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Mindfulness Paperback – Jan 1 1990

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Paperback, Jan 1 1990
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Mindfulness, 25th anniversary edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (Jan. 1 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201523418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201523416
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 13.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #254,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The mindless following of routine and other automatic behaviors lead to much error, pain and a predetermined course of life, contends Langer, Harvard professor of psychology, in this thought-provoking study in which she "translates" for lay readers the findings of her research, much of it among the elderly. With anecdotes and metaphors, she explains how the mindless--as opposed to the mindful--develop mindsets of categories, associations, habits of thought born of repetition in childhood and throughout schooling. To be mindful, she notes, stressing process over outcome, allows free rein to intuition and creativity, and opens us to new information and perspectives. Langer discusses the negative impact of mindsets on business and social relations, showing special concern for the elderly, who often suffer from learned helplessness and lack of options. Encouraging the application of mindfulness to health, the author affirms that placebos and alternative, mind-based therapies can help patients and addicts move from unhealthy to healthy contexts. First serial to Health magazine; QPBC, Library of Science, Behavioral Science, Natural Science and Psychotherapy and Social Science Book Clubs selections.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Stretches our minds in startling new directions.”

— Howard Gardner

“Ellen Langer has succeeded in writing a book that, in one bite, manages to be scientifically interesting, immensely practical, and dramatically absorbing. It is about the mindsets that lead human beings—even the smartest of them—to become stupid and ‘mindless.’ Its power as drama in demonstrating that mindlessness leads not only to the banality of dullness, but to a giving up of life itself. In a series of fascinating research studies, Dr. Langer demonstrates that the young can be made more creative, the man in charge made more effective, and the elderly kept from giving in to and dying of their age.”

— Jerome Bruner, author of Actual Minds, Possible Worlds

“One simply can’t finish this book and not see the world in the same way.”

— Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School

"A provocative, engaging essay on the relation between our mindstates and our actions, by an astute and irrepressible social scientist who obviously  enjoys playing with bold ideas."

— Jerome Kagan, Harvard University

“A landmark work of social psychology.”


"Langer. . . .has shown us the power of mindfulness."

Psychology Today

"Extremely provocative. . . . This book cannot be read mindlessly."

— Robert Abelson, Yale University

Female First, 1/18/15
“Mindfulness is the book which changed it all.”

Blogging on Business (UK), 3/14/15
“More relevant now than ever before.”

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Langer is a good writer and her research on the subjectis very volumnous. However, the book suffers from a number of irrelavant and misplaced examples that sometimes do not at all support her points. What Lange failed to do, in my opinion, is integrate the concept of mindfulness into the larger trends in Social Psychology. The most glaring ommision is the fact that mindlessness, as Langer calls it, is derived from the naturally limited human attention abilities, has many benefits that outweight the limitations. Langer's mindlessness is better known as automaticity, and while using automatic patterns of behavior and judgment has its pitfalls, it is also responsible for making our lives run smoothly. In great majority of situations, you would much rather act automatically according to preset patterns instead of having to actively consider every option every single time.
What langer succeeds in accomplishing is making her readers aware of the way our mind works (which is always intuitive) so that they can be mindfull of our natural limitations in the instances when it could help them avert negative effects on their quality of life.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book rich in provoking thought. While I have read it more than once through cover to cover, I still keep it handy to read sections of again. It approaches mindfulness from a Western thought perspective and avoids the comparisons with Eastern thought. This is not a detriment. It helps to focus the material. It is also the source of much of the ongoing playing with ideas that I still find with this book. By now, you may have realized that Ellen has not presented us with a silver bullet. But she does provide much insight in the relationship between the physical and the mental. The third party view or that of an outsider coming into a group, are both inherently examples of mindfulness. Without pre-set notions, anything is possible. Read and enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
Ellen Langer's mind first reached my ears at an international conference on thinking at MIT, 1995. One year later (inspired by her talk and my reading of her breakthrough book), I created the developing mindful leaerners model: an ecological approach for the 21st century. This became a paper for the World Future Society conference in Washington D.C. For the last seven years, my work has been to connect mindfulness, vision, framework, and content into a whole for 21st century schools. Recently, the topic of Langer's mindfulness has become a centerfold for my dissertation in educational psychology. In brief, the question is to what degree are teachers mindful of their teaching? This question creates a problem: what instrument measures mindfulness? In the case of Langer's two books, she mostly infers mindfulness from her studies rather than spell out the specific instrument she used. That does not keep her book from offering timeless insights: mindful people welcome new ideas, create new categories, hold multiple perspectives, see life as a process, reframe situations to see the positive. Such qualities tell us what we want to become as human beings creating a more mindful world.
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Format: Paperback
Note: This review is of the 25th Anniversary Edition.

No doubt because this is a second edition, of a book published 25 years ago, some may incorrectly assume that much (if not most) of its insights and counsel are dated, hence obsolete. No so. In fact, in my opinion, the material is more relevant now than ever before as Ellen Langer shares her thoughts about how ever-alert mindfulness can help to facilitate, indeed expedite personal growth and professional development.

As she observes, "A vast literature about mindfulness has filled scholarly and popular journals since I began this work. Much of the recent research [as of autumn 2014 when she wrote the Preface from which this passage is excerpted] is actually on various forms of meditation, and the focus is on preventing stress and negative emotions. Meditation is a [begin italics] tool [end italics] to achieve post meditative mindfulness. regardless of how we get there, either through meditation or more directly by paying attention to novelty and questioning assumptions, to be mindful is to be in the present, noticing all the wonders that we didn't realize were right in font of us.
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Format: Paperback
I purchased this wonderful book back in the 80's! I had quite a few bad habits, and really wanted to change not only my life but my attitude.Mindfulness not only enabled me to quit smoking without suffering any withdrawals, but woke me up from the sleep ofcomplacency. I began to look at the world differently. I learned to let go of destructive ideas.I learned how to slow down, and to be grateful for the moment.Over the years I have given this book to anyone seeking advice. Miss Langer writes in an easy to understand style as if she is your best friend who has just discovered some amazing insights that she is going to share with just you.I have not re-read this little gem in years, but can still remember certain paragraphs and sentences that were so true then as they are now. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to put the zest & joy of living back in their life.Even those that are truly happy will find this book riveting & a fun read.
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