peaked my curiosity lately. Especially when I think of what impact this will have on future generations. With information overload and increasing demands for inhuman amounts of productivity, how will our brains learn to adapt? And what are the long term ramifications for such chaos in the mind from the millions of scattered places information is thrown at us at lightning speed day in and day out, with the expectation that we will eventually do something with all of that information
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780525954187
Author:
Levitin, Daniel J.
Publisher:
Dutton Books
Subject:
Cognitive Psychology
Subject:
Compulsive behavior
Subject:
Psychology-Cognitive Science
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20140831
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.22 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

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Business » Management
Featured Titles » General
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Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Cognitive Science
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mind and Consciousness

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload Sale Hardcover
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$19.57 In Stock
Product details 512 pages Dutton Books - English 9780525954187 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the deluge of information you encounter from minute to minute — the human brain just isn't wired to process it all. But there's hope. Levitin can help you understand how best to interact with your environment to maximize efficiency... and minimize the chaos!

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Levitin (This Is Your Brain on Music), professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McGill University, examines the way our brains have evolved (and not) to meet the challenges of the Information Age. While our brains evolved to take on the daunting challenges of life in the Stone Age, they now have many redundant, maladaptive, and not quite finished features that clash with the huge demands placed on our attention by the modern world. Levitin reviews the way our thinking is distorted by these distractions, beginning with a tour through the neurology of attention; the origin of these distractions, from written language to the smartphone; and the powers of the wandering mind, the state in which humans think the most creatively. He offers advice on how to reorganize attention and make better decisions. Each chapter also takes practical detours through information theory, probability, and other human strategies for coping with contemporary problems. Levitin's fascinating tour of the mind helps us better understand the ways we process and structure our experiences. Agent: The Wylie Agency. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "[An] ingenious combination of neuroscience and self-help."
"Review" by , ”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!"
"Review" by , The Organized Mind is for anyone interested in how the human mind organizes, and on occasion disorganizes, the world around us. It is engaging, witty, compelling, and infused with science. Levitin shows how principles from psychology and cognitive neuroscience can help us better organize our daily lives. Move over, Freakonomics, there's a new kid on the bookcase.” Gerry Altmann, professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, and author of The Ascent of Babel
"Review" by , “Dan Levitin has more insights per page than any other neuroscientist I know. The Organized Mind is smart, important, and as always, exquisitely written.”
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